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New teachers stock up on supplies for new year

Fourth-graders are big into the solar system, according to first-year teacher Hannah Harbour. Harbour, who graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in May, is beginning preparations for her fourth-grade classroom at Longfellow Elementary. Classe...

Teacher Hannah Harbour picks up supplies for her classroom at Longfellow Elementary at the New Teacher Bazaar on Monday at Mitchell High School in Mitchell. Harbour, who just graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University will be teaching fourth grade in the upcoming school year. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)
Teacher Hannah Harbour picks up supplies for her classroom at Longfellow Elementary at the New Teacher Bazaar on Monday at Mitchell High School in Mitchell. Harbour, who just graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University will be teaching fourth grade in the upcoming school year. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)

Fourth-graders are big into the solar system, according to first-year teacher Hannah Harbour.

Harbour, who graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in May, is beginning preparations for her fourth-grade classroom at Longfellow Elementary. Classes begin on Aug. 24.

And for her future fourth-graders, she was able to pick out several solar system-related items for free at the New Teacher Bazaar on Monday.

The bazaar, which took place in Mitchell Senior High from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., allowed new teachers to "shop" for free school supplies for their classroom. The event was sponsored by the Mitchell Education Association (MEA).

Carli Flemmer, an English teacher at the high school and member of MEA, described the event as a "free classroom shopping experience."

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First year teachers and teachers who had been with the Mitchell School District five years or fewer were allowed to come and pick out their supplies.

Most of the school supplies were donated from veteran teachers who wanted to help out other teachers who are just starting out, Flemmer said. Local businesses also supported the bazaar by placing donation boxes in their stores.

As Harbour walked through the room full of supplies, she kept her eye on items that were not just related to the solar system, but supplies she knows cost more.

"I was looking for games and stuff that normally would be expensive ..." Harbour said. "I am a first year teacher and it's very stressful to buy a whole bunch of stuff for your classroom and it can be very expensive."

Harbour was one of many teachers invited to the bazaar on Monday. Flemmer said the MEA sent out invites to more than 60 new teachers in the Mitchell School District.

This is the second year the teacher bazaar took place, and Flemmer said last year went so well, they knew they would have to keep it going.

"Essentially, it is our way to welcome teachers to the district, especially those who are just starting out," Flemmer said. "Their first year is really intense and busy and full of stress."

Flemmer said it all started when a past MEA president went to a national conference and saw other states doing similar events. She brought the idea back to the Mitchell chapter and they all agreed it was a good idea.

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Flemmer said there was a lot of support from fellow educators and one veteran teacher donated a $100 gift card to MEA.

"It shows you the spirit of teachers," Flemmer said. "This is a neat way to make it a community event and let people know that we're in this together."

Harbour said the event helped relieve some of the stress she was facing of supplying her own classroom. Skyler Hayden, the current MEA co-president, agrees.

Heyden is a second year teacher within the Mitchell School District. Being new last year, Heyden remembers what it was like to be in a classroom for the first time and unsure of what supplies might be needed.

"New teachers in general, you don't really know what you need," Heyden said. "It's hard when you start, so coming here gives them an idea, too."

As a new teacher last year, Heyden recalls grabbing decorations, borders and posters for her classroom, not just teaching materials.

The supplies available for new teachers are not just educational materials, Heyden said, some of the supplies are just containers are other smaller items new teachers wouldn't even think of.

Not only does the bazaar allow for teachers to stock up on much-needed supplies for the school year, Heyden said it also brings the teachers together as a community.

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"I think it's really cool to bring first year teachers together ..." Heyden said. "It's bringing people together and they are already finding things that they don't have to spend their money on."

Supplies sits on tables during the New Teacher Bazaar on Monday at Mitchell High School in Mitchell. The supplies was donated by veteran educators or local businesses, who had donation boxes in their stores. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)
Supplies sits on tables during the New Teacher Bazaar on Monday at Mitchell High School in Mitchell. The supplies was donated by veteran educators or local businesses, who had donation boxes in their stores. (Sarah Barclay/Republic)

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