You may have heard a little about the recent teacher strikes in Los Angeles. The group, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), representing over 30,000 teachers, initiated a 6-day strike which won teachers a 6 percent raise, more counselors, librarians and nurses, and slightly smaller class sizes.
UTLA's unrest is felt by teachers all across the country. The simple fact is that many teachers aren't paid for the work they put in and schools aren't given the resources they need.
A lack of funding leaves teachers and schools in a rut. A push toward uniformity of curriculum leads to charter schools that branch out from public schools but are still publicly funded-- this leads to everyone being stretched more thin than they were previously.
Why Teachers MatterTeachers are people who lay the foundation of knowledge for the children of our country. For 13 years straight, the nation's children are taught by a series of teachers day in and day out. When those teachers aren't given the resources and appreciation they deserve, everyone suffers.
Public school teachers give our children the tools they need to compete in the job market, work toward advancements in science and technology, and find the inspiration to work for the things they dream about.
Not to mention, teachers are torn between rising to the needs of their students (emotional, educational, and personal) and preparing them to achieve high marks on standardized tests. It's expected that teachers balance those things on a personal level with dozens, sometimes hundreds of students passing through their doors every school day.
These people are important. They work hard, and they're doing their work in the face of often lower pay and daily stress. On top of this, roughly two-thirds of teachers feel like their work is undervalued.
So what can we do about it?
How to Support TeachersThe reality is that even though some of teachers' challenges stem from government guidelines, every effort to help any teacher positively affects a student. This means that you can make real differences in someone's life even with small gestures of support.
1. Volunteer Your TimeSchools are generally understaffed and can always use the help of a volunteer or two. Even if your local school doesn't need immediate help, you can always be put on a list for times when there's a demand.
Volunteering frees time up for teachers to spend more time with children on field trips, takes away responsibilities that would otherwise get in the way of their primary jobs, and gives them a little reminder that people in the community care.
2. Keep Up on Your Local School BoardThe school board makes major decisions that directly impact the lives of teachers. A lot can be done with your participation to change the state of things on a local level.
Attending your local school board meetings will keep you in the loop and inform you as to who you should vote for in local elections. You can then spread your knowledge to friends and family, perhaps convincing a few of them to attend meetings and get involved as well.
3. Give to Teacher-Minded OrganizationsPledgeling partners with almost 15,000 organizations that support teachers.
Whether you want to make giving a constant thing or incorporate donations for a short time, we make it easy for you to do so. We put you in control of creating a user-donation platform with options like rounding up transactions, having users choose dollar amounts to give, or giving them options of charities to give to.
Goodnight Macaroon is one store that works with Pledgeling as their donations technology partner. A portion of their proceeds go to Teach for America in addition to a few other organizations. Their impact calculator shows that they've raised over $13,000 dollars for the causes they support!
Adding donations to their site through our Give & Grow feature was simple and easy, just like it could be for you. Incorporating the Pledgeling app into your Shopify store takes roughly five minutes to do. You can share the amount of funds raised with your customers by placing an Impact Calculator on your store, another tool available through the Give & Grow app.
If you're interested in learning more about how giving can help you grow, contact us and get started using Pledgeling as your donations technology provider.