Honoring Teachers with 50 Percent Off

Each of us, I am sure, can remember a teacher (or many teachers!) who had a significant and positive influence on our lives – or on our children’s lives. They may have helped us grasp a difficult concept, inspired us to follow our dreams that led to our eventual careers, or helped us through a difficult personal challenge.

Teachers hold a special place in our hearts here at Republic Wireless. As we reflect on our role in the technology sector, we appreciate and respect the challenges teachers face every day in incorporating technology into their classrooms, while also teaching their students how to develop healthy relationships with technology and screens.

While our low-cost My Choice plan is a great fit for anyone who wants to spend less money on their cell phone bill and more money on the important things in life, we wanted to extend the savings even more for those who are responsible for shaping the future of our nation’s youth. We are excited to announce our new Educator Appreciation Program, which provides K-12 teachers and support staff with 50% off their cell phone bills when activated with a valid school email address!

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, read on to learn more about the amazing teachers who have inspired some of our team members.

Raschelle N. fondly remembers her high school English teacher

When growing up, every kid gets asked what they want to be when they grow up. Often times it’s an astronaut, a firefighter, actor, doctor, etc. For me, I wasn’t sure where I was headed until high school. My freshman year of high school, I had a teacher, Mrs. Stephenson, who changed my life. She’s an amazing high school English teacher for freshmen and seniors who always encouraged her students to work harder, to think bigger, and to have fun in everything they did.

Raschelle - Republic Wireless employeeAs a senior in my county, I had to complete a senior project. Most teachers had you select a highly-debated or high-importance topic from a preset list (i.e., politics, business, etc.). But Mrs. Stephenson believed that if we picked a topic that was important and meaningful to each of us, we’d be more motivated to put more effort and heart into the project. With that, my topic was… chocolate. That’s right; I wrote an entire research report on the types and effects of chocolate. It was so much fun, and I can definitely say that I put more work into that project (willingly!) than any other project I’ve ever done.

Mrs. Stephenson had an amazing way of connecting with each student. She always cared so deeply and so personally for each individual who walked through her door. I was lucky enough to have had Mrs. Stephenson in my life during some difficult times. There were so many mornings when she’d let me into her classroom early (probably the only free time for teachers) to vent and to talk through some of the things going on in my life. She was an amazing coach and voice of reason when that wasn’t there for me otherwise. When things got really tough for me, she was there to pick me up at night or to take me out to dinner to chat. She was my confidante, my hero, and my motivation to make it through those times.

“She always cared so deeply and so personally for each individual who walked through her door.”

The most defining moment of our relationship was during my senior year. I had applied to several colleges, but couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. I knew I had to pay for school myself, so that was a huge factor in my decision. She went with me to Meredith College on a tour. I fell in love with the campus that day and loved everything about it, but struggled to work through the financial obligation. She knew that things would work out, and immediately paid my entry fee to college—she knew what my strengths and my needs were, even though I couldn’t see them myself. That decision alone ended up shaping the rest of my life.

“She knew what my strengths and my needs were, even though I couldn’t see them myself.”

I went on to complete my undergraduate degree, and would later go on to pursue an MBA. Her mentorship, guidance, and faith in me have pushed me beyond my own perceptions of myself and what I believed I could achieve. She continues to be a role model to me, but also for other young girls who don’t always see their own strength and ability. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met and I strive every day to be as fearless as she is, and try to exude the same good will to anyone I encounter. Thank you “Mama Stephenson” for all that you have done for me, and also for every student that has been lucky to have had you as a teacher and friend.

“Her mentorship, guidance, and faith in me have pushed me beyond my own perceptions of myself and what I believed I could achieve.”

Kevin M. credits his high school pre-calculus teacher for encouraging him to strive for the best

In 10th grade, I had a medical situation that required me to miss almost 2 months of school. When I returned, I was extremely fortunate to have many teachers who dedicated their own time outside of normal hours to tutoring me and getting me caught up. Just to get back into a full course load, many of my classes became pass/fail during that time since I needed to show I could get to the next topic to get back on schedule.

