I Need a Loan to Buy School Supplies!!


Can I get sarcastically serious with you all for a few minutes? What’s with the ridiculously long school supply lists? Maybe your children aren’t in school yet so you don’t know what I’m referring to so I will provide a visual for you.

Back to SchoolSuppliesThat pencil box on the left is my actual pencil box from elementary school. I put all my supplies in it at one point and took it to school with me on the first day. That ginormous pile on the right is everything from my daughter’s supply list for kindergarten. I kid you not. I won’t even tell you how much it cost. It fills two grocery bags and wouldn’t fit in her backpack if I tried…let alone that tiny pencil box!

Here’s a few things I’ve noticed….

  • The supplies my mom bought me were for me. If I ran out of pencils, I got a new ones (Lisa Frank preferred), if my glue stick dried up, I took a new one to school. The supplies I buy my daughter go in a big pile for everyone in her class to use. Which is fine, but it takes the joy out of her picking things out. Those princess notebooks and folders are just teasing her because she is required to have plain colors that look like everyone else’s.
  • This also doesn’t teach her to take care of anything, because none of it feels like hers. When things are in a pile and it’s a free for all, I don’t think kids are as responsible so things get torn up more easily. Maybe that’s why each kid is asked to bring 3 boxes of crayons and 10 glue sticks.
  • Does the school not provide anything for teachers? We all know their pay sucks and they spend a lot of their own hard earned money on our kids, but each kid being required to bring 2 reams of paper means the teacher would start with 40 reams of paper. If that runs out do they not get any more? And I’m providing Lysol wipes and Kleenex? Is that not in a school budget? Who is taking care of our teachers?
  • What happens to the leftovers? I’m providing 24 pencils and IF every child brought the required list that’s 480 pencils in a class. Do they really go through that many in a year? And if there are 200 leftovers does the teachers really want 480 more the next year? Is she hoarding pencils so she can sell them and try to make up for her crappy salary?
  • Why must we be brand specific? If I’m having to buy 3 packs of crayons, can’t I save some money by buying the cheapo brand instead of Crayola?

I really don’t mean to rant or sound like a know-it-all-parent that likes to reminisce about the good ole days when we had to walk to school 5 miles in the snow. I’ve never been a teacher or worked in a school so I don’t pretend to know the challenges they face. I’m very grateful for my child’s school and her teachers. I mainly just noticed the hilarity in the comparison between mine and my daughter’s amount of school supplies, and it made me wonder a few things. I know many schools have a policy to just pay the teacher $20 and they provide the supplies for each child. I think at this point I would gladly prefer that method!

What has your experience been with back to school shopping this year?


  1. The basic answer is schools are starving. Many schools do not provide any paper to teachers. I know a teacher who asks for reams of paper from his family for Christmas each year. None of it seems right, but it is the unfortunate reality.

    As far as sharing supplies, I don’t totally have an answer for that. Sometimes it is just easier to have the teacher keep track of everything for the students. Sometimes it has to do with their not being storage for them to keep their supplies separate in the room. Like you said it doesn’t fit in her backpack even! But I do hate that kids can’t pick their own folders. That is sad.

    I get your off brand complaint as a general statement, but dude, nobody wants CraZArt crayons. Off brand crayons are awful!

    • Amen! Off brands suck, that’s why they are cheap. They last half as long and just aren’t good quality. Trust me, it’s worth buying the crayola, especially when they are super cheap at the beginning of the year. And I will tell you, AS a teacher, we do not get budgets for these supplies that we are asking for. Some schools don’t even get budgets for copy paper. At least I don’t have to provide that for myself.

      • I agree. Some parents (and I am one) don’t realize how much comes directly from a teacher’s pocket which in turn is their own personal family. As a single mother and AS a teacher I feel a tad annoyed when I hear the complaining of school supply list. Ithis is my hope that parents begin to understand these supplies are for the entire year. It is important, in my opinion, to avoid off brands such as Crazy Art Crayons and pencils wrapped in plastic which destroy sharpeners. I purchased 3 classroom pencil sharpeners this year alone. Each of these sharpeners were a minimum of $25.00 a piece which was not provided. As teachers (the lucky ones) we are provided a small budget everything else comes directly from our personal income that provide for our families. We do not get budgets for the supplies we ask for on the the school supply list. Imagine for a second(expensive as it may seem to provide for one , two or three children) the cost for 18 or more. I hope this has been a little insightful.

