We Owe Part of Our Awesomeness To Our Teachers, So Let’s Reward Them!

Teachers Change Lives And So Can You

Back in high school, I asked Mr. Sloan, my Composition and AP English teacher and newspaper boss, why my articles weren’t getting published (they weren’t that good). After a short pep talk, I ended up writing many (better) articles that did get published. One of them even went on to win First Place in a state intercollegiate newspaper contest for investigative journalism (!).(Modesty aside, it was a rather cool piece about capital punishment and and the visit of Sister Helen Prejean, the nun behind Dead Man Walking, to our high school.)

Sometimes we think we‘re 100% behind our successes. But I’ve come to realize that others are responsible for it as well.

For instance, I wouldn’t know a word of English if my dad hadn’t made me take English-language classes back when I was 6 in a country where most kids (me included) could care less about that. Then in 2002, when I moved here, everyone told me I had no accent. Thanks SOOOO much, dad.

I think you can guess where I’m going with this: If it hadn’t been for Mr. Sloan’s talk, I would have kept on writing seemingly good (but ultimately unsuccessful) pieces. I think he helped foment my love for writing, which led me to minor in Rhetoric and write an Honors Thesis in college, and of course launch this blog. Thanks SOOOO much, Mr. Sloan.

The following teachers are doing amazing things for their students and our world.


My high school has amazing teachers that made me love my classes and in turn, become talented in several areas (such as hard-core Math). And I’m not alone. The students at this Utah high school also know what I’m talking about:

Did you know that most teachers spend money every year out of their own pocket, especially in underfunded areas?

In an average year I spend $1000-$2000 out-of-pocket. For me, it’s worth it. I love my students. I care about them now, and I care about what’s going to happen to them later. –Cassie Cox (Two Rivers High School)


Ms. Pyfrom, a CNN Hero, used her life savings to build a bus to help bridge the digital divide. As her kids become more fluent in tech and science, their grades are improving to show just how good they’re getting. Her personal funds may be running out, but she just wants to be able to “reach more people.”

Education is [how] you connect with the world in many different ways…Every city can benefit from a brilliant bus. –Estella Pyfrom (Pahokee Elementary)


(Don’t watch if you’re prone to tear up when seeing shelter pets. #NoteToSelf :).)

Ms. Hamilton and her students train shelter dogs to make them more adoption-ready, you guys! They help the doggies become more obedient and less rowdy so that they get adopted more quickly. By doing this they get outside of the classroom and learn important life skills. God bless them, right?

The biggest lesson that I want the kids to learn is that there are other people and animals in need, and they need to learn to give back and feel good about what they’re doing and be involved. –Virginia Hamilton (Indialantic Elementary)


Have you ever done something special for a (former) teacher? Do you wish you now could? 

I’m sure we can all name at least one teacher who gave us something we still take advantage of, and now we can all not only reward them for their hard work, but also help them keep up that great work.  #TeachersChangeLives, and these students are proof. 

I believe each one of us owes at least part of how amazing we are to those individuals who spent years teaching us about the most important things in school. Teachers like Ms. Cox, Ms. Pyfrom, and Ms. Hamilton are doing innovative things in and outside the classroom and you can help them do more by participating in this campaign and donating. (You can donate to the teachers I showcased above or to a teacher in your community.)

If You’re Ready to Donate, Then This Is for You:

  1. Visit the Teachers Change Lives website
  2. Click on the teal “Donate to a Teacher,” which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
  3. Follow the corresponding steps from there. You’ll be able to assist Ms. Cox, Ms. Pyfrom, Ms. Hamilton, or any of the other teachers whose stories you identify with.


In case you were wondering, Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom, a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students, have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students.

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Donate whatever you can (even $1) to your favorite teacher and help them continue to influence the next generation. Which teacher was your fave? Will you consider donating? Who was your fave teacher in school?

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


    • says

      It was my pleasure! Thank YOU for your wonderful labor of love; you’re all such an inspiration. We need more teachers like you and students and programs like yours.