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Education

I asked dozens of teachers why they're quitting. Their answers are heartbreaking.

I asked dozens of teachers why they're quitting. Their answers are heartbreaking.

When I was a child, I used to line up my dolls and stuffed animals on my bedroom floor, pull out my mini-chalkboard and in my best teacher's voice, “teach” them reading, writing and arithmetic. Pretending to be a teacher was my favorite kind of imaginative play.

In college, I majored in Secondary Education and English and became an actual teacher. I loved teaching, but when I started having kids of my own, I quit to stay home with them. When they got to school age, I decided to homeschool and never went back to a traditional classroom.

I kept my foot in the proverbial school door, however. Over the years, I’ve followed the education world closely, listened to teacher friends talk about their varied experiences and written countless articles advocating for better pay and support for teachers. I've seen a teacher burnout crisis brewing for a while. Then the pandemic hit, and it was like a hurricane hitting a house of cards.

Teachers are not OK, folks. Many weren’t OK before the pandemic, but they’re really not OK now.


A recent poll from the National Education Association found that 90% of its members say that feeling burned out is a serious problem, 86% have seen more teachers quitting or retiring early since the pandemic began and 80% say that job openings that remain unfilled have added to the workload of those who are still teaching. And more than half of teachers say they will leave the profession earlier than they had planned.

I checked in with several dozen teachers who have quit recently or are close to quitting, and the response was overwhelming. Over and over I heard the same sentiments: I went into teaching because I enjoy working with kids and I want to make a difference. I love teaching. I love my students. These are teachers who throw their whole heart into their work.

So why are they quitting? The reasons are plentiful—and heartbreaking.

Low pay is an issue many of us think of when it comes to teachers, but it's not the main thing pushing teachers to quit. One teacher told me that in his school district, garbage collectors make $10K more per year and have better benefits than teachers with graduate degrees and a decade of experience, but that wasn't his primary reason for wanting to leave. There’s no question teachers deserve to be paid more—a lot more—but teachers don’t choose to become teachers for the money, and most don’t quit because of the money, either. It’s the issues that make the wages not worth it.

One of those issues is a lack of recognition that teachers are actually highly skilled professionals. “Paying teachers like we are professionals would go a long way,” says Bonny D., an educator in Idaho, “but really it's about trusting us to be able to do our work. Many teachers have Master's degrees or have been teaching for many years, but still aren't listened to or considered experts when it comes to helping students succeed.”

Jessica C. has taught middle and high school English in three different states and resigned in December. She says she loved working with kids and designing curriculum, but she finally left after seeing more and more teacher autonomy get stripped away as standardized testing became the primary focus.

“Despite my years of experience across multiple states and my two graduate degrees in education, I felt like nobody with any real power believed I was actually competent at my job,” she says. “I saw evidence that my students were growing as readers and writers, but at the end of the day the only thing that mattered was hitting a certain number on those state assessments. It was really disheartening to feel like nothing else mattered but that test, and that even though the test itself doesn't resemble any real-world reading or writing skills in any way, it was supposed to be the focus of all of my instruction.

“But let's not forget,” she added, “I also wasn't allowed to look at it at all or even really know what was on it or how it would be scored.”

California elementary school teacher Ann B. shared a similar sentiment: “Teaching over the past decade has lost its charm and sparkle. So many mandates, broken systems, top-down management from people who haven’t spent much time in the classroom made it difficult.“

Sarah K. teaches high school history and AP psychology in Tennessee. Unlike most of the teachers I spoke to, she is having one of the best school years of her career, but she shares concern for the state of public education in general. “I think a lot of teachers feel attacked and are afraid and are feeling like the job can't be done anymore,” she told me. “As a society, we have lost our ability to trust each other, and it is manifesting itself in not trusting teachers to teach, do their jobs and follow our hearts to love and inspire kids.”

