Meet the Teacher: Michael Maher

February 27, 2015

Meet the Teacher: Michael Maher

Yoobi loves Teachers! This week we got the chance to hear from one of our teachers, who recently received a Yoobi Classroom Pack.

Roll Call

Meet Michael Maher, teacher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.



We Asked Michael…

What age/grade do you teach?
I work in a hospital classroom, which is a bit like working in the proverbial “little red schoolhouse.” I teach Kindergarten through 12th grade. The age range for students in these grades is usually 5-18 years old. However, I can work with students up to the age of 22 if they have an Individualized Education Plan in place.

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 14 years; 6 years with pre-K through 8th grade students with moderate to severe disabilities; then 8 years working with K-12 students, ranging from those with severe disabilities, to those identified as highly gifted in my current hospital classroom.

What do you love most about teaching?  What made you become a teacher in the first place?
The kids! They make me laugh and smile, as they’re always coming out with the funniest things. I also learn a lot about current popular culture from them, which helps me connect with my 14 year-old niece!

How do you get the school supplies you need for your classroom? Can it be difficult to get what you need?
I fax a supply order form to my school administration office. The order is then filled, using supplies provided to my school from the central Los Angeles Unified School District Stores Warehouse. Ironically, there is a lot of money available right now for high-tech items, but I can have difficulty getting basic supplies for my classroom at times.

Do you spend money out of your own pocket on core school supplies for your students? Would you mind sharing how much on average?
Yes, I do. There are certain things, such as pencils, pens, and correction fluid, which need to be of good quality in order to be useful. On average, I spend about $185 a year on supplies.

Does having access to school supplies really make a difference in your classroom, and to kids? If so, how?
Yes, it makes an enormous difference! Having access to school supplies in a hospital classroom is especially important, as students often do not have their school materials with them. In addition, the parents of my students are often of low socio-economic status. They often are balancing caring for their child in the hospital, while taking care of their work and home responsibilities. Having these supplies from Yoobi is a major blessing!

What have you done / will you do / can you do – with the Yoobi Classroom Pack in your classroom?
I have used the Yoobi folders to create personalized work portfolios for each student. I staple an assignment/grade sheet to the front cover in order to keep track of work completed. I stuff the left pouch with upcoming work, and move completed work to the right pouch. I fill the school supply carousel in the center of the table with the colorful Yoobi pencils, sharpeners, markers, rulers, scissors, and erasers for students to access easily. Students love decorating their homework folders with the colorful Yoobi toucan stickers. I also let students choose their favorite color of pouch, then stuff it with matching colored materials for them to complete their homework. Finally, I let students take the pouch with them upon discharge to their regular school of attendance to show that they have been participating in school while in the hospital.

What do your students think about the concept of ‘One for You, One for Me’?
They love it! It helps them feel connected with the community at large, knowing that they have the materials as a result of people purchasing Yoobi products at Target or at They appreciate that the Kids in Need Foundation and the Starlight Foundation help channel these materials for them to use in the classroom.

How will you use this idea/lesson in your classroom?
I use this idea as a lesson for my students to describe the concept of win-win situations. We talk about how when we give, we are also receiving something in return, even if it is simply a good feeling. I look forward to trying out an idea from the previous Yoobi Teacher Feature, Mandy Battles, who shared how she used the story Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed with her classroom.

What is your favorite Yoobi school supply?
My favorite school supply is the bright Yoobi toucan pouch. It brings all of the Yoobi school supplies together in a functional, cozy care package. It also helps bring some normalcy to my students who are going through some very tough times.


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