This week I experienced one of the most surreal experiences as an educator. This experience was not in my classroom, but in the school supply aisle in Target. As I was there getting some pencils and index cards, I overheard a woman ranting and raving over her child’s school supply list. What was she so upset about? That the school had a box of Kleenex as one of the required supplies. According to her, if it were something her child would not personally use, it shouldn’t be purchased by individual parents, but by the classroom teacher. I didn’t know this woman, but I politely introduced myself to her and explained to her why I, as a teacher, ask for Kleenex on my supply list. Her response: “Buy that s**t yourself and don’t use my hard earned money, you lefty communist teacher.” She walked away, and I walked away in tears. Of course, like any other stressful situations, I figured out what to say after the fact.
Dear Target School Supply Mom,
My name is Meghan Loyd, and I am the school teacher you berated: “Buy that s**t yourself and don't use my hard money, you lefty communist teacher.” Engaging you in the school supply aisle wouldn’t have been the appropriate thing do, but I hope if you were to hear what I have to say, maybe it could change your mind. First all, I don’t know you or your financial situation; it is none of my business, but please don’t assume you know me and my financial situation. My money is hard earned too. I have rent, car payments, health care expenses, utilities, and fur babies to care for; yes, I buy some supplies for my classroom, but if I tried to buy all of my school supplies myself, it would provide a huge strain to my budget.
I understand times are hard, and many families are struggling. I’m sure if that is the case for your family, and you can’t afford some of the community supplies on your child’s list, if you talked to that teacher, they could work something out for you. However, taking into consideration your response toward me, that isn’t the case. Teachers across this state are being asked to do more with less. When we ask for a box of Kleenex on our supply list, it is not because we are too lazy to buy them ourselves; it is because we know if we did, we would be out of Kleenex by October.
I wish we lived in a place where education was of the highest value. I wish we as educators didn’t have to ask for supplies and all of our supplies just so happened to be provided for us. However, that is not the case, and we need your help sometimes. If it is too much, please talk to your child’s teacher directly; please don’t bad mouth all teachers in the aisle of a Target.
If you want to help, here is what you can do: don’t buy just one Kleenex box, buy two. Buy extra pens and pencils your child’s teacher can use for their whole class. Or, maybe you just purchase an extra supply set for a child in need. Those are things we need--what we don’t need are haters in the back-to-school aisle.