Art teacher Becca Hanson has a yearly budget of $400. That might sound like a lot, but in reality it only covers the cost of paper. Last year, she spent $1000 out of her own pocket. “In the art room supplies are everything…I don’t think we could have an art class without all the materials that I buy,” Becca said.
This year looks a little different, thanks to generous donors on AdoptAClassroom.org. Becca registered for an account and started sharing her story, both on social media and in-person. From there, it was easy, “Once people hear how amazing these kids are they really just love to help out in any way they can.”
Becca teaches at LIFE Prep in East St. Paul, where about 85% of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch. In her previous teaching position, she worked at a private school with virtually unlimited resources. “That was an amazing opportunity to teach in, but at the same time coming here I have found so much more heart, so much more courage and strength in the children.”
Small things make a big difference
With her first donation, Becca bought a class set of clipboards. She explained that the clipboards helped her students create art while moving, whether outside or around the classroom. “I’ve seen a big change in what they’re able to make because they feel more free and open. A small thing like clipboards makes a big difference,” she said.
For Becca, the atmosphere in an art room is important. “I love art because when I was younger I didn’t have a way to express myself and through art I found a lot of opportunities and I found a lot of friends.” Clipboards and other supplies help to recreate this experience for her students, “We play music, we dance” she says of her classroom. “When we’re making things it’s about expression and finding out more about ourselves.”
No matter how good the intentions, this kind of creative atmosphere can’t be created with paper alone. Which is why Becca has put so much into her classroom. “My family and friends are shocked about the amount of money I spend on school supplies,” she admitted. “They can’t understand why I’m taking my own money to make my job better. But for me it’s not about making my job better, it’s about making my students better. So it really shocks them, but at the same time it’s absolutely worth it, and I would do it a thousand times again.”
Helping her students feel limitless
With her most recent classroom adoption, Becca was able to purchase clay for her classroom. “The kids are very excited about getting clay. When I told them about it they literally cheered,” she shared. “I think that clay is one of the most wonderful, tangible, beautiful things. That’s my favorite medium. So when I told them about the clay they were ecstatic and they can’t wait to get their hands in it.”
Being able to provide something as expensive as clay helps Becca to counter what she feels is the hardest part of teaching, “Feeling like I don’t have enough time or resources to do everything that I want to do is probably the hardest part [about teaching.]”
The more support she gets from family, friends, and other donors, the more Becca is able to give to her students. For her, the goal is to make every student feel limitless.
“More resources mean more opportunity for my students. They are limited in a lot of ways. They have socioeconomic limits, they have location limits, they have limits on what they are able to do in their personal lives.
But when they come into my classroom I want them to be able to feel limitless. I want them to be able to show who they are and what they can do, and with more supplies they can do that. They’re not limited. They’re limitless.”
Want to ensure Becca’s students stay limitless? Adopt her classroom today.
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