The kids are going back to school, and the supply lists seem to be ever-growing. One news team out of Denver had a few opinions about those school lists, and have ignited a fire of responses on their social media page.
I know, I know. The back-to-school list can seem daunting. When my son started kindergarten last year, even I was a bit floored at just how many things were on the list.
But only for a second, because I spent 13 years as a classroom teacher, and remember vividly the days where I had to restock in the middle of the year because I could count the crayons my kids had on one hand and pencils were as scarce as Bigfoot.
Not to mention, I remember the days of buying things for the upcoming school year. Those days started basically at the end of the previous school-year, as it’s true that a teacher’s shopping is never done. There’s always something that your classroom needs, and more importantly something that your students need.
So I’m not exaggerating when I came across this ‘news’ segment from KUSA9’s Sunday Morning News Team out of Denver, Colorado, I immediately got so angry I wanted to punch something. Their segment was called, “Seriously?” and it was a sarcastic attempt to question the logic of some of the things teachers have on school supply lists.
“Why do preschoolers need coffee filters, for crying out loud?” Because coffee filter art by four-year-olds is about the cutest damn thing on the planet, that’s why, and the $1.50 ‘allowance’ teachers are given for supplies for the year just doesn’t cut it.
And why do students need 100 pencils? Because pencils disappear at an average rate of oh, three a day, and when you figure that there are typically 180 days in a school year? That still leaves the teacher picking up the tab for 440 more per student just so they can write their flipping name. Why should they be pre-sharpened? Because it takes the average second-grader nine-hundred and seven minutes to get one pencil sharpened in the archaic pencil eaters that classrooms still claim are sharpeners, unless the classroom teacher was lucky enough to get one of those fancy schmancy electric sharpeners from a student for an ‘end-of-year’ gift. Then, it only takes about four-hundred and two — that is until the sharpener breaks the third week of school.
Obviously, I’m using a bit of hyberbole. But seriously?
Anchor Steve Stager responded to the nearly thousand unhappy commenters saying that the piece was not meant to demean teachers, but just address the specificity of the lists students get. He even told the hordes in the outraged thread that his mother and girlfriend were teachers, so he was well aware of the out-of-pocket costs that teachers put into classrooms and students.
It wasn’t enough, though…until he talked to his mother, who told him that he clearly was in the wrong and had some explaining to do.
Which is exactly what he did in this editorial rebuttal. He shared all he’d learned in the last 24 hours about supply lists, but more, shared that he learned never to poke fun (even seemingly lighthearted and well-intended fun) at supply lists or teachers.
And I have to say that I felt like he realized that the segment went viral because it was rude, thoughtless and downright out-of-touch with the vital work teachers do every day. Watching his mother telling him that he was just wrong and needed to apologize made me giggle, but that he did it with sincerity was enough for me to believe he indeed had been taught yet again by school teachers.
Teachers make the world go around, and though the supply lists can be intimidating and exhausting, trust that they are drops in the buckets of what teachers pour into children all over this world.