According to a study by the NSSEA (National School Supply and Equipment Association), teachers spend an average of $462 out-of-pocket annually, on school supplies. This is why School Family Media teamed up with Bounty to launch TeacherWishList.com - a virtual teacher wishlist that makes it easier for teachers to get the supplies they need into their classrooms. LoveToKnow Kids recently had the privilege of talking to Tim Sullivan, President of School Family Media, to discuss more about what TeacherWishlist.com can do for teachers and ultimately for kids.
LoveToKnow (LTK): Why create an online wishlist? Don't teachers typically just send a wishlist to parents with the school supply list?
Tim Sullivan (TS): A classroom wishlist is not a new idea - teachers have been doing this for years. In fact, 89% of teachers say they send out wishlists each year, and most teachers still spend approximately $500 out-of-pocket on basic classroom expenses. All we have done is streamlined the process to make it easier. We want teachers to be able to create their wishlists, parents to be to access those wishlists, and kids to get access to the supplies they need. The end goal is for teachers to have to spend less time on other tasks that take away from teaching. Our hope is to make this one part of the process easier, so that teachers can get back to teacher our students.
LTK: Do you see this as vital to a successful classroom?
TS: The thing is, teaching is the only profession that I know of, where teachers have to show up with their own supplies. In most professions, you show up to work and have access to the basic necessities like staplers, pencils and pens, tissue. Teachers, on the other hand, have to supply most of those things themselves. There is not typically a 'general supply room' where they can go and stock their desks.
What we're doing, by having people work with teachers online, is we're alleviating the need for teachers to go out and shop for those basic necessities themselves.
LTK: What are the typical things a parent might find on their child's teacher's list?
TS: The thing is - none of this stuff is that expensive. Teachers typically aren't asking for things that will break the bank. They are asking for basics, such that if we all pitch in, it's very affordable. If we share that burden with them, we can alleviate some of their stress and help them focus on teaching. Teachers mostly want the basics to keep the classroom running on a daily basis. A snapshot of a wishlist might include:
- Clear tape
- Hand sanitizer
- Colored Pencils
- Construction Paper
- Disinfecting Wipes
- Pencils and pens
LTK: Can you tell us a little about Bounty's Involvement in helping to launch the project?
TS: Bounty was absolutely instrumental in helping us launch this site. They have been extremely supportive and have offered some pretty fantastic prizes to help promote the use of TeacherWishList.com.
LTK: Can you tell us about the prizes?
TS: Sure - Bounty has generously offered one grand prize of $25,000 art room makeover. In addition, they are sponsoring weekly giveaways of $462 (the average amount a teacher in the US spends out of pocket on necessary classroom supplies per year). When a teacher submits their wishlist they are automatically entered into the weekly drawing. Winners are announced in our Weekly News section. School Family Media is very thankful to Bounty for all their support.
LTK: Can you tell us a little bit about how to use the site?
TS: The site is very easy to use. When you get to the home page, you will see two main sections - one for parents to search for their local school and one for teachers to create a wishlist. Parents input their school's zip code, and they will see a list of schools in the area and hopefully their child's teacher listed under their local school. Teachers have to register and then are led through a process of creating their wishlists.
LTK: What if they don't see their child's teacher? Is there a way to let their teacher know about the site?
TS: Actually, if a parent doesn't see his or her child's teacher, there is a link right there to send an email inviting the teacher to participate. It's really simple.
LTK: Is there a way to add a school if a parent doesn't see their local school?
TS: Actually yes, the link is on the school listing page, and we will add the school to our list on the next business day.
Help Teachers Focus on Teaching
Whether you're headed off to do some back-to-school shopping, or you've finished already, you can still participate. Help get the word out by sharing the link with other parents, teachers and staff. Before you shop for school supplies, visit TeacherWishList.com and see if your child's teacher needs anything. If you're a teacher, sign up and show the world your wishlist. By using TeachersWishList.com, teachers can get back to teaching, and parents can support their kids' schools.