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10 Shocking Facts about Teachers

I’ve mentioned in the past that my mom was an elementary school counselor for more than 30 years. Which meant I always had someone to talk to growing up.

It also means that I can remember going to the store on the way to school to buy underwear, socks and soap for some of her students.

I can remember kids coming to live with us for the weekend when something not so great was happening at their homes.

I can remember spending weekends buying winter hats, coats, boots and snow pants – stocking up my mom’s office for the kids that would need gear to stay warm.

All of this was part of my life growing up, so when I read a few statistics about teachers, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

But I was shocked.

Are you a teacher? Or have a special teacher in your life? These SHOCKING facts about teachers will totally blow you away! #teachers #backtoschool #elementaryschool #highschool

10 Shocking Facts about Teachers

Did you know that 9 out of 10 teachers have purchased school supplies for their students with their own money?

Did you know that over 15 million children in the US live in households that can’t provide all the resources they need to succeed in school?

Did you know teachers spend an average of $13,000 of their own money over the course of their career – to buy school supplies for their classrooms?

Here are a few more stats that might surprise you…

Teachers spend 1000

Up to $1,000: estimated amount that EVERY US public school teacher spends ANNUALLY on classroom supplies.

Teachers Buy Students Coats, Mittens and Warm Clothes

One in Three: Number of teachers who have purchased coats, mittens and other warm clothes for their students.

Teachers buy Food

More than 65%: Percentage of teachers who have paid for food for their students.

Teachers buy Toilet paper and soap

One in Three: Number of teachers who have purchased basic hygiene items such as toilet paper and soap for their classrooms.

Teachers pay for Field Trips

More than Half: Amount of educators who have covered the cost of field trips for students who couldn’t afford to participate on their own.

Salaries are Frozen

44%: Percentage of teachers who said salaries at their schools have been frozen.

Donate Classroom Supplies or Funds

More than 50%: Percentage of teachers who said that the best way for people to help their schools is to donate classroom supplies or funds for supplies.

Did these statistics shock you? Are you a teacher? Did you have a teacher help you out when you were growing up?

If you’re looking for a few ways to help the special teachers in your lives, be sure to ask them what they need to make their students’ lives better.

Click here for a few teacher gift ideas to thank a special teacher in your life.

Mastering Back to School Together

Back to school can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be hard!

With three kids in school, I’ve learned a few things along the way that help to simplify the entire back-to-school process, while also keeping me sane.

And I’m sharing them all with you!

Click here to see how I mastered back to school, and you can too!


  • The organizational systems we have in place
  • The routines we use (and how we remember them)
  • Why my kids haven’t missed the bus in three years
  • How to have the best first day of school EVER
  • How to put an end to homework battles
  • How I get my kids talking (and talking and talking and talking) every day after school
  • How we manage busy sports seasons without going insane
  • The simple tech hack that EVERY parents needs to know
  • And so much more!

Plus you can see how I made this amazing command center that keeps me crazy organized – using supplies from the Dollar Store!

Pretty great, huh?!?

Click here to see the 18 things I’m doing to master back to school, and how you can do them too!

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  1. Anna's Mom says:

    I’m going to totally ignore the hair comment here – but have to say that I’m glad you remember some of these moments – do you remember the one little guy we kept over Spring Break so his Mom could get away? He actually brought 7 pair of clean folded p.j.’s and then proceeded to tell you all that I spent way too much on groceries and other things we didn’t need. He actually “reported” on me every night at dinner 🙂 I loved that little red-head!
    It’s also very very true that teachers are consistently spending $ on their classrooms and students out of their own pockets. Paying up lunch accounts, buying school pictures, yearbooks, book orders – snacks, back packs – gas for the parent to get to an appointment – groceries for families – I could go on and on. So many acts of kindness that are taking place daily. quietly so kids benefit. What an amazing group of people I was privileged to work with during my career!

  2. Wow. Seeing it written out like this is kind of eye-opening, but it doesn’t feel inflated at all. I teach at a small private school. On Monday, I will host my annual Seder Meal—it ties together elements students have been learning in SS and Religion. I have over 50 students who participate but I am not allowed to ask for donations even though everyone agrees that it is a valuable learning experience. This is just one example. I am so glad to hear that Office Depot is on board with this! Thank you! Erin

  3. Thank you for sharing that. Over the past 15 years of my teaching career I have at some stage done every single one of these. Teachers often get a hard time especially in this country (Ireland) and often the excellent work and good deeds they do are ignored. Thank you for highlighting the good work that we do and don’t think twice about doing-simply giving kids the best chance that they deserve in whatever way we can. Love your blog!

