Contrary to the popular opinion of young students, teachers do exist outside their classroom walls. Everyone who attended McTeacher Night on Tuesday had proof educators lead double lives.
“They think we live at school,” said Andrea Baker, a first-grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary School. “So when they see us out, they love it.”
There was no shortage of warm greetings and hugs as students and their parents piled into local McDonald’s restaurants to have dinner and help raise funds for much-needed supplies. Teachers from area schools volunteered to work shifts between 5 and 8 p.m. and performed a variety of tasks, such as wiping down tables, sweeping and refilling drinks. The school represented at each restaurant will receive 30 percent of the sales earned during the three hours of McTeacher Night.
“We go through so much paper everyday and there’s so many things that we need to keep our classrooms running and this money is going to be very helpful in supporting our needs,” said Shannon Suttle, who teaches kindergarten at Woodland Elementary School.
Keeping a watchful eye on the supply of ketchup, drink lids, straws and napkins is something Suttle is all too familiar with. She was a McDonald’s employee during her college years and says McTeacher Night helped revive some of those fast food memories.
The money collected at the McDonald’s at 1710 W. Market St. will be divided among Woodland teachers so they can purchase books and any educational items that may help improve learning in the classroom. Last year, each teacher was given between $50 and $60. Cherokee Elementary will be given money raised at the West Walnut Street location. Principal Mary Nell McIntyre says they’ll put it into a larger “Change for Cherokee” fund that will help the school make supply and technology purchases. North Side and South Side elementary schools also held McTeacher Nights at locations on North Roan Street and East Main Street.
“The affordablity of this fundraiser is nice,” McIntrye said. “It’s a treat for them, but still good for bigger families.”
While the Woodland students munched on french fries, they watched their teachers wipe tables in their special McTeacher aprons. Though they wipe desks off all the time, their students had never seen them cleaning up after someone finished their hamburger.
“It feels weird and awesome at the same time,” said fifth-grader Karson Richmond.
With long lines, limited seating and hungry children, the parents were brave enough to enter the home of the golden arches all in the name of helping the school and the teachers, who had already been through a long workday.
“It’s great to see them here willing to raise money for Cherokee,” said Becky Chisam, whose daughter Miranda is in second grade at Cherokee. “They’re really into what they do and they really care for the students and the school.”
But after a day of teaching, a shift at McDonald’s could be a piece of cake.
“It’s not difficult, it’s fun,” Sutter said.
“I’ve never waited a table,” said Meghan Kidd, a kindergarten teacher at Cherokee. “It’s just fun to talk to the kids and greet them. We really just do it for them.”