These DIY necklaces for teachers are hilarious. But they also reveal sad truths.

If you're scrambling for last-minute gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week, don't fret!

Gerry Brooks has you covered.

The YouTuber — a self-proclaimed "fun maker" and school principal — published a video on May 8 proposing three easy, affordable DIY necklaces for the special teachers in your life.

They're pretty fantastic. (Story continues below.)



1. A "hugs and kisses" necklace.

Hugs and kisses, as in, the chocolate candies.


But let's not overlook the delicious symbolism at play here.

All GIFs via Gerry Brooks/YouTube.

Most teachers don't feel as though society values their work. And that's terribly unfortunate because they're molding the brains that will create the future. It seems like pretty important work, yes?

Teachers deserve all the hugs and kisses they can handle.

2. A "workday" necklace.

It comes equipped with scissors, a glue stick, markers — whatever you think your teacher would appreciate most.

It's a cute gift — but, sadly, one that might be more useful than it should be.

The vast majority of Americans believe the teachers in their community are underpaid, according to a CBS News poll released in April 2018. Yet those same teachers with those same salaries are expected to reach (deep) down into their own pockets to provide school supplies for their classrooms so they can do their jobs.

According to NPR, many teachers spend up to $1,000 of their own income each year on items like notebooks, pencils, and art supplies for their students.

That's a whole lot of workday necklaces.

3. A "get me to the summer" necklace.

It's a necklace with a mini bottle of wine attached to it.

That's it. That's all.

Most teachers say they are overly stressed — and understandably so. They just might appreciate a drink to take the edge off (to be consumed off school property and after work, to be clear).

And, just to say it: While summers may serve as a brief respite from the chaos of the official school year, they are hardly a three-month vacation. Most teachers still work throughout much of the summer, prepping next year's curricula, organizing or moving classrooms, attending professional development meetings or conferences, and more. And because they're underpaid, many teachers take summer jobs just to make ends meet.

It sounds like they need a real vacation — which may or may not include a few bottles of wine.

While teachers across the country go on strike or conduct walkouts to demand better for themselves and their students, keep in mind just how underpaid and overworked they truly are.

They deserve way more than one week of appreciation a year. But let's start with these necklaces and go from there.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

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Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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