Buttons of teachers’ faces aim to foster stronger sense of school community

Librarian Jennifer Cirino shows off her custom button. This new idea was something she brought to Staples as a way to help heighten the sense of community at Staples.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Cirino

Librarian Jennifer Cirino shows off her custom button. This new idea was something she brought to Staples as a way to help heighten the sense of community at Staples.

Lea Rivel '22, Web Arts Editor

In the midst of a pandemic when nearly everybody has a face covering, it can be easy for communities to feel detached. In order to help alleviate some of this disconnection, Staples librarians are making buttons of teachers’ faces so students can see what they look like without a mask. 

Librarian Jennifer Cirino brought the idea to Staples after she heard it from a colleague in Greenwich. 

“[Buttons] would be a great way, with everyone having to wear masks, for [teachers] to try to connect with students on another level. We want to be a friendly face, even if we have a mask on, just so you know that we’re here and that we want […] to help you guys as much as we can,” Cirino said. 

Cirino and two other library staff members have finished collecting teachers’ photos and are using a button borrowed from Greens Farms Elementary to create the pins. The buttons will start being distributed by Oct. 15. 

So far there have been mixed reactions from students about this new idea being implemented, but the general outlook is very positive. 

The hybrid model, and with some students learning fully remote, has created a school community where it hasn’t been as easy to form student-teacher relationships, thus many believe the buttons are a small but effective way to help fix this issue. 

“I think that it would be nice to have these pins because COVID-19 has made it difficult for everyone to transition into this new school year,” Ishan Prasad ’22, a fully virtual student, said. “Getting to know our teachers better would help this process move more smoothly.” 

“I think that it would be nice to have these pins because COVID-19 has made it difficult for everyone to transition into this new school year, ”

— Ishan Prasad '22

Although a portion of students disagrees, they don’t necessarily frown upon it, just question the need for it.

“It might be helpful for some students,” Sarah Thomas ’22 said, “but I think that we can already see what our teachers look like without masks because they have profile pictures on their Zoom and email accounts.”

In addition to Thomas and other students, Mia Vindiola ’23 thinks it’s a nice idea, but not an extremely necessary one. 

“For me, it doesn’t make a difference during school and we already see them once every couple of weeks on the asynchronous day,” she said. 

Cirino has noticed the fact that some people don’t want them, and while pins are totally voluntary, said it would be a good idea to implement if a teacher wanted it.

“It’s a nice way to get to know someone that maybe you haven’t seen face [of] before,” she said. 

Cirino’s main goal with buttons for teachers is to create a Staples community where all the students feel connected to the school and their teachers. 

“This is just another way to be engaged and have students connect with their teachers, especially in the current climate where things are less than familiar,” Cirino said. “This helps bring something familiar to them.”