In addition to micromanagement from administrators, classroom control from legislators and demonization from parents, I had two teachers share with me that they’d been through a school shooting. ESL teachers from different states shared that their school districts refused to put resources toward programs that would help their students succeed and basically told them that those students didn’t matter. Other teachers feel like their own lives don’t even matter.

“A teacher passed away from COVID in January in a different building,” says Jenn M., a 14-year veteran teacher from Pennsylvania. “The kids had the day off. The teachers came in and had no directive of what to do. We got tested for COVID, and that was it. I literally feel like if I die, nobody in the district would care about me. I want to feel important and impactful at work.”

And then there's the mental load that has always existed for teachers but has definitely been exacerbated by the pandemic. Teaching is not 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with the summers and holiday breaks off. That’s just not how it works; not for any teacher I’ve ever known. And it's taxing work on every level. You’re working with dozens if not hundreds of kids every day. You care about them and their well-being, you’re trying to teach them whatever your subject is but also helping nurture them into fully functional human beings. You have constantly changing expectations coming from every side.

“Teaching is all-encompassing,” says an elementary school teacher from New Mexico who wishes to remain anonymous. “It is seriously draining emotionally and physically. It's not just a job that is easily turned off at the end of the day when you go home.

“Everything falls on the teachers,” she adds. “We are stuck in a no-win situation in the middle of a societal crisis. Schools have been pushing higher academics at earlier ages and the need to teach basic social skills, norms and niceties is higher than ever. Our roles and the demands on us are just increasing.”

Bonny D. agrees. “There is a mental load that goes with teaching,” she says. “It's very difficult to specifically identify. It's the workload, it's the constant changing of what's required of us as legislation changes, it's the restrictions on what we can teach, the expectation that we will work outside of the paid contract hours, the fact that it's easier to go to work sick than make sub plans, it's micromanaging teenagers, doing extra things in the school with no extra pay, the low morale created by parents who want to dictate what we do in the classroom without ever discussing it with us or volunteering in the classroom themselves.”

And so much of what's expected of teachers is self-contradictory, as Jessica C. points out in a bullet list summary of what teachers have been asked to do over the past few years:

- Differentiate your instruction for every child, but don't deviate from what the textbook says to teach.

- Teach directly from the textbook, word for word and page for page whenever possible, but also spend hours of your time designing a unit plan (even though one is provided in the textbook company's supplementary materials).

- Turn in detailed weekly lesson plans, even though we really just want you to turn the page and read what it says every day.

- Hold every child to high expectations and keep all your instruction and assessment on grade level, but make sure none of them fail, even if they come into your room drastically below grade level.

- Attend regular PLC meetings, but the principal is going to set the agenda and run the whole meeting and you won't really be asked to contribute anything at all. (Again, we're going to ignore that year-long training you got in your last district about the PLC model and just assume you don't know that we're deviating from the model completely.)

- You should be focusing on instruction, not wasting a minute of class time, but we're also going to expect you to collect T-shirt order forms, and fundraiser money, and take your kids down to the cafeteria for school pictures, and fill in for colleagues on your planning period. Oh, and you'll have to stay late several times a grading period so that you can work the gates at athletic events, because your professional performance review will be based on how much you gave to the school above and beyond your job description and contractual obligations.

The pandemic, of course, has made everything worse. Teachers have borne the brunt of all the upheaval in education, not only in having to completely change the way they teach and implement new technologies overnight, but also in dealing with the emotional and developmental challenges their students are facing throughout all of this. The pandemic has also exacerbated and highlighted issues of inequity in education that were already there.

Catlin G. is an intervention specialist who has taught for 18 years, primarily in schools in under-resourced communities. She says that what many districts are now dealing with—attendance and staffing issues, high variability in children's academic growth, a lack of resources—are all too familiar to her and the students she has worked with.

"The pandemic drew a lot of attention to the role of education, but much of it has been focused on issues such as CRT or masking, which have deflected from bigger, long-term problems in schools, such as low literacy rates and crumbling infrastructure. I hope that people don't simply forget about education issues once their kids no longer have to wear masks to school, and begin to think about how we can make education better for all kids."

