A chance to be Santa’s helper: #ClearTheList movement-holiday edition

by Josie Fox josie@thecherokeean.com

With the holiday season fast approaching, many are getting the opportunity to play Santa’s helper to area teachers through the #ClearTheList movement, holiday edition.

During the final months of summer this year, a public Facebook called ‘Teacher Amazon Gifting’ which quickly went viral and lead to the creation of a Facebook public group titled ‘Support A Teacher-Teacher Gifting’ which allows teachers to post their Amazon Wishlists. The groups expanded, and tens of thousands of educators began participating in the event, all thanks to the insight of Courtney Jones, who has been teaching in Texas since 2017.

“I wanted to give teachers a platform to support each other in ways that would transform their classrooms,” Jones said during an interview in August. “With the lack of appropriate funding in our country for teachers and schools in general, I decided to take it into my own hands to change the way we valued our teachers, schools, and students. Every teacher I know is selfless and is constantly pouring themselves into their work and often times the teacher is the last person to be praised with the rise in high stakes testing and a lack of funding.” This movement is critical to raising awareness for public education funding in the United States,” said Jones. “Teachers reach into their own pockets, oftentimes spending thousands a year, to support our students’ learning. “With this movement, we are transforming classrooms by teachers banding together and supporting each other. With the help of donors and corporations, we will be able to harness national attention and influence the education budgets in the U.S.”

Many teachers within Cherokee County benefited from this movement during the summer months and were able to receive some big ticket items for their classrooms. The hope is that the holiday edition will garner the same publicity and provide an opportunity for both the community and fellow teachers to help one another.

Ashley Clayton Oliver recently posted a message on Facebook that stated “As with any school, there are always needs outside of basic curriculum that are crucial to the success of our teachers and students in the classroom. One way to help meet those needs is through Amazon! In August, teachers created individual wish lists for their classrooms and thanks to YOU, so many wish lists were fulfilled. RUSK ISD teachers are so incredibly thankful for the generosity and support of our school community. With this in mind, and with the Christmas season upon us, Santa’s not the only one with a holiday list! The simple practice of sharing Amazon wish lists on social media has turned into a full-on nationwide movement of teachers giving and receiving. I see many teachers give way more than they receive from the sheer joy of giving, which just goes to show a teacher’s heart! So, this holiday season, let’s remind teachers they're worth being celebrated and gift your child’s teacher with the perfect present from their Amazon Wishlist!. YOU can help by joining the #ClearTheList (Christmas Edition) movement!”

Oliver encouraged teachers from Rusk ISD to post links to their Amazon wishlists, to which Heather Beck replied “I hate to even post asking for more stuff because I was so totally blessed over the summer by all these generous souls! I have been steadily adding things since school started and have been buying off my own list a little at a time. I appreciate any donations from my list and promise to use them well in my Art room!”

“The outpouring of love and support by the community helping to clear the lists has been amazing. I was so blessed to receive the items on my list, and my students have been blessed as well,” said Niki Acker, 3rd-grade ELAR Teacher in Rusk.

Links to area teacher’s Amazon Wish Lists can be found on the Cherokeean’s Facebook page. The post will remain pinned at the top of the page through December.