Many of you know that, in my life before becoming a mom, I was a classroom teacher. My very first teaching job was a fifth grade class in New Hampshire and while I absolutely LOVED my kids (and am still friends with some of the parents from that year!) that first year of teaching was ROUGH.
I was hired less than a week before school started and my portable classroom was being used to house the summer daycare program since it was one of the few rooms with AC. I couldn’t get into the room to start getting it set up until about three days before school actually started. This wasn’t as big a problem as you would think because I hardly had any supplies to set up! The district was on the tightest budget I think I’ve ever seen and as a first year teacher, I wasn’t bringing much to the room supply-wise either.
I felt soooo bad for the kids. I hit my local tag sales and resale shops and picked up as many board games as I could find to help fill my shelves for those indoor recess days. I went to the local teacher store and spent waaaay too much of my money on posters and other educational decorations. But the one thing that just wasn’t in my budget and that I knew the kids really needed was books. I was able to pick up a few at a local salvage store, but my library was just sad. Over time, I was able to build it up through taking advantage of the perks Scholastic book clubs offer and gifts from parents. I wound up spending a lot of my own money that year, but luckily I was single and in the financial position to do it.
When Toyota approached me about finding a way to support a local teacher through the gift of books to celebrate National Read a Book Day, I immediately jumped on board. I knew just the teacher who could use Toyota’s support too! Many of you know Ann from My Milwaukee Mommy. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that she is also a teacher. Just like me, she left the classroom when her oldest was born around the same time I did. This summer, Ann accepted a position teaching 6th grade ELA (English Language Arts) at her daughter’s middle school.
Going from teaching elementary school to middle school is kind of like starting over completely. Ann didn’t have any books in her classroom, and that’s not great when you are an ELA teacher! She did put together a Donor’s Choose campaign to help build up her library and I used that as my guide to pick out books for her classroom.
Toyota generously provided me with a gift card to shop for Ann’s library and an awesome Highlander Hybrid to transport the books to her. (As a side note, I’ve kind of developed a crush on this vehicle – check out why in my review.)
We printed out Ann’s wish list and then Josh and I hit our local Half Price Books to make sure we got as many books for Ann as we could with our budget.
Ann was so thrilled to receive the books for her classroom library, you’d have thought we were bring her something just for HER. (That’s the sign of an awesome teacher BTW – when they get as excited about things for their students as they do for things for themselves.)
Ann, I’m so glad these kids have you in their school! You are going to make a huge difference in their lives and in their education! Toyota, thank you SO MUCH for allowing me to brighten another teacher’s day and bring the gift of reading to the kids in her class!
If you would like to make a contribution to help Ann build a class library, you can find her Donor’s Choose campaign here.
Toyota provided me with funds to purchase books for Ann and a vehicle to use for drop off. All opinions are my own.