  4. Amy Locke says:

    Thank you for this post. It is true all the facts posted, and then some. The students come to school with such huge problems that getting snow pants for recess is just a non-issue in their home. Therefore when an adult at school provides them for them it is so nice. Makes the students feel loved. As far as spending money on classroom supplies….ahhhh…every trip to the store always has a pile of school “stuff” in it. Snacks, paper goods, cleaners, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, clothes, school supplies, seeds for spring, valentines for those without, etc.

    Thank you Anna and Office Depot for acknowledging our contributions. 🙂

  5. I would imagine teachers do all of these things to make up for the fact they have the summers off!??!! I AM TOTALLY KIDDING! But as a former teacher in the inner-city (and surprisingly, the suburbs) I too have done all of these things. I would hope any decent human who had the means to do these things would…. But I have had the good fortune of having teacher colleagues (well, 97% of them) who wouldn’t bat an eye about doing any of the above. Thanks for this post Anna!

  6. As a mom who can afford a few extras and knows a lot of teachers. I try to send extras in when asked for anything to cover for those who can’t. I also try and ask if there is anything the teacher is in need of on regular intervals to fill in. I know that my niece is student teaching at a lower income school that didn’t get to go outside for recess from December until March because they couldn’t rely on appropriate clothes for all the kids. It was so sad those kids were pent up for months this winter.

  7. As a former teacher, I have done all of these things for my students. I think Office depot is doing great things for teachers and classrooms!

  8. Roxann Hanrahan says:

    I love teachers!

  9. The thing more shocking than than this is teachers’ salaries. I don’t know how they can afford to do this, so what Office Depot is doing is really a great thing. Anyway, great post!

  10. Elizabeth Burge says:

    Thank you so much for taking a second to recognize what teachers do for their students. Teaching is so much more than a job! I stay home with my kiddos now but was in the classroom for several years and spent thousands of dollars of my own money helping my students. Now that I’m home, we still donate supplies, coats, hats, clothes, etc. every chance we get. I know how many kids really need those necessities! Thanks again!!

  11. These stats describe every teacher I know. I love that you and Office Depot are teaming up to celebrate and support teachers!

  12. I generally like your postings, and this one is no exception. That said, I think agitating for federal-level changes for school funding should be mentioned. There’s huge disparity between suburban schools and inner-city schools. Modestly-compensated and well-meaning teachers shouldn’t be expected to bridge the gap.

  13. Claire Marie says:

    This is the honest truth, and in my personal experience, the out-of-pocket money that my colleagues and I spend on our public school classrooms is more than the estimations listed. Students are worth it, of course, and that is why we do it. We are blessed to have enough to provide for those families and for our own families, too. Not every teach can do that, though, on their teaching salaries.

  14. I’m not completely disagreeing with you, but I’ve taught in two districts… one of them VERY affluent. As a teacher, they never give you enough of what you need for your students. Even teachers in schools in the wealthiest districts have to buy supplies for their classrooms. I never spent $1000 per year (an average mentioned above), because there’s no way I could have afforded that. But I know I’ve spent about $400 in a year. Which means somebody out there (a theoretical person) spent $1600 that year, to make it average out to $1000.

  15. And just to clarify – though I lived in a “wealthy district” and say I could not have afforded to spend $1000 over the course of a year (which would be just $83/month, as opposed to the approx. $33/mo that I spent), I do not have an iPhone, I do not have unlimited data on my somewhat-smart phone, we do not have cable (or whatever it is that people have nowadays when they want to watch TV), and my car is 12 years old. So yes, the $33 out of my budget was a lot. $83 would have meant my family was going without food. My point is: Just please don’t think that “suburban schools” are so lucky. If the district is wealthy enough, some of their property tax money goes to OTHER districts. To help even it out. (Rant over.)

  16. I have purchased coats; socks; underwear; and clothes for students in addition to school supplies and tissues/hand sanitizer.

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