Transforming Classrooms with the Support of Community: An Educator’s Reflections on Giving Tuesday

RISE by 5 Strategies

It’s not often you have to think about the impact and importance of giving, especially as a teacher. 

This year has shown us that giving, even in small amounts, has the potential to take barriers and turn them into opportunities. My experience with the RISE Educator Innovation Fund is a prime example of that. 

As a teacher, we try to be prepared for anything. But this year, a global pandemic threw my preparation, lesson plans, and training out the window with the rest of the bathwater. Now, like most teachers, I’ve had to educate from a distance behind a computer screen to a classroom of students now learning remotely or in hybrid settings. 

The reality is it’s challenging. Algebra is a difficult subject for many high school students even in a traditional classroom, and this year has been the furthest thing from traditional. Distance learning can be difficult for some of my students that often have other responsibilities like pulling double duty babysitting their younger siblings. They have so much on their plates, and as a teacher, it’s my job to be flexible and understanding of the things they’re going through. We have an obligation to prepare them as best we can, which is why additional support has become even more imperative for the work we do.

Organizations like the Connecticut RISE Network provide a community and resources that we as teachers need to support our students and each other.

By offering match funding for creative educator-led projects, the RISE Educator Innovation Fund, which is a partnership between the Connecticut RISE Network, Dalio Education, and DonorsChoose, provides additional opportunities for my students to succeed. But it doesn’t stop there. There is still so much that all of us can do to secure the future of these student’s education.

Every donor who has supported me through the Innovation Fund has demonstrated their commitment to expanding opportunities for my students. In my classroom, that has meant making Algebra more accessible for students who otherwise may not be able to afford the graphing calculators that help them prepare for advanced mathematics and high-stakes tests like the SAT. I am encouraged by the opportunities that Giving Tuesday on December 1st can provide even more students in even more communities.

The influx of support made possible by Giving Tuesday can allow for a direct and real transformative impact in our classrooms. My students may not have the financial resources themselves, but through RISE, Giving Tuesday, and the generosity of the droves of people who donate to educator projects through the Innovation Fund, we can better support them with all the resources available.

This pandemic presents new complexities around student engagement and learning. Online learning is so different from being physically in the classroom, but we cannot let that negatively affect our students. They count on us to support them, educate them, and open doors for their futures. 

We have to be prepared to face challenges that try to hinder students’ success. I love seeing my students strive and achieve, as does any teacher, and I understand that they can only do that when they are given opportunities and resources. 

I care deeply about my students and their success; it’s made me emotional to watch them struggle due to things that are outside of their control. For the things that are in our control, I know we can do our best to support students this year – they deserve every opportunity we can give them. 

Please consider donating to an educator project through the RISE Innovation Fund this Giving Tuesday. Your support can make all the difference.