Some teachers cite student behavioral issues as contributing to their burnout, but most of the teachers I heard from held on in the classroom as long as they felt they could for their students' sake. After all, teachers generally go into teaching because they love kids and want to work with them.

“I never wanted to leave," an elementary school teacher from Washington who quit this year told me. "I cried with my students during my last week in the classroom. Their outpouring of love and understanding melted my heart. I had never felt so conflicted in a decision because I loved the students and my job.”

Between the pandemic throwing classroom teaching into chaos, parents and legislators dictating how and what teachers teach, and increasing assessments and top-down administration creating micromanagement issues, teachers feel like they aren't able to do the jobs they love and signed up for. They're not quitting because they hate teaching—they're quitting because they can't teach under these conditions. It's tragic, truly, and it's up to all of us to throw our support behind educators to stem the crisis a mass exodus of teachers will lead to.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Woman refuses to change seats for mom and kids

Traveling with preteens and teens is a breeze in comparison to traveling with little ones but as a parent you still want to sit near your kiddos in case they need you for anything. If you've traveled on an airline in the last several years, you know it's much cheaper to chose the basic seats in the main cabin.

There's nothing different about these particular seats other than the airline sort of randomly selects your seat and if you're traveling alone, that's really not a bad deal. The risk gets to be a little higher if you're traveling with a party that you'd like to keep together - like your children. One mom took the risk and banked on a stranger accommodating...that's not quite how it played out.


People sit in the wrong seats on planes all the time, usually because they read their ticket wrong or accidentally sit one row ahead. Takes no time to double check your ticket and move along, but when Tammy Nelson did a double take at her ticket after seeing the mom in her window seat, she realized she wasn't mistakenly staring at the wrong row.

This mom boarded the plane with her older children and had taken it upon herself to sit in the same row as her children, essentially commandeering a stranger's seat. Nelson assumed it was a mistake and informed the woman that the seat was in fact hers but the response she received was surprising.

"She said, 'Oh, you want to sit here?'," Nelson tells Good Morning America. "She said, 'Oh, well I just thought I could switch with you because these are my kids.'"

That's an interesting assumption when seats are assigned and many people, like Nelson, pay extra to have the seat they prefer. Now, there's no telling if funds were tight and this was an unplanned trip for the mom and kids which caused her to buy the more budget friendly tickets or if she was simply being frugal and was banking on the kindness of a stranger.

Either way, Nelson specifically paid for a window seat due to motion sickness and though she paid extra, she was willing to sit in the other row if that seat was also a window seat. But it turns out, it was a middle seat.

Surely there's someone out there that loves the middle seat. Maybe a cold natured person that enjoys the body heat of two strangers sitting uncomfortably close. Or perhaps someone that doesn't mind accidentally sleeping on an unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. But that person isn't Nelson, so when the middle seat was offered in exchange for her bought and paid for window seat, she politely but sternly declined.

@myconquering

Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷‍♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦‍♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens

Her refusal to give in to the mom's seemingly entitled request for Nelson's seat has resulted in parents and child-fee people cheering her on after she posted the details on her TikTok page, MyCONQUERing. The video has over 3.4 million views.

"Nope. If it's not an upgrade it's a sacrifice," a commenter writes.

"You did the RIGHT thing. Folks need to plan their travel together. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an inconvenience on yours," one person says.

"I have 3 kids and have sat in different rows when they were passed toddler age. I agree, book your flight earlier," another writes.

"You were right. As a woman with 3 children, I always pay extra so we're sat together," another mom says.

Nelson is also a mom so she knows how important it is to sit next to kids on flights. But since airlines have made that a luxury, as the parent, you have to plan to pay extra or accept that you likely won't be seated next to your children. Hopefully in the future, this unnamed mom is seated next to her children or pays extra to make sure it happens. In the meantime, people continue to support Nelson standing her ground.

