It’s no secret that many teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies each year.

#clearthelists is a call to action to directly address this issue. Teachers are creating their own unique classroom lists – usually through Amazon – and relying on the kindness and generosity of strangers to help them fulfill their classroom supply needs.

The growth and popularity of #clearthelists is fueled by exciting messages like this:

If you have a social media account, I encourage you to check out the hashtag #clearthelists. It’s trending, and some people are starting to call it a movement.

How To Create Your Own List

If you are a teacher, it’s fairly simple to create your own list – just follow the steps below!

  1. Log in to your amazon account
  2. Hover over account and list, and click create list
  3. Fill out the Create List Options
    • List is for you
    • It’s a wish list
    • It’s public
    • Call it what you want
  4. Find an item you want to add to your list
  5. Under the buy box, click Add to List and choose your Wish List
  6. After you are done adding items to your list, click View List
  7. Then, click Send List to Others
  8. Click View Only
  9. Send the list through a link or through email

A Critical Look

While clearing lists can provide a short term benefit for teachers and their students, I believe it is important to look at the impact of movements like #clearthelists.

First – this feels like an advertisement. While school supplies need to be bought every year, every single list I’ve seen this year is through Amazon. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it is important to recognize.

Second – this is a short term solution to a constant problem. Many schools are beset with perpetual funding problems. While clearing a list will help this year, it doesn’t actually solve the problem. It’s like a bandaid for a cut that seems to reopen about the same time every year.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have a question about responsibility. Whose responsibility is it to provide classroom supplies? I think most of us can agree it’s not the teacher’s – yet many teachers still take on that extra financial obligation. It can be just as easily argued that purchasing classroom supplies is not the responsibility of generous strangers. I would assert that, depending on your personal views on taxation, the responsibility to purchase supplies should fall somewhere on the spectrum between the family and the school district. Yet, here we are, at the start of another school year, asking one another to save a teacher some money by attempting to #clearthelists.

Last Thoughts

When positive momentum towards teachers shows up like this, I believe it’s important to use it. If you need resources, make a list, and see if you can get the supplies you need for your students!

But don’t stop there – ask your donors and others within your circle of influence to support education year round. Ask them to vote for pro-education policies and candidates. Ask them to write their representative about the importance of increasing funding for your school.

After all, it feels good to give – but it would feel much better if school funding was a given.

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