  2. As a teacher I agree with a lot of these statements, the biggest difference…the district doesn’t supply the basics any more, on a side note, yes we really do use that many pencils in a year 🙂

  3. My children’s school offers to let us purchase the requested supplies during the spring semester… Sure I could find it cheaper than what the PTO charges but time is money and I LOVE showing up on enrollment day knowing all requested supplies will be waiting for me and it’s a bonus that I get to avoid all back to school shopping madness!

  4. I don’t mind the request that they be specific brands, my problem is when they’re selling the 24 count crayons for 20 cents a pack as a draw, and the list calls for a 24… And an 8 count
    I’m sure that its to bump up the supply of basic colors, but, holy cow, that 8 count costs like a buck twenty… Nope, I will buy you 3 or 4 24 counts before I will do that.

    • As a teacher, I don’t really care that you don’t have the exact supplies, I’m just happy your child showed up with something!

  5. I don’t mind buying my children school supplies, but as a mom on a budget I get very frustrated supplying more than what my children need. Why are we providing cleaning supplies? My daughters class asked for sleeves of tennis balls to put on the bottoms of chairs so they don’t scratch the floor. Isn’t that the schools responsibility?

    • Schools should supply them, but they usually don’t. I ask for Lysol wipes, because although our custodians clean the room, it isn’t perfect. I teach kindergarten. If a kid sneezes all over my small group table, I would like to sanitize it so my other students aren’t exposed to the germs. If we paint, baby wipes are an easier clean up solution. After first quarter, when we run out of tissues, I supply them for the rest of the year, along with the hand sanitizer I squirt on their hands before lunch and snack. We use baggies for manipulatives or bringing books home to read. We use dry erase markers to practice skills very often, pencils get used up quicker than you think. The erasers get used up quickly too. I don’t mind cheaper brands, but sometimes the pencils get “eaten” by cheap sharpeners. Some pencils are cheaply made and keep breaking constantly. The list goes on…

      As a widowed parent of three kids, I feel your pain with the expensive supply list. But as a teacher, it’s disheartening when parents complain about the supply list. It’s not the teacher’s fault that schools often don’t cover basic supplies. We just try to do the best we can for our students.

  6. I used to teach first grade. We were allotted so much per kid (I think it was around $20) to buy the necessities… crayons, glue, markers, scissors, etc. That way, parents didn’t have to buy them. We always had Kleenex and hand sanitizer on our Wish List, not supply list. As for paper, every school district does it differently. The first few years I taught, you could print and copy as much as you wanted. I guess that got a little costly, so then we were assigned a number to enter into the copier and it kept track of our copies. I don’t remember how many copies we were allowed, but I never ran out. My daughter is starting Kindergarten this year, and I bought all her supplies for $15 (including the Wish List items of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and baby wipes). Again, every district is different, but I was pleasantly surprised by how reasonable her list was! And, yes, all those pencils will be used. 🙂

  7. In short yes… yes they will use all 400+ pencils. Think of it as one fresh pencil every week or two. Some will get lost or broken and no one wants to write with a nub. School is about 36 weeks, so really you are running at a pencil deficit asking for only 24 a student. 🙂

  8. Yes, they do go through that many pencils! Haha 🙂 It is amazing! I am a teacher who buys all of the school supplies for the class. I don’t require anything from students, although I do have a donation list. It costs me a fortune, and it comes out of my grocery money. I try to spend a little bit each week over the summer, but it all adds up to hundreds of dollars just to start the year!

