Teachers spend about $500 of their own money each year on school supplies.
This is a shocking statistic to many, but for teachers, it’s just part of the job. When you have students who come to school hungry, you throw a few extra boxes of snacks into your grocery cart. Or when your classroom runs out of tissue during cold season, you make a quick stop on your way to school.
WeAreTeachers wanted to find a small way to help, so we decided to throw a “teacher shower” for one deserving educator. Think baby shower…get it? You can watch how the entire surprise unfolded here.
We know being a new teacher is actually a lot like becoming a new parent—loss of sleep, spending lots of money unexpectedly, and constantly questioning yourself. And when we heard about Dwayne Reed, we knew he was just the teacher to surprise with supplies and essentials from our friends at Quill.com.
The Journey to Becoming a Teacher
“Teaching wasn’t part of my initial plan,” Dwayne said. “I started college studying management. But then I dropped out after my first semester because it didn’t seem like the right fit. Plus I really couldn’t afford it.”
So Dwayne did the only thing he knew to do—he went to work, picking up part-time jobs here and there just to pay the bills. Then one day, he was at the public library and he decided to take a career aptitude test. He answered each question carefully, hoping to figure out what he was supposed to do with his life, and the results came back the same, time and time again. TEACHER!
Dwayne enrolled in a local community college, and slowly started working to earn his degree. Then in August, he joined the staff of LEARN Charter School in the heart of Chicago as a 5th grade teacher.
“I don’t know how to describe how tired I am,” Dwayne says about his first weeks. “There really is no tired like teacher tired.”
On the day of Dwayne’s surprise, we told him we were there to interview him about urban education. He didn’t suspect a thing as the cameras started rolling for the interview. Meanwhile, our staff waited in the hallways with dozens of boxes filled with school supplies. We also pulled in help from one of our favorite teachers from social media, Joe Dombrowski (you might recognize him from his appearances on Ellen.)
“We have an amazing amount of supplies to give Mr. Reed,” Joe said. “I’m so excited to be a part of this. I’ve been a first-year teacher, and stuff like extra pencils, Clorox wipes, glue, boxes of tissues, and even coffee are the stuff that new teachers need.”
As Joe busted into the interview yelling “SURPRISE,” Dwayne couldn’t stop smiling.
“Wait, you knew about this?” he asked when he saw his principal carrying in one of the boxes, along with WeAreTeachers staff and the representatives from Quill.com.
When it was all said and done, we filled up Dwayne’s room with tissue, pencils, dry erase markers, Clorox wipes, pencil sharpeners, coffee, and tons of other supplies. He promised to share everything with his fellow teachers and the school.
“I’m really proud of you,” Joe said in the final interview. “I know first-year teachers who look up to you, and you’re a wonderful face for education.”
Create Your Own Teacher Shower
WeAreTeachers and Quill.com know how much all teachers do for their students, and how quickly supplies run out. If you have a special teacher in your life, here’s our recommendation for putting together your own mini teacher-shower pack.
- Pencils (teachers always need more pencils)
- Flair pens (you can buy smaller packs, but we love this one with every color imaginable)
- Kleenex (because those noses won’t wipe themselves)
- Clorox wipes (because there are so many germs floating around)
- Mints (because PT conferences, coffee breath, and just incentives for your students)
You can also sign up to win one of these teacher shower packs in our current giveaway. No, you don’t have to be a first-year teacher to win. Learn more about the giveaway here.
Whether you always knew you were going to be a teacher or discovered it later in life like Dwayne, we want to recognize all the teachers out there. We know you bring supplies from home for your classroom and shell out a lot from your own pocket. Thank you.