Education spotlight

When the statewide Facebook group “Teacher 2 Teacher Blessing” started about a month ago, three teachers in the Frankfort Independent Schools system came up with the idea of starting a local group.

Just a week after starting their Facebook group, Sabrina Mouser, Julia Harmon-Yocum and Emily Grimes have seen “Community Blessings for Teachers” grow to more than 700 members.

“I talked with Sabrina and Emily,” said Harmon-Yocum, an art teacher at Frankfort High. “Why can’t we do this for local people?

“By the end of the day Emily and Sabrina pulled together a Facebook page. Going into the third day we had over 600 members. It’s been really cool to see.”

Members of the Facebook group post a list of their wishes, and people buy items from the list to bless the teachers, and in many cases the students they teach.

“You can ask for school things that you can use for teaching, or you can ask for personal items like a face mask or bath bomb, something to help you relax,” said Stephanie Wallace, the band director at Western Hills. “It’s about mental health as well.”

“Community Blessings for Teachers” is open to all teachers in Frankfort, from both public and private schools. It’s also open to teachers from child care/day care facilities, as well as student support staff such as instructional aides and IT/digital learning staff.

“It’s a total community effort, and we’ve invited parents and stakeholders,” Mouser said. “The three of us wanted to make sure everyone was represented.

“It includes cafeteria workers, bus drivers, janitors, everyone who’s had a hand in our kiddos’ education, plus parents and stakeholders. We want every group so we can have total community involvement.”

Most of the items on the lists range from $5 to $20, and in addition to blessing one another with purchases, teachers are also sharing information.

“Sabrina and I teach special education at Frankfort High, and we don’t get a lot of chances to engage with other special education teachers in the community,” Grimes said. “You can see what other teachers have on their lists and ask how they’re going to use it in their classrooms.”

“You can go look at the lists,” Harmon-Yocum said. “There are a lot of books, a lot of things teachers want that will make their classrooms better, a lot of supplies, a lot of face masks, some personal items.

“I put an essential oil diffuser and oils on my list, and a parent decided to get that for me. What makes your heart happy is you get to see a lot of blessings, and it happens all through the county.

“There was one Good Shepherd teacher, and a parent bought everything on her list.”

Educators haven’t been able to teach in person since schools closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the group has given them a chance to interact.

“I didn’t think March 13 would be the last time I’d see my kids,” Wallace said. “I think the first couple of months during the quarantine I dealt with some depression. I missed seeing my students, and I missed seeing the rest of the staff. With this Facebook page we can do nice things for each other.”

Grimes sees that as a way the group can continue.

“I’d love for this to last for awhile,” she said of the group. “I’d like to see it used as a pick-me-up for each other. You could put on the page if you had a bad day, or someone could post ‘who needs a pick-me-up?’”

Right now, teachers are making their wish lists with the pandemic still around, and they have no idea what school will look like when it starts in the fall.

“In all this chaos, this group is a nice little bit of kindness,” Wallace said.

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