Teacher's viral video shows what a classroom looks like before and after using own money, donations

A Florida teacher said she received a flood of school supplies donations after she shared a video showing her bare classroom just before the start of the school year.
Megan, a public school teacher who requested that her last name not be used, said she took the last nearly six years off teaching to raise her two children and returned this year as a full-time teacher.
When she stopped by her classroom in July to see what it looked like, Megan said she was devastated.
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"When I decided to go back to teaching, I wanted to see what the class had before I ended up spending a ton of money that I didn't have," Megan told Good Morning America. "When I walked in and saw it, I burst into tears. I should have it ready for kindergarten camp in about a week.”
Megan said she took the video of her classroom so she could show it to her mother, who she says spent nearly $1,000 to furnish the first classroom she taught in outside of college in 2014.
She then decided to share it on TikTok in hopes, she said, of raising awareness of the work teachers are putting into their classrooms.
"So frustrated walking into my classroom today. No shelves for a classroom library. Desks are weird for a kindergarten class.. No closets. No carpet. No leftover supplies or books. How much of my own money should I spend? ? ' Megan captioned the video.
PHOTO: A Florida elementary school teacher shared videos on TikTok showing her classroom before and after preparing it for students. (Megan/TikTok)
Megan's video received thousands of comments, many from teachers who had similar experiences and others responding that she should be thankful for a clean room.
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"Yup!! That's all you get. Desks, chairs and textbooks. That's what people don't realize. We buy EVERYTHING!!” wrote one commenter.
“This space is clean with nice desks, tables and storage space. Count your blessings. I've been in rooms with holes in the wall and floor with mice, bugs, mold," wrote another commenter.
"I'm less worried about the furniture - where are the resources and study materials?" read another comment.
In addition to sharing the video, Megan also included a link to her wish list on Amazon, which reads, "This wish list will be used to purchase items for my Kindergarten class for the 2022-2023 school year! Thank you for supporting us and helping me create lifelong learners!"
In doing so, Megan joined a growing trend in the US for teachers to post public wish lists of supplies they would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket, including everything from children's snacks to books, educational materials, and classroom supplies like tissues and hand sanitizer.
The wish lists are often shared on social media, often by celebrities with large followings, where strangers can find them and donate the supplies.
MORE: Former teacher shares why he quit for a job at Walmart
In Megan's case, she said that within days of sharing a link to her wish list on social media, around 70% of it had been fulfilled, with strangers, family and friends sending everything from storage containers to STEM activities to a backpack organizer and flexible seating options for their students.
"All students earn anything, but my kids are Title 1s," she said, referring to the designation given to schools that have a high percentage of children from low-income families. "I don't know if they go home to nice things, and I really want them to have this."
PHOTO: A Florida elementary school teacher shared videos on TikTok showing her classroom before and after preparing it for students. (Megan/TikTok)
Mary Kusler, senior director for advocacy for the National Education Association, a teachers' union, told GMA that, on average, US teachers spend more than $500 of their own money on their classrooms each school year.
"It's a natural experience, the time and care that educators put into setting up that learning environment in a welcoming way before their students take their first step into the classroom," Kusler said. "This work that teachers do and this time is often overlooked."
Social media and programs like DonorsChoose, which allow public school teachers to request needed materials, have put a new spotlight on the problem teachers have long faced of having to use their own paychecks to support their classroom, Kusler said.
"They will do anything from spend money to create name tags for their kids' desks, to create bulletin boards to make sure they have an extra granola bar in their desks, or extra clothes, or extra water bottles," she said of the teachers . "They are there to meet the needs of these students and they will do what they have to do."
Kusler noted that teachers use their own money for their classrooms despite being in a historically underpaid profession.
In 2021, the median salary for an elementary school teacher in the United States was just over $67,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MORE: Meet some of the teachers whose back-to-school wish lists were fulfilled by Chrissy Teigen
Megan said she's thought about returning to teaching after her days as a housewife, partly because of the low pay and high stress of the job, and noted that she's seen many of her peers leave the teaching profession .
The National Education Association estimates that the US faces a shortage of 300,000 teachers for the 2022-23 school year.
For Megan, she said she ultimately returned because teaching children is her passion, and said she was determined to succeed at her job.
PHOTO: A Florida elementary school teacher shared videos on TikTok showing her classroom before and after preparing it for students. (Megan/TikTok)
About two weeks after posting her first video, Meghan shared another video of her classroom, fully decorated and ready for the students.
"What's happening in my classroom with my kids, the relationships, I really can't imagine doing anything else," she said.
Teacher's viral video shows what a classroom looks like before and after using your own money, donations originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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