School is the first introduction to the everlasting world of exploration. Everyone has at least one teacher that’s memorable for a positive reason. They are the front lines for us as children and the last to send us off to figure it out on our own.

A teacher’s dedication remains the same, regardless of varying districts funding. According to a report from the New York Times, 94% of teachers spend their own money on supplies without reimbursement. Depending on the grade, many supplies are needed for hands-on projects and lesson plans.

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Most occupations do not require its employees to pay out of pocket for tools to do their job, except for transactional costs like gas to get back and forth or maybe union dues. The average teacher only brings home an average of $60,000 a year and a percentage of that salary goes to operational costs for there classrooms. It’s important that children get the best education possible because they are the future.

In districts that are starved for funding, those teachers who make less money have to shell out even more if they can, to get proper supplies at the detriment to themselves and the students.

During Teachers Appreciation Week, it’s important to recognize the work that educators do for our communities.  The recognition should go far beyond this week in several ways. Whether that means pressing school boards to allocate funding more efficiently or legislators to receive more funds— the community must come together. Charities or drives to help teachers gather supplies without bankrupting themselves is a possibility.

The school administrators and teachers are not the only people responsible for the quality of the education our children receive. It starts at home, with getting ample supplies, helping with homework and a students overall preparedness to learn. Parents must be as invested in their futures as the teachers are. Donate supplies to your local school district or find a classroom in need here.