    • You shouldn’t have to do that!! You are taking from your family for children whose parents should provide these items. I am a retired teacher and our district provided everything because I taught at Title 1 schools, but my grandkids school sends home a supply list, expecting everyone to provide. Of course, there are families who just can’t and those who can provide those supplies. No one wants a child to be humiliated because he can’t bring what’s requested. Hope you can start sending out a supply list. Many parents are willing to cooperate if they can, and often the ones with the least resources have the biggest hearts….(but you already know that)

  9. As a teacher I would like to address some of your concerns,

    1)I’m glad your mother took care of you as a child, but how dare you suggest that all of the students in this state are as lucky as you are. We deal with students who parents are abusive, neglectful, or not there at all. This is why we ask for bulk. It allows us to provide ALL of our students with material. I am sorry that you are so selfish that you would see children not being able to participate in activities because of their parents’ decisions.

    2) See answer to 1. Also, I would think that it is your job as a parent to teach her responsibility. We do our best in the classroom, but if the parent is not doing that job at home to help reinforce what we are teaching than there is no hope.

    3)No, they don’t provide things to the teachers. I drop at least $400 at the beginning of the school year on supplies for my students and around another $400-$700 throughout the year. I don’t get paper from my school, I don’t get pencils from my school, I don’t get anything from them. Kleenex and Clorox Wipes are not included in any budget, so if you want your kids to have Kleenex to blow their nose there is two options: 1) you provide it or 2) I don’t pay my electric bill so I can provide it.

    4) Yes, we use all of the supplies in a year. I’m glad you think teachers are running some sort of black market for pencils to have enough money to go eat at McDonald’s but that isn’t the case. I get you are trying to be funny and sarcastic but it just comes across as insulting.

    5) The brands we pick usually have to do with quality. Crayolas break less than CrazyArt or RoseArt brands. There is specific pencil types you have to have for state testing. How about instead of posting some smarmy blog, you actually talk to your child’s teacher and see why they suggested the brands that they did.

    What school gives teachers money to provide supplies? I know it isn’t an OKCPS or TPS school. Is it Edmond, Yukon, Deer Creek, Putnam City, Jenks, Broken Arrow, etc. Where is the wonderful land where the budget is so overflowing that teachers are just handed money. You say that you are just wondering about the difference between you and your daughter’s school lists and you haven’t ever been a teacher so you are just innocently pondering all this mess. Let me give you some advice: take time off from your design job and step into a classroom, then revisit this blog and see if you don’t feel horrible for the misconceptions that you are perpetuating about teachers.

    • Hey Saint Chris, back off. She’s obviously not selfish. She bought everything on the list and in the brand required. I think many of her questions were valid, and answered in a nicer, more civilized fashion in the other comments.

    • Wow! I would not have you teach my kids. You obviously have an attitude problem. If you read any of the other responses, some of the teachers said that they get funds from the school district. Just cause yours does not doesn’t mean that it’s unheard of. And lastly, I understand that some kids can not afford supplies so the “list” makes up for it by asking more, but when you are a single mom (or a parent in general) with multiple kids, it adds up quickly. There was no need for your hostile rant.

    • Wow Chris! May I suggest a new career. If you are a teacher with that kind of attitude I wouldn’t want you anywhere near children. We parents do understand the difficulties teachers face but to call the writer selfish is just plain childish. I assume based off your comments you are not a parent. How about you step outside the classroom and try to understand the dilemmas us parents face especially when we are providing all these supplies for our own multiple children.

    • Thank god my child isn’t in your district. As a parent we shouldn’t have to go to five stores trying to find Elmer glue because you insist on it. If you want a specific brand, then there should be supply boxes you can purchase from the school. I know teachers pay our of pocket for some supplies. You know what? The rest is us have to spend money on our jobs too. We don’t get special tax breaks for it either. How about y’all take that up through your union to have basic supplies like cleaning supplies budgeted. And get off your high horse. Teaches in my district make more than my wife or I do.

      • Coming from the business world, if I needed paper, I’d go to the copy room. If I needed something special ordered, I’d fill out a P.O. While I agree that at times other jobs have to buy materials, I’ve never spent over $1000 out of my salary each year to buy things like dry erase markers and highlighters, as I do now as a teacher. I love my job, and I don’t complain about it, but I would certainly say that most professions do not spend out of pocket as teachers do.

    • You are certainly a b&&tch. Thankfully you do not teach anyone I know. Perhaps you would do better frying French fries. Do you think everyone has to pay your way?

