HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — For many teachers, preparing for the school year ahead is one of the most daunting tasks they'll face.
Alongside lesson planning and dusting off the shelves, classroom inventory often falls on their lap - and wallet. It can be an expensive time, even with the small allowance provided by school districts.
However, the social media movement #ClearTheLists is helping teachers get the supplies they need.
Teachers are encouraged to post their Amazon wish lists on social media. They fill it will items they want and need for their classroom, and anybody can purchase and donate to it.
Holly Mueller, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Bauer Elementary isn't used to asking for classroom favors.
"It's awkward," she said.
However, when the movement started picking up momentum in a local Facebook group, she decided to throw her list into the mix.
"I was like, they’re asking for it, I should post it, and it does feel awkward, but I also know that it’s not about me. It's about my students," she explained.
Mueller, like many others, got a successful response, with nearly $200 worth of items being crossed of her list. Items include baby dolls, a cash register, water beads and more.
"It’s a tangible item, but what it means is so far beyond that," she said.
When purchasing the item, which can be done credited or anonymously, Amazon gives buyers the chance to leave a note for the receiver. This has provided many with the opportunity to thank the teachers for what they do.
"I received a message yesterday from a former parent who reached out to me and bought something off the wish list. She wrote back and told me her son had never felt more empowered than when he was in my classroom and that’s why I do it for the kids," Mueller said.
However, the teacher added that the most important thing the movement does is provide children with the necessary tools for educational success.
"We learn through play, and there’s so much discovery that happens through play, so those materials are essential for students," she explained.
The movement has sparked a cycle of giving, as Mueller used some of the spared money in her account to buy products for other teachers off of their lists.
"I have a happy heart as I head into [the school year] knowing that some of these items I don’t have to worry about and can have them for my students," Mueller said.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.