All parents can attest to how expensive school supplies are. Notebooks, dividers, Kleenex, markers, and the plethora of other supplies on that dreaded list can cost parents upward of $100, according to the Today show.
While school supplies can set families back, how parents frame buying stuff for school matters. Leland Michael, a math teacher at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, IA, made that very important point in a viral Facebook post.
She purchased a class set of supplies at Walmart on August 20. While shopping, Michael encountered several parents who complained about the cost of the supplies.
"I was feeling pretty jaded this morning as two different sets of parents at Walmart stopped me in the school supplies aisle to complain about how much they had to get their kids this year," Michael wrote in the post. "'This is just ridiculous, I don't know how these teachers think we are supposed to get all this stuff.'"
One parent, however, had a different response that improved the teacher's mood. He gave Michael a $25 Walmart gift card to help her buy her cart full of school supplies. Most importantly, the stranger gave his daughter, who witnessed the exchange, a different perspective on school.
"The kids who heard their parents complaining heard this message: 'School is not important enough to spend money on it, teachers are not to be trusted and have bad judgement, and learning does not require investment,'" Michael pointed out. "The kid [whose] dad handed me the gift card heard, 'School is important enough that we should give more than required to make sure it is successful, teachers should be respected and valued, and learning requires us giving it everything we have.'"
According to Michael, helping kids value school is what it's all about.
"The man you gave me the gift card not only made my day, but I know that his daughter will enter the classroom this year with a very different perspective about her teacher and her education," she wrote. "And that is extremely powerful!"