    • Chris, your points are valid. If a parent truly can’t afford supplies, then it’s understandable. But if you can afford your kid’s supplies, it’s inexcusable to throw a fit – or even question – a teacher’s choices for their supply list.

      I don’t understand why y’all think that Chris is the bad guy for standing up for teachers everywhere when the author is attacking teachers for making a list.

      Yes, there are more supplies requested now than when you were a kid. There are also more varied ways of teaching – isn’t this a good thing?

    • I agree with you. Sorry, but in my state the teacher salaries are public. Both of my kids’ teachers make nearly 6 figures (5th and 6th grade). I buy all the items, and the wish list, but that doesnt mean I like it or agree with it.

      • Wow, sarah! What state do you live in? I’d love to teach there. In Florida we don’t make anywhere NEAR 6 figures…

      • Wow what state is that???? I’d love to move there….. Most regular teachers barely make 30,000 in some states that is poverty level especially if the teacher has a couple of kids to support

    • THANK YOU and WELL SAID!!!

      And btw to all who read this..40 reams of paper probably will get me through the middle of the year…if I am very very careful ? and I ALWAYS end up but glue sticks…no matter how many are donated.

  10. I teach 2nd grade, and I, also, have a first grader. I try not to ask for too many supplies because I teach at a title one school. A lot of our parents can’t really afford it. I do ask for 4 boxes of Crayola crayons because they are better quality and last longer. The students get a new box every nine weeks because they quickly lose and break them. As a precaution I bought 20 crayon boxes for students who don’t bring them in. My school supples us with paper, but I have to purchase extra to make it through the year. We aren’t provided with a lot of other supples, and we only receive $200 for everything else we need. I promise If your child’s teacher requested the supplies, they are needed.

  11. I am a teacher and I can tell you that the 480 pencils will be gone by Christmas. Then when new pencils are requested only one or two parents – probably like yourself will send them and then he teachers purchase for everyone else in the class. I guarantee you I spend at least $100 a YEAR on pencils alone for my classroom. You are purchasing supplies for 2 you say while many teachers like myself are buying enough supplies for 24 because we know the parents either can’t or won’t.

  12. The reality is yes you do use all those supplies and many children come to school without supplies. The issues is NO the district is not covering much of anything and that is why it is important to be involved in education and not just on a personal level because what happens at the top directly impacts those at the bottom. To add even more insult to injury you are assuming the teacher is requesting supplies to support her crappy salary, never mind the above and beyond efforts that go into educating your child so he or she can be a more productive citizen. Not cool at all. Many parents cannot afford supplies and so yes they do ask for more to supplement for those who cannot bring and if you can’t or are not willing to bring supplies then do not. I teach and buy supplies for home, my classroom and my daughters classroom. There are bigger things to rant about and maybe you should take your rant directly to the district so that they can see and hear your frustration and not direct it to the teachers.

  13. Hello!
    I am a Kindergarten teacher and would love to give you some insight in to this!

    Brand Specific: You said it yourself… The cheapo brand is just that! Cheapo! The crayons are poor quality and the colors are correct. A child works hard on their picture and then get the red crayon and it colors pink! This matter in lower grades because we are teaching color recognition and how to make pictures match reality.

    Yes! We really go through 480 pencils in a year! Usually even more! If we don’t need these things, we certainly will not ask you for them! I don’t have room to store extra supplies in my classroom. We actually pay for a monthly storage unit to store all of the things I need that CANNOT possibly fit in my classroom. My life would be infinitely easier if parents would just resend supplies as needed. That, however, does not happen and then I end up replacing everyone’s supplies with my own budget.

    I already spend $700+ of my own money each year in my classroom. This is to cover snack, extra supplies, field trips, paper, dry erase markers and other basic materials, this does not include the things like books, rugs, pillows and other things that I buy to help make my classroom welcoming and comfortable for my students.

    Trust your daughters teachers. They are taking into consideration what is fair to ask you to supply.

    Thank you for addressing so many parents concerns, I hope I have addressed yours!
    Emily Joslin
    Kindergarten Teacher

    • Good for you!! I supply my granddaughter’s supply list, and as a retired teacher, I understand when they specify Crayola, Elmer’s, etc. Some parents complain that a glue stick is a glue stick but the off brands can be very frustrating for a small child trying to learn to manipulate a glue stick. You get what you pay for, and why pay for frustration. You have to be in the trenches to understand….

