Here’s some good news for a change — and you can be a big part of it. One elementary school teacher in Texas, Courtney Jones, created a social media campaign, #ClearTheLists, to help teachers across the U.S. obtain school supplies that consistently go uncovered by their school districts. Did you know that teachers spend a whopping average of $479 out of pocket on classroom supplies each year? That’s data from the National Center of Education Statistics, reported by the New York Post — and we’re honestly flabbergasted. Who can come up with nearly $500 — especially on a teacher’s salary?
That’s where we all come in. Here’s how #ClearTheLists works: Jones created the campaign under a different name in July 2019, Teacher Amazon Gifting, on Facebook. She posted a video explaining how it works on YouTube: “What it is is a bunch of teachers who originally got together to support other teachers by gifting each other things off of our Amazon wish lists,” Jones is heard saying in the video.
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The movement exploded. Jones said the social media following skyrocketed from 1,000 people to 25,000. You can find out more in the YouTube video, below:
The best part? Teachers are receiving things off their wish lists beyond the basics of crayons and rulers. Age-appropriate books, flexible seating for kids, you name it — if it’s on Amazon and could help in a classroom, it’s probably on some teacher’s wish list.
How does it work? Any teacher you know can quickly set up an Amazon wish list, then share the link (or have you share it, if they’re shy about that stuff) through social media accounts Jones already has in place. Jones has made things easier by creating regional Facebook groups for the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, as well as a Professional Learning Community Group.
The campaign has caught the attention of numerous celebs, including a Kardashian. “We’ve had a lot of publicity lately — Khloe Kardashian picked it up. She has kind of endorsed it, as well as Jeffree Star, a big media mogul guy,” Jones explained to Virginia news station WHSV. Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted that he’s involved in the campaign too, having sent items to a teacher who’s battling cancer and struggling with finances.
All right, gorgeous followers. I just purchased the first TEN items on this teacher's classroom supply wishlist. She's fighting cancer and she can't afford supplies. Why not swarm the link below and help her out? SWARM IT MY LOVE-GOBLINS! #clearthelists https://t.co/XyOUURncHP
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 12, 2019
Help a Teacher posted on Twitter a reminder that every little bit helps teachers in the U.S., where funding for schools is so low:
Everyone of us can help a teacher. Maybe you can’t clear a list but you can send one item. It matters! It shows a teacher that someone cares and supports them. Send a package of pencils. Show your support! ❤️#peoplehelpingpeople!#helpateacher #education #teachers #clearthelist
— Help A Teacher (@HelpATeacher) August 7, 2019
Sherman, Texas, elementary school teacher Melody Kimbrell told KXII-TV her life has been changed by the campaign. “Every day I race home to see what’s at my door, and I know I shouldn’t, but I’m just so excited for my students.” Still, Kimbrell insisted to the outlet money is not what’s it’s about for her.
“It’s just about loving one another,” she said. She added that she’s been looking to buy supplies especially for teachers who have been impacted by the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, “…the ones who have had the traumatic incidents lately that needed the extra love and support.”
And you can feel the love and support online. Instagram is flooded with posts of thanks that are downright heartwarming, especially in this cold political climate:
We’re not crying either. It’s a VERY DUSTY AUGUST, Y’ALL. Anyhoo, don’t forget, teachers can always use Kleenex, too. What are you waiting for? Go search for some teachers in need of list-clearing… and clear away? How often do you get to feel like Oprah… or a Bachelorette, amirite?