Family, friends, and co-workers gift much-needed school supplies to new educators in teacher showers, the growing fad for newcomers in the industry.
People throw celebratory showers for new mothers and brides-to-be to help them with the daunting expenses that are associated with these life-changing events. Since it’s now well-documented just how expensive becoming a new teacher can be, why not throw them for educators as well? Teacher showers are quickly becoming a big deal, and here’s what you need to know about this growing trend.
Teacher showers work similar to others. They are thrown for individuals first making the journey into the classroom, and family, friends, and co-workers often are invited to bring much-needed classroom supplies. It’s a big win for the new educators, who are often cash-strapped from shelling out their own money to stock up their new classroom.
While many Americans are just now learning of this growing fad, teacher showers have actually been around for more than 100 years. According to reports from Education Week, these parties were actually quite popular back in the 1920s. At that time, they were known as schoolmarms.
Hosted by the new educator’s parents, the century-old version of the teacher shower was eventually prohibited by many schools. It is unknown why this came to be, but many believe it may have been because of preference. But still, the idea stuck in popularity with new educators on the down-low and was even once documented in a Dear Abby Column from 2007.
Teacher showers don’t just alleviate the stress on newcomers’ wallets, but it also provides the opportunity for them to learn valuable advice they may not get from a college course on teaching. Oftentimes, experienced educators with vast knowledge are in attendance. They are known to come bearing unusual gifts the recipient may have never known they needed for the classroom, but they also lend an ear for them to pick on how to handle difficult circumstances.
Speaking with Edweek on the topic of teacher showers, one new educator — Olivia Aston — who just began her first year teaching second grade noted how helpful it was to have those experienced in the field at her party. She was surrounded by 15 teachers whom she met from her mother, also a teacher, or through her time substituting. What’s more, she said the benefits paid off far after the party, as most of them continue to check up on her throughout the school year.
Despite all the hype over teacher showers, not everyone is keen on them. Some fear that it is normalizing the need for educators to budget their own cash for school supplies, something many are fighting for districts to fund. After all, the amount of money teachers spend each year on their own classrooms continues to rise.
One report from Adopt A Classroom suggests that the average teacher spent $750 out of pocket on classroom supplies last year, with some spending upwards of $1,000. Most schools give stipends for classroom needs, but oftentimes, the funds are minuscule. Making the matter more difficult for newcomers, many first-year teachers enter a new classroom with little to absolutely no supplies, making the appeal for teacher showers even greater.
The concept of teacher showers is catching on all across the nation. For those who understand how grueling the job can be, it is a welcoming celebration to mark a new educator’s journey. But to others, it serves as a stark reminder of the many woe’s felt throughout the industry.