  14. I would think they ask for more since some students might not be able to afford the supplies and so it covers everyone. Just a thought.

  15. I just wanted to throw this out there. Here is how it worked in my classroom:
    Same colored notebooks were used for ease of classroom management. “Get out your red folder.” Is much easier that hoping that all of those precious babies are paying attention and grabbed the right thing. It’s very easy for me to look around a room of 26 (yes, dear Lord, 26) sweet babies and see that poor girl in the corner who isn’t listening and doesn’t have the right folder.
    Last year I got 2 cases of paper from my school to be used for the year. (1 delivered at the beginning of the year and 1 delivered after Christmas) I was incredible conservative with paper. I didn’t send notes home. I didn’t give the kids any extra pages. I laminated everything so that it could be reused. I still ran out of paper 3 weeks before Christmas and 4 weeks before the end of the year. There is no more paper when that happens. You are just out of luck and must provide your own.
    Pencils. Oh dear…every parents favorite complaint. I had over half my class come without basic school supplies last year. I was handed 100 pencils from kids. I went out and purchased more(along with a very long list of other things). After wiping out my entire first paycheck I vowed that I would not buy pencils again. I started a reward system. The kids got 5 pencils at the beginning of the week. If all 5 were turned in at the end of the week then they got a treat. (Suckers are great for this! 😉 ) so I did not have the problems that other teachers had with pencils. However, I ended up sharing my extras with other classrooms because they just flat didn’t have any.
    Also, the parents who say they will send more are plenty. The parents who actually do it are far and few between. You can pretty much bet that if it doesn’t come at the beginning of the year, you aren’t going to get it. Parents have good intentions, but they don’t follow through.
    I know it can be hard to buy all of that supplies at the beginning of the year, but I spent a minimum of $100 a month on things for my classroom.
    Oh and Lysol wipes and Kleenex from the school? You’re joking, right?!? You’re talking about the same schools that don’t give teachers adequate paper to make copies with. Of course they don’t provide wipes and tissues.

  16. I think this article fails to recognize our school’s simply DON’T HAVE THE BUDGET. The state of Arizona, where unfortunately my daughter attends school, is one of the worst in the nation. This is the fault of the politicians that we vote into office, and the priority schools take in the minds of our nation as a whole. Our school’s lunch room doesn’t have paper towels or napkins in it, because it’s “not in the budget”, this is a problem. Our janitor was providing towels out of his own pocket every month. Our teachers spend around a thousand dollars a year out of their personal budgets, and this is a fact you can research. As parents, we should stop complaining about our public schools and start WILLINGLY, contribute both our time and our money. Enough of the complaining. If we spend as much money on our children’s classrooms as we do at Starbucks or getting our nails done, the world would be a better place.

  17. As a preschool para I understand why they ask you to buy brand specific school supplies. The short answer is that those other brands are cheaper for a reason. They are awful. The glue doesn’t stick or dries up too fast. The watercolor paints fall apart. The colors are not quit the same for the crayons. The cheap scissors fall apart or don’t cut well. Believe when I say it makes a difference!!

    • Also, the frustration level for supplies that don’t do what you expect them to do is very high. Nothing is more stressful for a small child than a glue stick that doesn’t adhere or a pencil or crayon that breaks under very little pressure. Try sharpening a dollar store pencil in an electric pencil sharpener if you are lucky enough to have one, or even worse, a classroom pencil sharpener that gets clogged up so nobody else can use it. You get what you pay for in supplies. Please spend a few extra cents to provide quality which helps guarantee success in your child’s classroom. Been there (25 years) so I know!!!

