By Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing teachers posting pictures of their classrooms on Facebook, saying, “My classroom’s ready!” That takes me right back to my childhood, helping my mom prepare her classroom for the students in the waning days of August.
My mom taught second and third grade at Valley Cottage Elementary School. And I remember her ritual of using the days before Labor Day to ready her classroom for her students.
Of course, preparing the classroom — even back then — meant spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of her own pocket on supplies — just as her colleagues did and teachers do today.
When I was a kid, we were lucky to have a laundry room that housed the washer and dryer, of course, but also served as my mom’s office, filled with all the supplies she bought for her class. It was a treasure trove of books and paper and pens. ...