Online Education

When teachers beg online to equip their classroom

The phenomenon that went viral is called #clearthelist and unfortunately for disadvantaged teachers, this is increasingly the norm as it becomes their only way to fund school supply purchases.

basic needs

Like many teachers, Rebekah Dennis, who teaches Spanish at two Pittsburgh schools, doesn’t have enough school supplies to teach the 450 students in her classes. I can’t help but give a 4-year-old preschooler a paper and pen worksheet; that is not possible, he explains. I need all the extra stuff: plasticine, animal figures, because there is no other way to learn a new language easily at this age or to make it fun and exciting.

The hashtag #clearthelist has become a symbol that teachers desperately need school supplies.

Photo: Twitter (screenshot)

Faced with a woeful lack of money in schools for this kind of basic equipment, she turned to generous donors to buy her school supplies. Today, she is very proud to show off the many items she got for her classroom: notebooks, rugs, desk organizer, posters, decorations, storage boxes, snacks…

This cornucopia was acquired thanks to a list of necessary things that the young teacher posted on Amazon and shared on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #clearthelist.

Internet users can thus select and pay for articles and then have them sent directly to the teacher who created the list. It’s a lesson in humility, explains Rebekah Dennis. I have received many articles from people who prefer to remain anonymous, so I cannot send them any thanks; they just did it nicely.

Basic and must-have lists

Anita Douglas, who teaches French at a school in Iowa, also had to resign from creating an Amazon listing. Normally, it is the teacher who shops and helps the students who have nothing, he says. It is expensive as you can imagine.

First, he looks for entry-level French books for these students who have never studied another language.

As for the other supplies she needed, she was successful. It was really fun; my husband called me and said there was a truck from amazon with a big pallet full of stuff. And he asked me, “What is it?” I replied, “That’s the list!”

Stacked packages.

A number of packages containing Anita Douglas’ desired items arrived in droves at her home thanks to mostly anonymous buyers.

Photo: Twitter (screenshot)

Jodie Shervanick, a teacher from Las Vegas, Nevada, also ventured: I have had to pay a lot for my class in the past and I am very grateful for this step #clearthelist because a total stranger who lives abroad bought me a $200 mat for my kindergarten class. It seems like a simple thing, but a nursery mat where everyone has their place is part of an essential classroom management strategy. I need it.

Jodie Shervanick, a kindergarten teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Since Jodie Shervanick posted her list, several donors have bought her some basic items for her kindergarten classroom.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

When asked how it feels to receive such a gift, Jodie gets teary-eyed. When I received it, I scanned the QR code to connect with the generous donor and asked her to send me an email address so I could send her a thank you photo. I think it’s important.

He’s asking for gear

His colleague Ryan Fromoltz, who teaches at the high school, laments the lack of interest from schools. Some of the things I needed this year were fans because it can get pretty hot in the classroom here in Vegas, especially when there is no air conditioning.he said.

Ryan Fromoltz, a high school teacher in Nevada.

Ryan Fromoltz laments having to beg on social media to buy school supplies.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

According to him, the search for ways to finance school supplies remains deeply unfair.

I hate begging people for money, but in 11 years of teaching I have asked for over $10,000 in school supplies through Amazon, Donors Choose and other programs.

A situation he regrets and which he says speaks volumes about the state of the education system in the United States. It’s misery, the message we send to young people. In this country teachers have to beg and beg only for the bare necessities.

Anita Douglas adds: It is not fair; my husband works in a bank, he doesn’t buy pens, paper and the like, but teachers always do that for a couple of years.

This is proof, he says, that these temporary listings, with big companies like Amazon, Walmart and others offering to put them online on their sites, are part of a trend that’s here to stay.

It became a huge movement; I put in my list, uploaded others’ lists, and it became a community. »

Quote from Anita Douglas

Rebekah Dennis bought several hundred dollars worth of items for other teachers who also gave her gifts. She, who signed up on Twitter just two months ago to distribute her list, now has more than 3,500 followers.

Rebekah Dennis in her classroom.

Rebekah Dennis, a Spanish teacher at two schools in Pittsburgh, along with donations and school supplies purchased for her.

Photo: Rebekah Dennis

Still waiting for generous donors to complete purchases on her list, she plans to stay on the social network: There are so many teachers and friends of teachers who want to make this work for us that I want to continue to nurture those relationships.

A few weeks into the school year, some American teachers have managed to purchase a large portion of their essentials. However, they are aware that next year it will be necessary to repeat this application process, which seems unjustified to them.

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