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Teachers take to Twitter to suggest cool supplies

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Like an annual end-of-summer rite of passage, classroom teacher wish lists are popping up on social media. Trending this year are Twitter wish lists, where teachers write under hashtags #Clearthelist and #Adoptateacher in search of crowdfunding for classroom essentials like pencils, markers and paper.

According to a study by a national non-profit organization Take the classin 2020-2021, educators spent an average of $750 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies, with 30 percent spending $1,000 or more.
The additional costs have come at a particularly difficult time for educators, when the pandemic has increased teaching demands. Job satisfaction has fallen to an all-time low during the pandemic, with more than 4 in 10 teachers saying they are “very” or “fairly likely” to leave the profession in the next two years, according to Merrimack College Faculty and EdWeek Research Center Poll since April.

“The pandemic, and then economic factors, have dramatically increased the workload on teachers over the past few years,” said Anne Pfeiffer, executive director of Adopt a Classroom, one of the nonprofits that connects donors with P-12 teachers and schools.

“Thus, it was very difficult for the teachers, [since] Inflation is now eating away at the already not very large salaries of teachers, and as the results of the survey showedabout 96 percent of teachers say they buy school supplies for their students whose families can’t afford them,” she said.

Teachers share their wish lists online

One of the famous attempts of crowdfunding is Clear the list companywhere teachers create and share Amazon wish lists of needed items on Twitter and other social networks.

Their wish lists include requests for pencils, books, markers, glue sticks, play sets, and even special learning resources for students with special needs.

Crowdfunding is not for everyone

In addition to using social media and Amazon wish lists for crowdfunding, nonprofits like Adopt a Classroom are also trying to help teachers and schools in their fundraising efforts.

Adopt a Classroom was founded as a crowdfunding website in 1998 and has evolved over time.

In its early years, it noticed that higher-income teachers and teachers from more affluent schools were more likely to use its crowdfunding services than teachers from lower-income schools because they already had a network of people with disposable income to reach out to. apply through their crowdfunding pages.

“Crowdfunding doesn’t always work for teachers who teach in high-needs schools,” said Carolyn Oberman, chief corporate manager and chief marketing officer of Adopt a Classroom.

To help teachers from underserved communities and high-needs schools, the nonprofit organization launched its spotlight fund initiativea grant program in which K-12 educators can apply for funding in five areas—arts, STEM, COVID-19 relief, inclusive classrooms, and disaster relief.

“So many teachers in higher-need communities who don’t have the kind of network to succeed at crowdfunding are applying for grants from our spotlight funds,” Pfeiffer said.

Teachers can receive money through non-profit organizations, crowdfunding, the focus funds mentioned above, from corporate sponsors, or from individuals or foundations that subsidize teachers directly through their partnership with Adopt a Classroom.

“Teachers get the funds and an online account virtually, and then they have 12 months to spend it, and they spend it by going to our online marketplace, choosing whatever they need, and it’s sent to them school,” Pfeiffer said. .

Choose donors is another nonprofit that allows teachers to request resources for their classrooms and allows people to donate to public school projects. The nonprofit organization was founded in 2000 and pioneered the classroom crowdfunding movement.

Since its inception, Donors Choose has raised more than $300 million and provided supplies to more than 225,000 teachers and 13 million children, according to salesforce.org.

Although these trends have spread, some teachers say that non-teachers are often surprised by teachers’ requests for basic work tools.

Nicholas Ferroni, a community activist and teacher at Union High School in Township, New Jersey, tweeted: “The look of disbelief and confusion on a non-educator’s face when I explain what Adopt a Teacher and Clear Lists and Donors Choose is is proof that most people don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re expected to do teachers”.

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