Kevin M. Republic Wireless employee

Well, it was easy to say I fell into a bit of a laziness streak with schoolwork for the rest of that year, having come out of this situation feeling like I had no obstacles in my path and was generally invincible. Most teachers obliged, as I had worked so hard to get to that point. One didn’t, though. Mrs. L. was my Pre-Calc teacher and had helped tutor me to get caught up. Once I was back in normal class, however, she didn’t treat me differently than anyone else. I got bad grades on tests of current subjects because I didn’t feel like I needed to try.

I managed to get the lowest grade in that class of any in my entire school career. As someone who’s now worked in Finance for his entire career, having that lowest grade in a math class was obviously horrifying to me at the time! When I talked to Mrs. L. about the grade, she helped me understand how she’d seen my work ethic and perseverance in leaps and bounds during my recovery and catching up, so she could tell I was being lazy now. She talked about how I shouldn’t use my situation as a crutch, but instead as motivation for getting the best out of myself. It was the advice and wake up call I needed.

“She helped me understand how she’d seen my work ethic and perseverance in leaps and bounds during my recovery.”

That experience helped drive me to not accept less than the best from myself in schoolwork and in my eventual work career. I’m certainly more successful today because of it! Thanks, Mrs. L.!

Pete M. found inspiration in an unexpected place – one of his most dreaded subjects – thanks to an encouraging teacher

I was a poor student throughout most of grade school, preferring to sketch cartoonish drawings versus applying myself to school work. But my least favorite subject by far was mathematics. Memorizing multiplication tables was sheer torture, and classroom speed-solving challenges left me embarrassed.

Pete M. - Republic Wireless employeeThis all changed in the eighth grade thanks to my math teacher, Ms. Blanc. She had the unenviable task of selecting a subset of students to challenge themselves with the study of Algebra versus staying focused on the regular math curriculum. I have no recollection of being interviewed for this opportunity, and if I had, I would have likely rejected the offer to change subject matter.

“Ms. Blanc’s insightfulness and trust in my abilities changed the course of my life and I’m very grateful to her to this day.”

Thankfully, Ms. Blanc saw something in me that I didn’t then see in myself. When she placed me in the Algebra program, math went from dull, rote memorization to challenging puzzle solving. My grade trajectory reversed, not just in math, but in other classes as well. There were certainly other changes in the subsequent years that helped me become a lifelong learner, but I’ve often thought about how Ms. Blanc’s insightfulness and trust in my abilities changed the course of my life and I’m very grateful to her to this day.

Mike O. reflects on the importance of community and passion in education

I grew up in a very small community and went to a high school of less than 100 students, with a graduating class of only sixteen. Throughout college and my career, friends and colleagues are always fascinated when I mention my class size. I’m often asked how that was possible and what we did for fun. I’m even ribbed with a few farming jokes along the way.

Mike - Republic Wireless employee But, I’ve always felt incredibly blessed that I attended Ashton High School. Now that I have kids of my own, both in a very large school, I recognize even more how truly special my educational experience was. I can only imagine that the challenges for teachers and administrators in a small school with small budgets are potentially even greater than the challenges that larger schools face.

Beyond providing core educational experiences, these teachers must prepare their students for college and life beyond college, while also encouraging them to develop accountability and compassion for others. These teachings are only possible through a full commitment to students, a strong sense of community, and a passion for education – I was incredibly fortunate that these factors all surrounded me throughout my formative years.

“These teachings are only possible through a full commitment to students, a strong sense of community, and a passion for education.”

While there were many teachers that exemplified these behaviors, my high school math teacher, Traci Gittleson, had a significant impact on me. Not just because math was my favorite subject, but as a young teacher, not far removed from college, she was very relatable. And, of course, as a great teacher, she made the coursework challenging while having fun doing it.

But, it was how she fit in to the community that really made her stand out. As a young out-of-towner, I can only imagine the initial challenges she faced coming into a small, close-knit community like ours. However, you would have never known, thanks to her daily enthusiasm for classes. She ultimately married, raised children, and became very active in the community and is still there today. Her devotion to not only teaching but also her family and community is amazing. She is one of many teachers that I look forward to seeing when I go back home, usually once a year.

