The idea of forming The Teacher’s Community Lounge came from a group chat I had with a few friends and colleagues who also work in education. We were decompressing about the work week by sharing experiences we had at each of our schools. The comment was made — “I will meet you in the Teacher’s Lounge.” Everyone in education knows about the “Teacher’s Lounge,” a place of work, collaboration, breaks, laughs…you know the equivalent to any workplace break room but full of educational stories. We laughed and joked about what we would offer if we had such a place.
Our conversation laid heavily on my heart! I began to think about the dedication, positive impact, passion shown, time and commitment. Not to mention, the demands and work stress educators experience on a regular basis. I also considered how educators use their own financial resources to purchase educational materials and decorations for their classrooms and workspaces. When I speak of educators, I am referring to anyone in the school who takes part in the commitment to educate our students academically and in their social-emotional development. I wondered if having a place where educators could, plan, relax and collaborate would serve as a healthy outlet in efforts to provide a healthy atmosphere for mentally unloading and refueling.
I desired to show educators they are valued, and how the community can offer support. After all, educators are instrumental in paving the way for all other careers. The consensus was to move forward with providing educators with school supplies for their classrooms on a semi-annual basis, in addition to providing a working and learning space. Educators typically spend about $250 to $650 a year or more depending on the population of their own money on school supplies, resources and for decor in their classroom (U.S. Department of Education, 2018; Will, 2018). The recent changes in tax laws only allow educators to receive a return of $250 which for some is not even half of what is being spent.
As a School Counselor, I had found myself spending the majority of my time on leadership and advocacy for all students. As counselors, we work to ensure students can achieve academic success by removing systemic barriers. We often connect our students and families to referrals within the community for various resources. Through our work with TCL, we want to be able to also support the families in our community by providing school supplies, tutoring, and counseling. This is a need that would help students meet their academic goals.
It was from a conversation with friends, being observers of educators’ work, partaking in a schools’ missions, working with children and in collaboration for children that TCL’s mission was derived. The mission is to provide a stress-free space away from the schoolhouse where educators can collaborate, plan, and relax. It is also our goal to serve as a community resource providing low-income families with educational and therapeutic resources to cultivate productive members of society.
The mission and vision of TCL became a reality in 2017. It was not the way I honestly planned for the vision to unfold, but I understood a higher power has a greater plan! The Teacher’s Community Lounge, Inc. a 501(c)(3) ready to unpack our strategic plan with a commitment to serve educators and families!
We are ready to serve our community! Are you ready to join us?
U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Public school teacher spending on classroom supplies (NCES 2018-097). Retrieved July 16, 2018 from https://nces.ed.gov/pubSearch/
Will, M. (2018, May 15). The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show. Education Week. Retrieved July 15, 2018 from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/15/the-average-teacher-spends-479-a-year.html