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Surprising stats on teachers

I heart stats. I think I got that from my dad. He’s a banker and was a business major in SheerID Mascot Kelly as a teachercollege. He loves to share that in his entire college career he only got one “A” and that was in his Statistics class.

I came across some interesting and bittersweet statistics recently about teachers and I’ve thought about them for weeks. I also heart teachers. I’m a teacher, I teach marketing at Lane Community College. My mom is a retired teacher who still teaches at least one class per term, she can’t manage to walk about from it. These stats I found are about K-12 teachers, not college teachers, but I feel like I’m at least a distant cousin of the K-12 teacher’s community, thus the obsession.

I know there is a lot of talk about the fact that teachers are heroes, yet are under appreciated and under paid. When that argument is raised, it could be even further supported by the HUGE amount of personal money that teachers spend on their students and classrooms. It is a national tragedy that: first, so many school age children live at such a low level of income, and second, that it becomes a personal burden on teachers to help alleviate the problem.

  • Teachers spend $1.5 Billion annually of their own money on school supplies.
  • 91% of teachers buy basic school supplies for their classroom

These numbers may be larger than you thought, but not totally shocking. Wait, it gets worse:

  • 67% of teachers buy snacks for their students to help with basic nutrition
  • 1 in 3 teachers purchase clothing for students including gloves, hats, shoes, and shoelaces
  • 29% of teachers purchase bathroom products for students like toilet paper and toothbrushes
  • More than half of teachers have paid for the cost of field trips for children who couldn’t afford them

Any doubt that teachers are heroes?

So now what? Data is useless unless it can be actionable.

So what should we do?

  1. If you have a teacher in your life, remember to say thank you. If they didn’t have to buy your child or a child you know a toothbrush, all the better. Say thank you because they probably did for someone else. Remember them at holidays or just the next time you are near the school.
  2. Support school fundraisers. Stop and buy something from the bake sale, or better yet, find the teacher in charge and ask her what you can donate.
  3. Support a teacher-focused non-profit like SheerID recently included them in a charity drive we held as part of the Intix trade show. They are being nationally recognized and deserve it. DonorChoose is doing great things.
  4. Since this blog post is on the SheerID website and we are the discount experts, I gotta say—offer a teacher discount and advertise it. If you have a big or a small business, offer a teacher discount and shout it from the roof tops. SheerID can guarantee that only teachers will receive your special offer.

Sometimes something is said so often and so loud that it becomes a cliché. Teachers being under appreciated may be one of those sentiments right now. With unemployment high, and more and more people feeling under-employed, the plight of teachers may be seen as not such a “plight” right now.

If teachers are looking for a new marketing rep, I would take the job and I would start with the stats listed above. Not only are they shaping our children and our future, but they are doing way more than any job description could ever ask—they are keeping kids warm, and fed, and giving them a pencil and paper to write with. What teachers are doing every day can be compared without hyperbole to volunteers racing in to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. But instead of one big, loud, televised effort, they just step in to help a little, every day of their job. They are stepping onto the front lines of a silent disaster every day and supporting the kids that it is affecting the most. That deserves a “thanks.”

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