When Elisabeth Milich revealed her salary on Facebook, little did she realize that it would go viral, and a good Samaritan would step in and provide her and other teachers at Whispering Wind Academy with classroom supplies.
Last year an elementary school teacher, Elisabeth Milich, posted a picture of her bare minimum salary on Facebook. The post revealed an annual salary of a little over $35,000 without taxes. The 44-year-old second-grade teacher aimed at highlighting the struggle teachers have while dealing with their pay and how they also had to pay for the additional supplies required for their classes. Little did she know that this eye-opening move would change the lives of teachers at Whispering Wind Academy in Phoenix.
Arizona Teachers will walkout today approximately 30-50,000 affecting 800,000 students I support them These teachers are underpaid Conditions at some of the schools are bad & simply put there needs to be real funding for Education! So much more#RedForEd #ArizonaTeachers pic.twitter.com/8VRWfOOoBR— Kristen's Kulture (@paz4u) April 26, 2018
The post on Facebook spread like wildfire and was shared 1,000 times in just five days. "That is the frustration. That’s what prompted me to post it. But I had no idea it would have the effect it had," Milich told PEOPLE expressing her surprise at the response. "It ended up going viral. Besides shock and disbelief … a lot of the responses were super positive and resulted in a lot of people being made aware of how low teacher’s salaries are."
This is a nice story, but it doesn’t change her salary (35k), which should be much higher. Even with the 20% by 2020 pledge, many teachers in Arizona are still woefully underpaid. The ultimate feel-good story is bringing back steps that give teachers annual raises for experience. https://t.co/xxCQ22xSh9— Ryan J. Novak (@MrRyanJNovak) May 5, 2019
Listing the amount of money she spent on her education she wrote, "I paid 80,000 for a college degree, I paid several hundred more to transfer my certification to Az." She added: "I buy every roll of tape I use, every paper clip I use, every sharpie I grade with, every snack I feed kids who don't have them, every decorated bulletin board, the list could go on!" Milich expresses the love she has towards her profession but couldn't help but point out the fact that she wouldn't be able to survive if it wasn't for her husband's income.
Empathizing with all her single colleagues she added, "I'm sad for my single mom teacher friends working 3 jobs to make ends meet! Something must be done...otherwise our poor children will be taught by underqualified, burned out, and just plain bad teachers! P.S. No one goes into teaching for the money, by all means...but we do need to eat and have a home!" Proving the authenticity of the payslip, she mentioned that the year "1998" referred to the issuance date of her teaching certification and it wasn't some random receipt from years ago. The mother of three deleted this post after five days due to some unacceptable accusations lurking in the comment section.
A Phoenix teacher is grateful for the boxes of supplies she’s received. Her benefactor? A NYC businessman. The website he’s set up to encourage others to do the same on 3TV at 930 and CBS5 at 10. #azfamily #classroomgiving pic.twitter.com/NQrkGVyVop— Lindsey Reiser (@LindseyReiser) April 30, 2019
What she didn't expect was a message on her Facebook, months after her post went viral. As reported by PEOPLE she said, "He simply said, 'Has anybody offered to buy supplies for your classroom?' I wrote him back and said, 'No,'" Milich recalls. "He wrote back and said, ‘I would like to purchase any supplies that you need for your classroom.’ I just thought that was so crazy and there’s gotta be a catch because this man lives in New York." This good Samaritan was Ben Adam who has been sending this underpaid teacher school suppliers through Amazon every semester.
Elisabeth also confirmed that Adam did the same for five other educators in her school. Thanking Adam for his kind gesture she said, "It has changed my life completely. It’s so humbling and so kind, it just renews my faith in the human race. There are kind, kind people who want nothing in return. It’s immensely helped me in the sense that I’m not buying things and don’t have to go without. It’s blessed me as a teacher."
Adam didn't just stop there. He went ahead and launched a Classroom Giving initiative where people can voluntarily send classroom supplies to the school of their choice. There are some classrooms present on the website which are fully supplied thanks to this organization. Adam explained how the whole thing works on Good Morning America, "We are not asking for donations and we are not raising any funds," he said. "It takes you to Amazon and you enter the classroom address into your Amazon address book. You send whatever you can afford and you know that item has gotten exactly to the person you sent it to."
A Teacher Shared Her Salary, and a Stranger Started a School Supplies Wish List Last month, Ben Adam, a New Yorker who owns a real estate company, started the website Classroom Giving to help teachers in need of supplies.— NewsOftheworld (@newsworldforev4) May 4, 2019
By EMILY S. RUEB https://t.co/kfLmajsqsK pic.twitter.com/ybxJPX1i97
According to Integrity Garage Door, Adam couldn't possibly imagine living on $35,000 every year while supporting their family. He said, "I have three kids; I’m a working person — I can’t imagine trying to live, buy supplies, and support my family on $35,000 a year. I thought to myself, I’m sure with all of the people that have seen her story on TV, in the paper, on social media, and YouTube, somebody has contacted her to say they want to help." As per People, Milich said, "We call him our New York friend. [My students] are so excited when a package arrives at the classroom and they can’t wait to see what it is. It’s changed the whole culture of our classroom and is so impactful. It’s been an amazing partnership." With the help of her students, Milich created a poster to thank Adam which read, "You’re the Best Hands Down."