We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
I feel that getting your own supplies can be costly however being able to specifically choose supplies is good too. I found a helpful link for a site who has everything I need and more- http://www.libertyoffice.com/Browse1.aspx?DepID=28
I work with an organization (Pets in the Classroom) who provides teachers with financial support to purchase and maintain classroom pets because there are so many teachers who have limited resources to do so on their own. Many of the teachers who apply for our grants use their own funds in the classroom and we are so happy to assist teachers.
I buy with my own money because I can buy it cheaper at the back to school sales. And it makes my work environment run better. I need the classroom money for paper.
This year my materials budget is a grand total of $0.00. That sugggests that things are not going to be good this year... Don't you just love budget cuts?
I teach art at a Title I school. In our system, art classes are supposed to be funded through student fees of $30 per art course. If students are on free or reduced lunch, the students are fee exempt but no system was created to compensate for the loss of funds. As a result, schools in our system that collect almost all their funds are working with a yearly budget of around $4000 per teacher and schools like mine have an art budget of $200 per teacher. Needless to say, this greatly affects what media we can use in our classes. I'm watching sales and have spent $160 so far for this year. It's not fair for the students but I do the best I can to augment our budget through buying materials myself, begging and taking any free materials offered.
When my kids were in their K-12 years, the teachers sent out lists of personal school supplies each student needed, down to their own box of Kleenex. For those kids who couldn't or didn't get their supplies, the PTA had a dedicated fund to make sure everyone got what they needed without it coming out of the teachers pockets.
I buy supplies for my classroom that enhance the learning of all students for example certain seeds or yeast for experiments. I also keep a more limited supply of pencils, paper and school necessities that students can borrow if they really don't have those supplies to use at school. When I loan those out, though, I make sure I get them back and, if a student repeatedly doesn't have those supplies, I refer them to the counselor to see if the family needs some extra help (I teach in a low-income school, so that's not unusual). I make sure that students know that it really is their responsibility to have the supplies they need for school--if they can afford a cell phone or Converse sneakers or an Ichiro jersey, they can afford a pencil; but I also take the time to explain where and when to look for sales so that the students aren't forced to pay full price in September. I think teachers will continue to be expected to buy supplies out of pocket until we as a profession start refusing to do so. On this topic, I also resent McTeacher nights which give us money for supplies if we all show up to work at McDonalds. That same restaurant gives tons of money every year to Ronald McDonald houses (very worthy cause, don't get me wrong) but don't do so with McER Doctor night. Again, it's a case of our profession allowing the rest of society to take a buy on it's responsibility to the education of its kids knowing teachers will take up the slack. We've got to stop this or we'll be doing it forever!
Common Scenario: A teacher gets hired in a position that provides very little resources, but the teacher does not want his/her classroom to be chaotic and therefore buys a number of things out of pocket. The school year goes on and the next year that teacher leaves for a position at a school district that pays more and provides better classroom resources. The teacher takes all of that stuff that he/she purchased with him/her as he/she does not feel compelled to donate it to the school. A new teacher is hired into that position and realizes that there are very few resources and thus feels compelled to purchase things out of pocket. As far as the school is concerned, this classroom seems to be getting by well on a low budget so why not take some of that money and use it elsewhere. All the while, not a single parent is made aware of the lack of resources available in their child's classroom.
Sometimes it only takes one or two invested parents to interrupt this cycle either by putting pressure on the school administration or by raising the needed funds.
I teach in a low income district. I realize some students are not in control of what their parents will provide. However, many are lazy and just refuse to come to class prepared. With that said...
The Governor of our fine state tried to attach student success to teacher pay. They will try again this coming year.
If teachers do not do everything in their power to help students succeed their own pay could be affected.
Also, when principals look at your student data don't they already determine if you are doing your job by how many of your students meet/exceed/or don't meet expectations?
Teachers are in a very difficult position. I do feel obligated to supply what is not there for my students.
Even though I love teaching and I do love my students I resent having to supply what is missing.
School Systems and parents take advantage of our position.
My family has been hit hard by the recession. My husband had to close his business and we are down to my third year teacher pay. And I am not in a union state our pay is low.
I buy supplies at the beginning of the year. I never want a lack of supplies, whether it be a pencil, a binder, or a book, to get in the way of learning. I've seen teachers refuse to give kids pencils in order to teach them responsibility. That child ends up sitting in class, unable to complete their work, while feeling humiliated. What a horrible lesson to learn.