We truly owe our teachers support and most importantly, gratitude for all they do for us and for our children! Thanks to all the teachers out there!

A high school English teacher helped Victoria S., one of our content writers, find her voice

At the end of high school, you make some pretty major decisions at an age where you don’t know yourself very well yet. Colleges, majors, career paths… It’s a lot to take in for a 17-year-old. But sometimes people are there to help you. They give you the tools or the encouragement you need to get to know yourself and what you really want. I had my family to help me, but I also had some amazing teachers in my life to help along the way. Dr. Kinsey, by far, had the biggest impact on where I am today.

Victoria - Republic Wireless employee Dr. Kinsey came out of retirement when I was in 11th grade to cover for my English teacher who was taking care of her new baby. And, as a former college professor, his class was more serious, more rigorous, and vastly more interesting than any lit class I’d ever taken. For the first time, literature wasn’t about plot memorization and spitting out summaries. Writing wasn’t about five formulaic paragraphs. Sparknotes was out of the question—the class was was free-form, analytic, and challenging.

“The class was free-form, analytic, and challenging.”

When we read Faulkner, Shakespeare, and Tennessee Williams, we had discussions, not lectures. It opened up our minds, helped us listen to each other, and even understand humanity a little better in the process. Our class loved him so much that he stayed on to co-educate us in the 12th grade. Being selected for Dr. Kinsey’s hallway lit analysis was one of the highlights of my senior year.

Dr. Kinsey helped me find my writing voice and taught me that it’s ok to break the strict rules of grammar to express a point of view or an emotion. He helped me fine-tune my essays, and other things I wrote. He always had valuable feedback for me, but never platitudes or pointless compliments. He taught me that I could never rest on my laurels and there was always a way to improve.

“He taught me that I could never rest on my laurels and there was always a way to improve.”

As graduation got closer and I was looking at colleges and majors, Dr. Kinsey pulled me aside to have a frank conversation. He told me it would be a waste if I didn’t keep writing. I was shocked and ecstatic. That moment is so special to me—it keeps me going when I feel stuck or down. Dead Poet’s Society has nothing on Dr. Kinsey. He’ll always be my role model, inspiration, and the reason I write.

You Can Help!

Want to thank the special teachers in your life (or your children’s lives)? Let them know about Republic Wireless’s new Educator Appreciation Program. We’d love to help them save money on their cell phone bills, so they can spend more on the people and experiences that are most important to them.

If you are not currently a Republic Wireless member and you work in a K-12 school, we’d love to have you! Click here to sign up for our Educator Appreciation Program.

If you are already a Republic Wireless member working in a K-12 school and you would like be included in the Educator Appreciation Program, please send an email to hello@republicwireless.com from your school email address, and indicate the email address associated with your account.

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Notable Replies

  1. @davide.19hlqy @SpeedingCheetah We will be pleased to apply the Educator Appreciation discount to existing lines. Please send an email to hello@republicwireless.com from your valid school email address so we can verify employment. In your email, please also indicate the email address that is associated with your existing account so we can apply the discount. Thank you for everything you do, and happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

  2. Very true of public schools. Perhaps, less true of private schools. I presume private school educators are equally welcome?

  3. Hi @SpeedingCheetah,

    We have alternate verification methods arranged in case there is any question. In order to not help the fraudsters, we find it’s best not to outline those methods publicly.

    Thanks for your concern!

  4. Hi @andreas,

    Currently, our purpose with this promotion is to show our appreciation for educators by offering the discount on the entire account. As with all things, if there are obvious signs of abuse, we’ll have to re-evaluate the offer.

  5. Thanks. That’s very generous!

  6. I’ll be honest, I don’t get this. It seems to be against everything that Republic has always stood for. No, I’m not saying teachers don’t deserve it. But do they deserve it more than firemen, policeman, priests, Rabbi, the military, First Responders of all kinds, monks, those that have taken personal vows of poverty, those on welfare, or the parents of children with cancer? Republic has always been about one price for everyone, because when you offer a group of discount, everyone else has to subsidize it. How is this different? One can argue that K-12 teachers are some of the most underpaid people on the planet, one cannot argue the same about college professors. Why extend to those that make higher than what is the average salary in America. I would argue that 75% of the population that makes less than they do deserve a discount more than they do.

