Actress asks Instagram followers to help needy teachers

Teachers reportedly flooded with donations after Hollywood star Kristen Bell mobilises her 12m Instagram followers

Claudia Civinini

Hollywood star Kristen Bell has asked her Instagram followers to help teachers in disadvantaged schools

It has become all too commonplace to hear about teachers digging into their own pockets to buy basic classroom resources or to help pupils living in poverty.

As budgets have become increasingly stretched, many teachers have said that their schools lack the funds to buy the equipment they desperately need.

At a time of year when everyone is facing the financial pressures of the season, spare a thought for hard-pressed teachers who are determined to do the best by their pupils. 

And a Hollywood actress has done just that.

Cinemagoers may know Kristen Bell for her performances in films such as Bad Moms, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and indie movie Safety Not Guaranteed.

Many parents will also recognise her as the voice of Princess Anna in Frozen.

But more recently, she has been trying to help out teachers in need. 

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The actress has been mobilising her 12 million Instagram followers in a weekly social media campaign dubbed #FeaturedTeacherFriday.

Kristen Bell backs teachers on Instagram

Every Friday, she shares the story of a teacher in challenging circumstances who needs help to buy classroom resources – and encourages her followers to chip in.

Featured teachers are “inundated with packages”, according to reports.

One teacher, Emily, from Michigan, gave a poignant testimony of the challenge of being a first-year teacher in an “almost empty classroom”.

“Our school is small and our teachers have some of the lowest-paid salaries in our area,” she said.

“Please know that any donations received will directly impact the lives of my little learners and I am forever grateful for the support!!”

The teacher received gifts, packages and supplies from her Amazon wishlist within a week of appearing on Bell’s Instagram feed.

A primary school teacher from Texas, Monica Rodriguez, said she was struggling to buy classroom materials.

She said: “Most years we don't have a budget for purchasing materials for our classrooms but we make do. 

"Since we are a small private school, our salaries are much less than our public counterparts and I do my best to budget and provide what I can for my students."

One teacher in North Carolina said she received a couple of hundred items after being featured in May, with senders hailing from as far as the UK and Zimbabwe.

Followers have replied with enthusiastic support, thanking the celebrity for using her platform to promote the initiative.

But a headteachers' union leader in the UK has expressed a note of caution. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This is a well-meaning gesture but, without wanting to sound like party poopers, we don’t think that resourcing schools through celebrity endorsements is the way to go.

"It would mean that schools chosen for star treatment would be inundated with donations while others go begging. What we really need is a sufficient level of funding from the government to ensure that all schools have the resources they need.”

Teachers can be nominated for the initiative by emailing

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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