  18. I am an elementary teacher. We get very little supplies from the school district. I haven’t received construction paper in years and our copy paper is limited, get pencils, please you must be joking! I don’t pool all my students supplies into one for all. With the exception of tissue, lined paper, cleaning wipes, and plastic bags (it would be a mess having 20 plus open packages of each of these!). I do collect student supplies at the beginning of the year and hand out as needed. I do this because experience has proven students will waste paper writing notes or drawing, lose or break pencils, break up extra erasers and throw pieces when a teachers back is turned and play in glue left in their care. Rulers will spin on top pencils. Scissors will be very busy cutting the paper inside of desk and OMG someone’s hair if I turn for a second! Even if a student proves to be a responsible care taker of his or her supplies there is the possibilty of theft. Supply collection is a part of classroom management. I don’t ask for a certain brand of anything. Notebooks are plain colors because each color is assigned to a subject. Red is reading, green is science, yellow is social studies, blue is math, purple is writing, and compositions are used for word study in my class. I teach 3rd grade and this is also a time saver. I can visually see that all students are pasting or writing notes in the correct subjects interactive notebook. Do you know how long it would take out of instruction to walk around and check 20 plus notebooks 5 times a day to make sure of this? Yes, students will use the wrong notebook. In short these do run out! Usually I am left buying for the students without in the beginning of the year and replenishing the supplies that have ran out around March. When you hear school cut backs its not just teacher raises, or when we do get a raise our medical insurance goes up just enough to off set the little raise we got and less staff hired to support learning (more students per teacher) no one else in the room to help run a small group while the teacher gives one to one or small group instruction. It is also a cut in supplies that schools use to have on hand. This leads to me either making the supply list longer or paying more out of my pocket. My pocket has not kept up with rising food, gas, clothing, housing, etc. cost. So the parent gets a longer list and I still dig deep into my pocket buying what I can. Left over supplies at the end of the year belonging to a student goes home with the student the last day in one of those plastic zip bags!

  19. I just spent over $100 for 1 middle schooler in all Honors & except for tissues, Clorox wipes & glue sticks, it was everything that he needs and stays with him. It’s crazy on what is required. My niece was required to have a tablet (purchased by parent) for middle school where she lives (public school). I can not see how they are requiring so some this stuff. I understand notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, binders, etc. but tablets/IPads, $100 scientific calculators, etc. we still have to pay the school for supplies for encore classes. Elementary school was $25 a yr. per kid, not sure what middle school is yet (it depends on their classes). You don’t pay, you won’t get your kids report card. It just keeps adding up. Why do we do fundraiser?

    • If a child is taking an upper level math course like Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Cal, or Calculus a scientific (or graphing) calculator is practically a requirement in order to succeed in the course. A regular calculator will not have the functions necessary to graph quadratics and beyond.

  20. As an elementary teacher, I wish my kids only used 480 pencils. Whether they are their own or cummunal doesn’t matter. Erasers get pulled and pencils are purposely snapped in half, then of course they don’t want to use them. As for being brand specific…some brands really are better and really do last longer. Ticonderoga pencils last much longer than the cheapo ones.

    • Yes! I always buy Ticonderoga for my class. My partner teacher bought a cheaper brand and wound up spending more money because the pencils didn’t last. They had many pencils that didn’t even have lead in them.

      • Ticonderoga pencils last forever… They don’t break easily and the lead lasts a long time… Just a thought. I don’t know what grade you teach, but for younger children these are great. I’m retired, but used these in kindergarten exclusively

  21. I am a prek teacher. If you only saw what kids did to those pencils or where they put them. You’d see why they ask for so many.

    Tissues and Kleenex, not going to lie, but kids are gross. You deal between 1-4 kids in your house. We deal between 20-30 kids. So imagine all the boogers, spit and whatever else that can quickly add up. And during cold and flu season imagine all the germs. We ask for that stuff because we don’t want your kids to get sick and we don’t want to either. And the school tries to help they are limited too.

    And yes if we do run out of paper there is no more. Unless you provide it or we buy it ourselves.

    Also, we are brand specific because the brands we ask for are better. Instead of 2 lower quality items we can ask for 1 quality item. Crayola is the best. And unless they are a control freak most teachers aren’t going to be that particular if you get a 20ct instead of a 24ct package of crayons.

    Believe me if we didn’t have to ask for the supplies we wouldn’t. But that’s how it is now.