    If 50% off is sustainable, Republic should just lower its prices 50%. If it is not, they shouldn’t offer it to anyone because why should the rest of us pay for it?

  7. I will admit that a disabled person on a fixed income, that I know, literally, could not afford a phone or plan, if I wasn’t paying for it.

    No one want’s to be the ‘bad-guy’ @louisdi, I appreciate your honesty. That’s what this forum is all about.

  8. I’m torn. My brother is the Athletic Director at his K-8 private school. He and his family are very iPhone centric, so I don’t expect they would make the switch. Still, I plan to ask if his colleagues would find the offer of interest.

    I think Republic’s intent is noble. That said, you raise important points.

  9. Hi @louisdi,

    Thanks for your feedback. We’ll take it into consideration. It’s easy to forget, as we look to honor a group of people who mean a lot to us, that doing so may make other, equally important groups feel left out or even jealous.

    Everyone deserves value, and we always try to find ways to provide value to our members. While a 50% price cut across the board would not be sustainable, offering it to a select group does not necessarily mean others are carrying the burden of paying for it. We haven’t raised your rates in order to make this offer, and we didn’t hold back from lowering them (See: Introducing the My Choice Plan) in order to make the offer. Running a business is complex. In addition to revenue and discounts, there are negotiations, contracts, partnerships, budgets… oh, and the all-important EBITDA. I won’t pretend to understand it all, and knowing you as I do, I’m sure you have far more expertise in these things than I do.

    Nowhere have we suggested that educators “deserve” a discount “more than” anyone else. We’ve made a decision, much as you make a decision when you decide on a cause to support, that we’d like to celebrate educators and their role in shaping our lives and the lives of our children, by offering them a discount.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your feedback is, as always, meaningful and worthwhile, and we aren’t dismissing it. We’re sorry to have caused you such consternation, and we’ll keep your points in mind as we think through future initiatives.

  10. This kinda thing sure does evoke folks to ask for other such discount programs.
    Military, Student, 55+ etc. Many of the major cell carriers do such as well.

    Student one sure is a good one. (I used to get a % off when i was with VZW and in college)
    Plenty of broke college students out there, that are most certainly around wifi alot!
    Such a program may drum up some business.
    Though I would hope it could extend to those already graduated with a degree to submit as verification, to students that still have .edu email access (like me) even is it is only a very small discount, say like 5%. (or perhaps other “perks” or “rewards” type thing.)

    But I can understand R.W has to tread very carefully in offering any kind of discount programs.
    After-all, their prices are already very good.

  11. Hi @melissav.wzkpau,

    We want to make this as easy as possible on you! Please have your husband send an email from his valid school email address to hello@republicwireless.com. In that email, please also have him indicate the email address that is associated with your Republic account. We’ll then get the discount applied for you based on your email address.

    Thanks!

  12. This is nice since teachers and professors at public schools and universities are woefully underpaid and under-supplied.

  13. There’s no shortage of “honoring” teachers where I live. The PTO goes overboard every year with this. Honoring the school janitors and lunch providers would be nice too. I’d be embarrassed by it if I were a teacher. I’m not sure why those who are already reasonably compensated, and almost always have exceptional public sector benefits not available to most of us in the private sector, need to be “honored” with discounts.

  14. Hi @SpeedingCheetah,

    The spirit of this initiative is to show our appreciation to employees of K-12 General Education institutions. It is not meant for specialized private business offerings like security certification, gymnastics lessons, music lessons, martial arts training, concealed-carry classes, etc.

  15. Hi @jonathanh.54pydg,

    I’d like to clarify that the focus of this initiative is not about pay inequity.

    As we reflect on the teachers we remember because they made a difference in our lives, we realize that teachers are in a unique position to impact the lives of so many young people. As a company, we want to encourage teachers to promote healthy, appropriate use of technology in an age where screen addiction is reshaping our societal norms.

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