Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

My daughter is a kindergarten teacher in another county in Florida. She was recently married and is entering her third year of teaching. Like many teachers she receives pay for the summer at the end of the year, all in a lump sum. If you have ever received pay for an extended time in one payment, you may be aware that it is a little more difficult to budget! Somehow the money always runs out before the month so this time of year, teachers are often short on cash... and it's difficult to open a new classroom without a little cash. It is not unusual for teachers to spend $200-$400 getting ready for the new year out of their own pockets. Sometimes it's about a new theme or a new grade level and other times it's just sprucing up, but even for the thrifty teacher, opening can be a financial burden. Some years teachers receive a check the first week of school for $50-$125 for just that purpose, but so far this year, I haven't heard a word. Regardless, school will be opening. My daughter called just to tell me about her planning and she happened to mention that her team was going out to lunch all week but she had told them that she would only be able to go on Thursday. She was bringing her lunch each of the other days to save money, vowing to try to plan better next summer. Her story is not that different from many teachers who have been hit by the economy, whose husbands have lost jobs or been cut back, who have had babies and extra expenses, or who just spent a little more because it was summer. Don't get me wrong. Every one of them is grateful to have a job, but this is often a stressful time for many teachers for many reasons.

With that on my mind, I received an email from a young teacher at a school across town. She said that her school was using the same theme, Superheroes, that my school had used last year and she wondered if we might have any things that we might be discarding that they might use. She mentioned the hardship on many of the young teachers at her school who so wanted to provide a fresh and exciting environment but who were strapped for the extra cash to make it happen. My thoughts went directly to my daughter... I sent out an e-mail to my kindergarten and first grade teammates asking if they had any personal theme supplies, if they could drop them in a box in front of my door. Some of the teachers had already been contacted by other teachers and had gathered and delivered their theme-related extras, but not surprisingly, the box filled quickly. About 6:00 tonight the teacher, whom I had never met, came all the way across town after her own long day at work to pick up the supplies. She was very grateful... and very young.

I am just so very thankful to work at a school where teachers didn't think twice about giving. We do it all the time amongst ourselves. We have teachers in our building who are stretched this time of year too, but it just makes me feel good to know that the people I work with would give so generously without ever asking for anything in return, without even knowing this teacher. I am indeed blessed to work in this building...


Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

It was our pleasure -- we came across some superhero aprons and were more than happy to send them to a new home. MM :)

Suzanne said...

We do work in the best school ever. Our teachers are full of compassion and give generously. Kudos to the team!