TYLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A teacher in Tyler County has a creative solution for teachers who often spend a lot of their own money on classroom supplies. The Federal Department of Education states that 94 percent of public school teachers pay for their own classroom supplies and are not reimbursed.
“By nature, we’re selfless. we give everything to everyone: our kids, our families, and I wanted us to have some sort of platform where we could give back to each other,” elementary teacher Courtney Jones said.
For Jones, a third-year teacher, that platform was a Facebook group. The Teacher Amazon Gifting page offers a space for teachers to share Amazon wish lists of supplies they may need.
“Teachers choose a wishlist to look at, choose an item to send another teacher that we’ve never even met just based off of the list and the story that they post," said Jenifer Cosper, a teacher from San Antonio. "Then once you gift somebody, someone in return will gift you.”
On average, teachers can spend up to $1,000 of their own money on supplies. Through giving, teachers can help each other offset the cost. However, it’s not just for classroom supplies like pencils and markers.
“Those are the obvious things, but I want people to put research books, resources so you can provide your kids literary centers or math centers,” Jones said.
The group is growing fast. From the time the page was created on July 1st, more than 20,000 members have joined, some even out of state.
“It’s spider-webbing across the nation," Jones said. "We have teachers in California to New York, North Dakota to Texas.”
“I’ve had personally, like the last week, I’ve had things show up," Cosper said. "Multiple things every day from random people that see your list and think about cool ideas that you’re trying to do and how they can use them in their room too.”
Those wanting to join the group or simply donate to a teacher can go to the Teacher Amazon Gifting Facebook page.