Tea-tag collection helps retiring Teaneck teacher inspire students
You’d think, with the literally tens of millions of tea tags that people have sent her, she’d be sick of tea by now. She’s not.
Ponchick found a measure of celebrity after one of her second-graders at the former Longfellow School asked her 32 years ago: What does a million look like?
That got her thinking: Why not have the kids count something toward that nice round number, so they could one day visualize 1 million?
She ruled out pennies and acorns and settled on the squares of paper stapled to tea bag strings.
“They’re easy to collect,” Ponchick said. “They’re easy to store. They’re easy to count.”
Ponchick put the word out locally that she needed tea tags. Parents saved them for her. Grandparents, too. Tea tags poured in. By 1988, her students had counted 200,000. Then the media got wind. The Record, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Jerusalem Post, all tickled that little kids in a place named Teaneck were collecting and counting tea tags, did stories.