This article originally appeared on 7.28.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Joy

Photographer doesn't force young girls to smile in photos and the results are powerful

“Allow girls to show up, take up space and not smile if they don’t want to.”

two girls in shirts posing for photo

The expectation to put on an air of happy, fun, pleasant nonconfrontation through baring teeth, otherwise known as smiling, is something many, if not most, women know very well. What’s more, this pressure is often introduced to women at a very early age.

And obviously, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with naturally being a happy, smiling person, issues arise when kids are taught that being themselves, just as they are, isn’t acceptable.

That’s why people are so impressed with North Carolina-based photographer Brooke Light’s (@bdlighted on TikTok) hands-off approach when it comes to taking pictures of young girls.

Her philosophy is simple, but oh so poignant: Allow girls to show up, take up space, and perhaps most importantly, not smile if they don’t want to.


Light posted a video showing some of her recent portraits, and truly, the work speaks for itself. Each of the girls’ distinct, unique personalities shine in these black-and-white images. Plus the lighting is moody and artsy and cool as hell. So much better than a forced, cheesy, smiling pic.

Take a look:

@bdlighted never underestimate the power of a photoshoot for your kids confidence #moodymini #kidsphotographer #childrensphotography #portraitphotographer #confidenceboost #kidsconfidence #familyphotoshootideas #familyphotoshoots #studiophotography #blackandwhitephoto #girlpower #girlempowerment #donttellmetosmile #momsofgirls #girlmom #greenscreen ♬ Little Girl Gone - CHINCHILLA

Comments began flooding in commending Light for how she authentically portrayed the girls as individuals, rather than producing cookie-cutter images of them.

“I love how they are not trying to be anything ‘extra’ just their own raw and savage selves,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I can feel their power through my phone.”

Light redirected the praise toward her clients, saying, “They are even more amazing in person! Like that vibe you feel is ALL THEM. I’m just there capturing it.”

For many women who had their own memories of being told to smile for photos, seeing the images had a profound effect.

“CHILLS! This healed something in me. Thank you.” one person commented.

“The Sears family photo trauma was REAL” wrote another.

And for the record, Light doesn’t make boys smile either. Here’s the proof in her follow-up video:

@bdlighted these mom's got me blushing in my DMs 🫣📸 I've never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. it's meant more than you can ever know. #boymom #boymoms #moodymini #familyphotoshoots #familyphotoshootideas #portraitphotographer#studiophotography#kidsphotographer#kidsconfidence #childrensphotography #greenscreen ♬ Area Codes - Kali

In the post, Light shared how touched she was by the overwhelmingly positive response.

“I’ve never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. Thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. It’s meant more than you can ever know,” she wrote.

Imagine that…celebrating others for their authentic selves, then being celebrated yourself. Now that’s something worth smiling for.


This article originally appeared on 6.2.23

via Rob Dance (used with permission).

CEO Rob Dance holds a list of things he's "sick" of hearing from his employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted workplaces worldwide, there has been a greater push for improved work-life balance and many companies are taking notice. The exciting thing is that when companies become more flexible, their employees become happier and more productive.

It’s a win-win for all involved.

Rob Dance, the CEO of ROCK, a technology consulting company in the UK, recently went viral for posting about his approach to work-life balance on Instagram. What, at first, appeared to be a CEO reprimanding his employees revealed a boss who knows how to get the best out of is team by treating them like adults.

The post was of Dance holding a whiteboard that reads:


Things I’m sick of hearing from my employees:

- Can I leave early today

- I’ll be late in the morning

- My child is sick, can I rush off

- I’ve got a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, is that okay

- I’m going to be late back from lunch, I’ve got some things to sort.

I don’t care.

I hired you for a job and I fully TRUST you to get it done.

I don’t need you to account for every single hour.

Times have changed, and the workplace is different these days.

People are sick of being treated like children.

All that should matter is that everyone is happy, and that the work gets done.


He also shared his advice for companies on how to treat their employees. “Treat your staff like adults. That’s it, that’s the big secret,” he wrote. “Give them autonomy. Respect that they have lives outside of work. Don’t gaslight them into being grateful for not being fired every day.” Because in the end, the only thing that matters is if they get the job done. “Output should always trump hours,” he concluded.

