Teacher Shares Powerful Lesson For Parents Buying School Supplies

A teacher was wandering the school supplies aisle of Walmart in preparation of the upcoming year when parents stopped him to complain about the supply lists. One even said, "This is just ridiculous." Then as he went to pay another dad addressed him - but this time it was a little different. What he took away from the experience is powerful…


Leland Michael, a public school teacher from Iowa, was in the Walmart school section when two sets of parents stopped him to complain about the number of supplies they had to purchase for their kids. After completing his shopping, he walked to the register where another man also had something to say to the teacher.

But this time things ‘took a very different turn’ – and what Leland observed has since gone viral for all of the right reasons…

Flickr/Random Retail

As soon as Leland got home that day, he took to Facebook to share what happened inside that Walmart and how he was inspired by one person in particular.

He wrote:

“I was feeling pretty jaded this morning as two different sets of parents at Walmart stopped me in the school supplies aisle to complain about how much they had to get their kids this year.

‘This is just ridiculous. I don’t know how these teachers think we are supposed to get all this stuff.’

As they complained, they seemed to be oblivious to the fact that my cart was filled with a class set of all the supplies they were buying–which should have been a pretty clear indication that I was one of those greedy teachers they were complaining about.”

Facebook/Leland Michaels

“While I was checking out, though, things took a very different turn. I noticed the man in front of me in the checkout lane was buying school supplies for his daughter.

As he went to leave, he said to me, ‘You are a teacher, right? I just want to thank you for everything you do. I see your cart is full with supplies, and I just wanted to help out as much as I can.’

Then he handed me a $25 Wal-Mart gift card, shook my hand, and walked away with his daughter smiling big at me.

While I was extremely moved by the man’s generosity, the part that stuck with me the most was the difference in his message to his daughter compared with the parents who had been complaining earlier.

The kids who heard their parents complaining heard this message: ‘School is not important enough to spend money on it, teachers are not to be trusted and have bad judgement, and learning does not require investment.’

The kid whose dad handed me the gift card heard: ‘School is important enough that we should give more than required to make sure it is successful, teachers should be respected and valued, and learning requires us giving it everything we have.’

If money is tight, and you struggle to buy your child school supplies, I understand. Don’t worry: more than likely your child will have a teacher and a school that makes sure they have the supplies they need to be successful this year. However, as a parent, do your best to send the right message to your child.

The man who gave me the gift card not only made my day, but I also know that his daughter will enter the classroom this year with a very different perspective about her teacher and her education, and that is extremely powerful!”

Facebook/Leland Michael

Since Leland posted his story on Facebook it’s gone viral, being shared more than 400,000 times. In addition, he’s received many heartfelt comments that agree with his powerful message.

People all over the country certainly have strong opinions when it comes to the topic of school supplies. But no matter how much you can afford to provide, we can all agree that education is of paramount importance, which is why we need to be good examples when it comes to it.