  22. I started in a new district this year, and there were no supplies in my classroom, no budget for supplies for my classroom, and no required school supplies for our students. I dug deep to pay for everything that both I and my students will need to use in class this year. It hurt, but I did not begrudge it because I care about my students and teach because I want them to succeed. In the light of the investment I just made — and I am going to be honest here — it is ridiculous listening to a suburban or rural parent, who has the withitness and resources necessary to operate a personal blog, whine about buying a couple of pencils, or a box of Crayolas that has been significantly marked down.

    To speak to other points…we teach personal responsibility by holding our students highly accountable in requiring that they do their best work in class. The supplies are simply tools necessary to do this job.

    If there are any pencils left at the end of the year, I will augment my crappy salary by storing them for use next year so that I won’t have to buy as many. To even suggest that those who educate your children think about making a profit by peddling pencils rather than on the week’s lesson plans — or minimizing the impact of needs unmet at home — is stunningly disrespectful. Some of us saw a higher academic calling than decorating rooms for rich folks, and we are willing to take our credentials and do a lot more good for a lot less money than the average interior designer probably is.

    Who is taking care of the teachers? It sure isn’t you, lady. Might I suggest that next year you take the time and energy you spent moaning about spending more than you think you should on seriously marked-down merchandise and reach out to your child’s teacher to see what he (yes, males teach too!) or she really needs? A little extra will go a long way, in more ways than you think. All we want is what is best for the kids. We need partners in this effort, instead of whiners who are worried about what the front of he crayon box says.

    • Hi Allen. Thanks for leaving a comment. I do want to address some of the points you are making specifically about our author. I want to point out that you don’t know her, what her personal financial situation is, where she lives or what she puts her money or efforts to. She is a contributor to this blog, which is a community effort. Her personal blog is something she does for fun, which anyone can do whether they have the resources or not. This wasn’t an attack on teachers by any means and I’m sorry that you were clearly offended. But I would ask that you make sure you know the person before judging them so harshly.

      • Well, I took the blog as an attack on teachers. To even intimate that teachers are somehow using a child’s school supplies for gain, even jokingly, is an effront to me and the other professionals who spend our time and money on her kid and other children.

      • How is this blog post not an attack on teachers? Why is it wrong for Allen to stereotype interior designers in the same way the author questioned teacher’s ethics?

    • I read this article earlier today, and I had no idea it was written by Katie Bloomingburg Isenberg (I went school shopping with her and I’m a Kindergarten teacher in New York City). I heard she got some backlash from bored teachers (it’s summer, we know, Allen), and I felt the need to defend her. We are lucky to get a box of crayons and a roll of paper towels from our kids, but that’s bc we teach inner city NYC. So, I think you should relax and enjoy the rest of your weekend….Allen. She now has two children and has the most important job a person can have. This really is a hilarious comparison to then and now. So, take it for what it is.

    • Our district supplied all the required materials, but I can relate to your frustration with your situation. Have you sent a parent letter addressing your classroom needs to teach their children. There are those who don’t think it is their responsibility once they put the kid on the bus, but there are those who will be more than willing to help out. Address this at Back To School night, We were lucky to have many Service groups: Lions Club, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc, who take on special products and are especially interested in helping children, There are also churches who love project that help in their community. Reach out!! I know there is help for you out there. Good luck!!!

    • Teachers in my district start at 50k and administrators are in the low six figures. Maybe you need a better school district. My salary hasn’t jumped near as much as the teachers have in the last twenty years.

  23. Yes, we really do use the supplies. No, we don’t sell them…horrified you even suggested it. Note: back when you were in school the teacher was ALWAYS right, teachers were allowed to tape squirmy kids to chairs, put their noses in corners, make them write sentences 100 times, NOT be judged by standardized tests, actually start in chapter 1 of a textbook and go straight through in order having kids answer every single review question at the end of each lesson. Things are different. This is not necessarily bad but realize that education is NOT the same as when you were in school. Therefore, supplies are not the same. P.S. Roseart crayons are junk-go for Crayola…and don’t fuss at the teacher when she whips out toilet paper for your kid to wipe their nose. Just be thankful you aren’t paying the teacher’s co-pay when s/he is sick from the abundance of germs in the classroom. Last thing:I spent 30 unpaid hours in my classroom this week unpacking 60 boxes of crayons, 100 composition notebooks, 25 pairs of scissors, and countless glue sticks, all purchased with my own money, all for kids I haven’t even met! I LOVE teaching. It is about SO MUCH MORE than supplies!!!