Upworthy contacted Dance, who explained why managers still hesitate to treat their employees like adults.

“Many bosses don't trust their employees and keep extremely close tabs on them because of past experiences and a desire for control. They might believe that micromanaging ensures productivity and prevents issues,” he told Upworthy. “Additionally, the pressure to meet business targets can drive bosses to monitor employees obsessively, thinking it will lead to better outcomes. This approach, however, only undermines trust and destroys morale in the workplace. It creates a toxic environment where employees feel undervalued and stressed, leading to higher turnover rates and decreased overall performance. Instead of fostering a culture of accountability and growth, this behavior only promotes fear and resentment.”



Dance says that technology has helped drive demand for improved work-life balance.

“Mobile technology definitely started to blur the lines between one’s professional and personal life, making it tough to switch off from work,” he told Upworthy. “As a millennial leader, I've always valued work-life harmony for my staff, helping them to achieve both flexibility and finding purpose in their work.”

The ROCK CEO also has advice for employees who’d like to gain their employer’s trust.

“Always deliver quality work and aim to meet or exceed expectations. Keep communication lines open by regularly updating your manager on your progress, challenges, and successes,” he told Upworthy. “Take the initiative to go beyond basic requirements, showing your willingness to contribute more. Act with integrity by always being honest and ethical. Seek honest feedback and make tangible improvements based on it, demonstrating your commitment to growth. Finally, a big one is building positive relationships with everyone you work with, as strong connections are what help to build real trust.”

Have you heard the new toilet paper hack?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people took toilet paper—especially its availability—for granted. Everyone who experienced those hectic days probably has a new appreciation when they roll down the aisle of their local supermarket and see fully stocked shelves of TP.

A new trend shows that people aren’t only appreciating their toilet paper but finding new ways to use it that go beyond its traditional use: keeping toilet paper in their refrigerators. The most common reason is that it is an effective and affordable way to keep them smelling fresh and clean. It seems that TP’s absorbent qualities go far beyond the bathroom.

The new practice has been popularized on TikTok, where most new life hack trends seem to be springing up these days.


In late September, TikTok user @Ezenwanyibackup shared a toilet-paper-in-the-fridge hack, and it received over 1400 views. The hack involves creating a paste out of baking soda and applying it to the top of the roll. "Now, just stick it in your fridge," the TikTokker said. "This simple hack is going to neutralize all the smell and moisture that messes up your fridge, keeping your food fresh and tasty for way longer."

@ezenwanyibackup

Just put a roll of toilet paper in your fridge, and you won't have that problem anymore! #ezenwanyibackup #foryoupage #homemaderemedies #healthy #homemaderecipes #foryou #diy #naturalrecipes #recipe #fypシ゚viral @ezenwanyibackup @ezenwanyibackup @ezenwanyibackup @This Recipe @Queen ezenwanyi1

Smartfoxlifehacks has also helped promote the new trend in kitchen cleanliness with his video, where he shares how he keeps toilet paper in his fridge. He recommends that people change their rolls every 3 to 4 weeks. He claims the "trick" comes from the hotel industry because the toilet paper “absorbs odors."

@smartfoxlifehacks

This is a secret Trick from Hotels… 😱🦊 #lifehack #tipsandtricks #cleaningtricks #cleaninghacks

Another TikTokker, @Drewfrom63rd1, has a unique use for the toilet paper in his fridge. He chills it and then uses it as an ice pack to keep his food cold. “You can use this as an ice pack,” he says, putting a roll out of his fridge. “It does really work. It lasts about 8 hours.”

@drewfrom63rd1

Replying to @wgez

House Digest explains why toilet paper is so effective at keeping your fridge smelling fresh.

