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Model-Teacher Crowdfunds Students’ Books

Model-Teacher Crowdfunds Students’ Books

Like something from fiction, Samuel has a secret identity. By day, he is Mr Pearce, teaching English to 13- and 14-year-olds. But at night and weekends, he becomes Sam Worthen, fashion model, strutting his stuff on the runways of the world.

To make things simpler here, we’re just going to call him Sam.

Sam, 24, is originally from Massachusetts in the US, but is now living and working (mostly) in New York. He was “discovered” on a train one day, by another male model who thought they shared a profession. Since then, “Sam Worthen” has worked with some big name brands, such as Diesel and Alexander McQueen.

But whatever you’re thinking, Sam is a teacher first and foremost, and nothing means more to him than his 67 students and trying to nurture their interest in reading.

A couple of months ago, Sam’s dual identity hit the headlines and he was concerned about his students finding out. He couldn’t see how them knowing about his model-moonlighting could benefit them in any way.

But Sam is just one of many teachers in the US who have to spend their own income on books and materials for their students. Of course, after living expenses, this income only goes so far, so Sam has spent a lot of time brainstorming money-raising ideas to contribute to more books. And after talking with his agent, it came to him: he could use his newfound publicity to raise money for the books his class needed.

To go about this, he set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding web page, setting a target for $3,000 after working out that amount would enable to him to buy three books per child in his class. He believes that far too many students in New York don’t have enough access to books, and he wanted to make them as readily available for his class as possible.

“Reading fluently is the most powerful tool for lifetime success,” he said in the campaign description. He added that some of the children can read books from home, but most of them have to rely on the library collection in the classroom.

In his eyes, those who are reluctant to read need only find what he calls “the right book” to get them started. Once they’ve finished a book, Sam will ask his students what kind of book they would like to read next and he’ll try to track down the perfect book for them.

Sam Worthen - Sam Pearce's alter egoBut this all costs money, and he is struggling to keep all of his students readings books that keep them inspired to read, which is why he launched the crowdfunding campaign.

Within hours of launching the campaign, more than $5,000 had been donated, and Sam informed donors that he and his students were deeply grateful for the support. And because the goal had already been reached – with room to spare – he was closing the campaign early.

Sam also pointed out that there are lots of teachers who, just like him, are struggling to provide their students with materials they have to buy out of their own pocket. He hopes that his crowdfunding idea has inspired other teachers to reach out, or potential donors to contribute to other cause similar to his own.

But that’s not the last people will hear from Sam and his students. He’s set up an Instagram account for the campaign called @therightbook. Every time he buys a new book for his class, he’ll take a picture of it and post it on the account, sharing the title, price, and how much of the fund is left. He’ll also be adding photos of their classroom library as it grows.

It seems there is nothing this teacher won’t do for his children. He’d much rather be in front of his class than on the runway, and his reasons aren’t selfish. Teaching comes before his modelling, and he said he will never accept a modelling job that could compromise the learning of his students.

“There are so many models who can do a job with equal results [as me],” he pointed out. “But a substitute teacher, no matter how qualified, is never going to get the same results in the classroom.”

So, there you have it, folks. A smart and caring teacher looking out for his students the best way he can, and not just a pretty face.

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