Thrive Global is partnering with DonorsChoose, the leading platform for giving to public schools, on a new special section, How Teachers Thrive, to share the emotional and self-care resources teachers need to improve their well-being. If you want to help teachers create a more equitable playing field for all students, find a classroom project that inspires you on Thrive Global’s giving page on DonorsChoose, and enter the promo code THRIVE during checkout to have your donation DOUBLED during the month of August!
If you were lucky, you grew up in classrooms that were laboratories of creativity and imagination. There were buckets of crayons, a rainbow of inspiring posters on the wall, and endless supplies of colorful construction paper and fingers paints. Your band room had a full orchestra of musical instruments. Your science class had beakers, scales, and other interesting gadgets. You went on field trips, perhaps to the zoo, museums, and plays. Your library had towering stacks of books. The photocopier always had plenty of paper for your worksheets, homework, and quizzes.
That was my experience, so you can imagine the contrast I encountered when I became a history teacher at a Bronx high school in 1999. Often, I’d get up early to photocopy passages of my favorite books before school, because we didn’t have enough copies for every student. In the teacher’s lunchroom, we’d talk about the science experiments we wanted our students to try, the places we wanted our students to visit, and the orchestra pieces we wanted our students to perform, if only we had the budget for microscopes, field trips, and violins.
So many public school teachers today have a similar experience. Each school year, the average teacher will spend $500 of their own money on classroom supplies for their students, and many will spend into the thousands. In low-income communities, teachers might buy clothing, shoes, hygiene items, food, or even tents and sleeping bags for their students living in extreme poverty. You can imagine the stress this puts on both a teacher’s psyche and their pocketbook, when they’re often underpaid and possibly working second and third jobs to make ends meet.
In 2000, my students helped me build DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform where public school teachers can share the things they need for their students, and donors from across the country can give to the classroom project requests that inspire them. Fast-forward 19 years, and I’m no longer in the classroom, but I’ve been inspired every day by the incredible classroom dreams of teachers. Teachers like Ms. W., requesting graphic novels so that her struggling readers can learn to love reading; or Mr. Andy, who wants his students to share and embrace their diverse cultures through cooking; or Mrs. Vibbert, who needs supplies for a “maker space” to help her students build valuable engineering skills.
All told, 514,000 teachers have had 1.4 million classroom project requests funded on our site, raising over $840 million to help give their students a better education. Roughly 75 percent of those dollars have come from individuals, corporations, and foundations who don’t personally know the teacher they’ve supported — a critical element of our mission to support teachers in low-income communities.
While DonorsChoose.org works hard to help teachers get the resources they need for their classrooms, we’re also excited to partner with Thrive Global on a new section, called How Teachers Thrive, to share with teachers the emotional and self-care resources they need to better care for themselves. We asked the experts — the teachers on the frontlines — for their tips and stories on how they thrive in the classroom, and they had a lot to say.
We hope you’ll join our movement! If you’re a teacher, we would love to have you join our community of teachers across the country and submit your first project today.
If you aren’t a teacher but you want to help create a more equitable playing field for all students, I hope you’ll find a project that inspires you on the Thrive Global giving page on DonorsChoose.org, and enter the promo code THRIVE during checkout to have your donation doubled during the month of August.
As the new school year begins, we hope you’ll join us in helping teachers everywhere thrive!
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