“For obvious reasons, toilet paper is designed to be extremely absorbent,” Brooke Younger writes at House Digest. “However, it doesn't just absorb liquids on contact; it can also pull them from the surrounding air. If you've ever touched your bathroom's toilet paper roll after a steamy shower, you might notice that it feels a bit damp. Placing a clean toilet paper roll in your fridge will absorb some of the internal humidity and, with it, those stinky particles.”

The site adds that toilet paper can also help keep dark, damp parts of your house, such as a closet or basement, stay fresh, too.

The toilet paper hack is effective, and it’s also a great way to save money. The average roll of TP costs about $1, which is much cheaper than a refrigerator deodorizer that can set you back about $10.

Now, for the sake of all the people who love this hack, let’s hope that word spreads so that no one gets any side-eye for having stacks of TP in their fridge. But we should also hope it doesn’t become so popular that people start hoarding toilet paper again. That wasn’t fun the first time.


This article originally appeared on 11.20.23

A family fights over a baby name.

When it comes to parenting, the second most important decision—after whether to have a child or not—is choosing a name for the kid. Even though we live in times where parents are getting more and more creative about picking a name for their children, those with a more common name have a greater chance of being socially accepted than those without.

According to Psychology Today, grade-school kids with highly unusual names or names with negative associations tend to be “less popular” than those with more “desirable” names. Later in life, people with “unpopular or unattractive” names have more difficulty finding romantic partners.

A 23-year-old mother-to-be wanted to name her son Gaylord and had her family's full, passionate support, but her husband, 24, and his side of the family were firmly against the idea. The woman was looking for validation and posted about the dilemma on Reddit's AITA forum.


“In my family, our genealogy is extremely important. The firstborn son since the 1800's has been given this name. I'm well aware it's a stigmatized name today, so that's why I have agreed to using a short form,” the woman wrote.

Understanding that her son would be bullied for being called Gaylord, she decided that it would be his legal first name, but could go by Gail. Her family believed that it was acceptable for him to be known as Gail initially, but as society grows more tolerant, will be called Gaylord when he gets older.

“They see the backlash over the name today as a fad that will eventually disappear, and I agree seeing how accepting each generation tends to become,” she continued. “When society stops being so immature about it, he can start using the full name.”

The father wouldn’t even consider naming his son Gaylord, or Gail, for that matter. His family went a step further and said that naming him Gaylord or Gail would be “abusive.”

"My in-laws are telling me that even Gail isn't an acceptable boy's name and that I need to 'get with the times' and choose something more appropriate," she continued. “What happened to respecting our elders and traditions? His family doesn't have any naming traditions, so it should fall to my family that does. How could I be expected to break a centuries-old family tradition?”

The commenters were overwhelmingly against the mother’s decision.

"Use your imagination. A boy named Gaylord goes to his first day of school. The teacher does the roll call. ‘GAYLORD SMITH?’ Class breaks into giggles. Embarrassed boy says, ‘It's Gail.’ Class giggles some more, since Gail is usually a girl's name. Boy has no chance of fitting in with his classmates. His fate is sealed. He is a social pariah for life. Don't do this to him. Please,” one user wrote.

"Your name is the first thing people know about you. It’s the cover page of how people perceive you. Even if you think Gaylord will just appear on the birth certificate, you’re wrong. His legal name will have to be used on official documents, at school, on his license and passport. It will appear at the top of every resume he hands out. It’s not as simple as putting a name on paper. It’s how he is going to appear to the whole world. Gaylord is totally stigmatized and has been for decades. It’s not going away, sorry." Elinbeth added.

“Some traditions reach the point where they are no longer suitable for modern times. This is 100% that time. Pick another name," CashieBashie wrote.

After the post went viral, the mother shared that both sides of the family have tentatively agreed on a name.

“We managed to work out that Gale Gaylord would be a reasonable compromise, with Gale being the complete first name, and Gaylord being the middle name,” the woman wrote. “My husband can then add a second middle name after Gaylord if he wants. Grandpa is especially not impressed that it's being demoted to a middle name, but he did say he understands the pressure I'm facing here.”


This article originally appeared on 2.14.24