Boy, 9, donates birthday money to teacher because she's not 'paid enough'

Elise Solé
Parker Williams, a 3rd-grader in Florida, gave $15 of his birthday money to his beloved teacher. (Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Williams)


Parker Williams, a 9-year-old boy in Florida, felt that his teacher wasn’t getting proper recognition. So he gave her $15 from his birthday fund to show his respect for her profession.

In September, Parker, a 3rd-grader at Gorrie Elementary School in Tampa, turned 9. He received gifts and some money from his grandparents, and last week, he donated the dollars to his teacher, Mary Hall Chambers.

Parker’s mom Jennifer tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her son never vocalized his plan; instead, he secretly wrote a note to his teacher.

“I don’t think that teachers get paid enough for what they do so will you [accept] this gift?” Parker wrote, taping onto the letter a plastic bag stuffed with $15.

Parker Williams, a 3rd-grader in Florida, loves his teacher so much, he gave her a pay raise. (Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Williams)


Chambers, who has been teaching for 16 years, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that when Parker handed her the note before class, she assumed the money was for an upcoming field trip to an agricultural center. “I looked at the note and said, ‘Oh my goodness,’” she says. “I had goosebumps.”

Since Parker was already back at his desk, Chambers quickly wrote a response: “I can’t accept this but appreciate the gesture, Parker. Students like you are the reason I teach.”

The teacher delivered the note to the boy, thanking him for his thoughtfulness, and the pair shared a hug. “It touched my heart and made me happy,” Chambers tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Mary Hall Chambers, a 3rd-grade teacher in Tampa, Florida, received a $15 gift from her student to show his appreciation. (Photo: Strawbridge Studios/Courtesy of Hillsborough County Public Schools)

Parker’s father later saw the notes in a school folder and posted a photo on Facebook.

Jennifer tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she doesn’t know where Parker got the idea that teachers are underpaid. However, the boy is spot-on. According to a report by the Chicago Sun, teachers are underpaid even when compared to non-teaching college graduates. In 2018, a series of national teacher strikes brought awareness for higher salaries and better working conditions in schools.

Parker and his family clearly appreciate Chambers, with Jennifer calling her an “amazing” teacher, who is attentive to her children’s progress. “She inspired Parker to do this,” says Jennifer. “She’s a quiet hero.”

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