BRANDON, Fla. -
In less than a month, kids all around the bay area will be loading up supplies and heading back to school.
Before that first school bell rings, teachers need supplies to make their classrooms a better place to learn. A small store in Brandon is hoping to help get teachers prepared.
Teachers’ Helper is a small store that caters to teachers. The store is owned by Shearon Bailey, a former elementary school teacher.
She bought the store eight years ago from its previous owner. “I taught school for 17 years and so I’ve been on both sides of the counter, I know exactly how the teachers feel, what they need and when they need it,” Bailey said.
BJ McChesney and Michelle Ho are both teachers at Bayshore Christian School. They were visiting the store Tuesday shopping for supplies to make their classroom ready when kids come back from summer vacation.
“I like my room to be very colorful, and I like it to be meaningful, so I need places like this to come in and get ideas,” McChesney told us.
“It’s just nice to come in a place that’s made just for teachers. Where we can come in and tell the person, ‘Hey, this is what I’m looking for,’ and they know exactly what you’re talking about,” Ho said.
According to Hillsborough County Schools, each teacher will get around $170 to spend on supplies for their classrooms, but most of the teachers we talked to in here say they spend around $700 on supplies.
So if you do the math that means most teachers will be spending over $500 out of pocket.
“If you want to do your very, very best for your class, you have to be willing to make that sacrifice to spend a little of your own money -- sometimes a lot of your own money -- to meet the needs of those kids,” Michelle Ho said.
Ho and McChesney say that money will go on small things like pencils, lesson plans, glue, borders, and more, in hopes of making a big impact on the children they teach. “You end up spending more than you probably should, sometimes more than you make but that’s ok,” McChesney told as while laughing.
Students in Polk and Pasco Counties will go back to school on August 19, while Pinellas and Hillsborough students will report on August 20.
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