The Teacher Salary Project is all about giving YOU the voice to share your own personal story and connect with others so we can help our nation’s strongest teachers become even better.


“As a teacher in his fifth year, I find myself at the threshold of ‘should I dive all the way in, or should I get out?’ I am choosing to dive all the way in. I teach at-risk students, many in gangs, trying to get out of gangs, pregnant teens, living in foster homes, abused, etc. The age range for the students I teach is 14-20. Many come to the classroom with only a third- grade reading level. I remember passing out information my first year and having the students read aloud. The first student I called to read would not do so, and responded with a bad attitude. I learned that it was because he simply couldn’t read it. He was eighteen years old. Fortunately, I teach art and I was able to focus on visual learning allowing the student to demonstrate his high level of intelligence with creative skills, visual space relations, and technical skills. This is why I chose to stay in teaching. We do make a difference, however it is a continuous battle. I had a one hundred dollar budget for this year. It is spent and used already. I literally pick hub caps off the side of the road to teach the ‘color wheel’.

I have a wonderful wife who makes a great salary which gets us through a lot of financial burdens. I could not do this alone, especially with a child. That is a powerful statement about our society that we are not paying a living salary to many teachers who are guiding our future’s minds. When people hear that you are a public school teacher, they really don’t understand all that entails. We are shaping the work force to come, we are keeping students out of gangs, and we are keeping students from giving up hope. We are sometimes more a part of a students’ life than their parents. As a society, we can’t afford to have the teaching profession under- funded and not held in high regard. We need quality teachers in the field now more than ever…” – Scott, North Carolina

We want to highlight more STORIES FROM THE FIELD. We are collecting materials made and submitted by YOU! Express your feelings creatively. Here are a few ideas:

    • Write a letter or poem
    • Photograph a school activity in action
    • Document a class with audio recordings
    • Create a musical composition
    • Dedicate a song and dance
    • Produce a music video
    • Build something with mixed media and photograph it
    • Write a short biography
    • Record some of your favorite sayings or activities
    • Use crayons, craypas, paint, pencil, chalk, or recycled materials to construct art
    • Create a magazine collage
    • Share something you use every day that your teacher or student taught you
    • Share a funny story
    • Put together a video journal

Use The Teacher Salary Project as a platform to dedicate something to your teacher. Share something that you learned from him or her about what it takes to be an effective teacher, and the need to start valuing our best teachers so that they will keep teaching. You could even interview your teacher and submit the interview to us!

Need help getting started? Tell us… How do you think excellent teaching relates to our democracy?

If you want to film yourself or your class, would like to submit material to us, or want to help your students create a submission but you’re unsure about what to do, contact Vanessa@theTeacherSalaryProject.org for some ideas and direction.