Nicholas Ferroni, a history and cultural studies teacher in Union, New Jersey, is sharing daily tweets that feature a video from a teacher sharing all they are doing this summer.
The tweets have gone viral with the hashtag #NoSummersOff.
It is Day 41 of #NoSummersOff and I’d like you to meet @StaceyLynch82, who teaches in Maryland.— Nicholas Ferroni (@NicholasFerroni) July 14, 2019
Thank you for helping crush the myth that most teachers have summers off. #redfored pic.twitter.com/l40mnbiJiw
"Already this summer I have attended two professional development trainings as well as the Get Your Teach On conference," Stacey Lynch, a first-grade teacher in Maryland, said in her video. "I am working summer school, taking an online class, reading professional development books and creating materials to use in my classroom and sell on Teachers Pay Teachers and still trying to find part-time work for the month of August to get me through the rest of summer until school starts up again and I’m able to get my regular paycheck."
Ferroni started the #NoSummersOff challenge in June and plans to continue it through August.
Teaching is one of the most important professions, where you have to work other professions, in order to continue doing your main profession.— Nicholas Ferroni (@NicholasFerroni) June 26, 2019
Here is a list of the 2nd (and even 3rd) jobs that teachers do on top of teaching. #nosummersoff #redfored pic.twitter.com/0nh5PPWiOI
He notes that in addition to attending conferences, participating in trainings and preparing for the next school year, many teachers also work second, third and fourth jobs to supplement their salary.
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"I always say, if you ever think teachers have weekends, evenings and summers off, you don’t know a teacher," Ferroni told "Good Morning America." "I feel obligated to use my platform to let people know that these teachers are doing amazing things with minimal resources or no support and they’re working so hard."
Ferroni, People magazine's 2014 Sexiest Teacher Alive, has taught high school for the past 16 years. He worked as a bartender in his first years as a teacher and now travels the country doing speaking engagements and holding workshops in order to supplement his pay.
"Teaching is one of the few professions where people have to work multiple professions because they care so much about their first profession," he said. "Teaching is a sacrificial job. We give our all because we know our students are worth it."
"It breaks my heart to see these people going through so much because they care so much," Ferroni added.
Starting today I’ll be sharing a teacher video every day and what they do over the summer. It’s not intended for sympathy or to complain, but to crush the myth that only NON educators believe: teachers have summers off.— Nicholas Ferroni (@NicholasFerroni) June 2, 2019
Day 1 of #NoSummersOff is @NanaTeacher22, Utah 🍎🙌 pic.twitter.com/tzQf3yRptj
Ferroni said he has been overwhelmed by the number of videos he has received from teachers all across the country. No matter where the teachers are from or what they teach, he said, their message is the same.
"They just want to be valued," Ferroni said. "We don’t have to have Bentleys or Maseratis or live in mansions. We just want to make a living wage and have money in the bank."
Ferroni's viral hashtag comes amid the "Red for Ed" wave that has seen teachers in states from West Virginia to Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado and Arizona demand better pay and better funding for their classrooms.
"This is only inspired me even more that this is a conversation that we can’t let go of," Ferroni said of #NoSummersOff. "We have to focus on how we pay our teachers and how we invest in our schools."
For people who see the teachers' videos and want to help, Ferroni encourages them to get to the polls and open their wallets if they can.
"My call to action is always vote in politicians who support education and vote for local policies that support education," he said. "And go on DonorsChoose.org, type in your zip code and donate to a teacher who needs funding for a project."
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2019.)