  24. As a parent, I understand your frustration. At the end of the year, all of my daughter’s unused supplies were sent home at the end of the year. We are reusing some of them this year. As a teacher, let me assure you, yes all these supplies are needed! My first graders use (at least) a pencil a week. Twenty four pencils per student wouldn’t last the school year in my class, and don’t get me started on glue sticks! I run out every year! My school charges a $40 supply fee and we buy supplies for the entire school year. My students get a new box of crayons each six weeks. They also get markers (broad and thin), colored pencils, and watercolor paint. Crayola is the best brand. Last year, I bought the off brand markers. They were horrible! The tops were hard to get on and the tips broke off. As far as the folders, it’s much easier to tell them to get out their green homework folder or blue writing folder. I buy special supplies to use as rewards in the classroom for behavior and Accelerated Reader. Even with a supply fee, there are numerous special items I pay for out of my own pocket.

  25. As a teacher I know exactly what it’s like being in the schools. We are limited on copy paper and I have ever been given any basic supplies since I’ve been teaching, except for our guidance counselor who donated glue sticks to my class when we’re were sharing 4 total glue sticks in my classroom. I usually spend between $200 and $400 on basic school supplies each year for children I consider mine. When they are in my classroom they are my children. If parents plan their shopping accoding to back to school sales they can usually spend a substantial amount less but I see parents every year completing their lists as soon as supplies are on the shelf. That’s when it’s most expensive so the companies can make the extra money that they lose during sale time.

  26. Wow, you’re really put out by this idea of having to provide for your own kid. I thank you for providing the supplies for your own kid because that means that I won’t have to buy them. Chances are your child will, at some point, ask to ‘borrow’ a pencil,pen, paper, or any number of things. They all do, yours do or will at some point. That comes out of my pocket. People whine about how much they think teachers make (honestly, I’d love to bring home the paycheck if all those parents had to pay me babysitter’s wages!), but when I spend anywhere from $200-$2000 to buy supplies (yes that’s correct, one year I spent over $1900 on things for my classroom), it’s more than a little insulting to hear this kind of whine from people like you who clearly have the intelligence (and probably the time) to know better, but just can’t be bothered.

    Here’s my challenge to you: do my job for a week and see how much money comes out of my pocket. Then multiply that by 40 weeks, and you’ll see why you need 480 pencils.

  27. Wow, this blog is so very insulting. Yes, all of those supplies are needed and furthermore, they are used! No, schools don’t provide those pesky “extras” like Kleenex, germ x, etc. School districts are seriously underfunded, especially in my state. Parents complain, but imagine how teachers feel? Every time you don’t send something, we have to supply it. That means that my child and family do without. Somehow though, I always manage to fulfill my child’s supply list.

  28. Oh yeah, and Elaine, Jamie, and Christina.


    No one is put out by taking care of their own kid. Maybe you are put out by the career path you chose. You can be pissed. I’m pissed. I decided to be a teacher, and yes I pay out of pocket. I wish I was a doctor or scientist but it wasn’t about the money for me. It was about doing what I love. So again, relax….it’s Sunday.

  29. i get that you were trying to be funny. You failed. You came across as lofty, selfish and uncaring.

    Have you ever tried coloring with off-brand crayons? Or erasing with the erasers on crappy pencils? Didn’t go so well, huh.

    Suck it up. Support the teachers.

  30. Seriously? I’m always amazed how some people just can’t see the humor in things. I honestly thnk it was meant to be sarcastically funny & some people take things way too seriously. I also complain about the school supplies list every school year but I get the stuff anyways. I do that to be told what brand to get but on some items I do understand. This year, on of my children’s list ask for an AVERY brand binder. Why? Why can’t I choose whatever brand I like? I still bought the AVERY.. At least in our area, back to school sales offer 50 cent box crayola, 17 cents one subject notebooks & 49 cents packs of pencils. We just have to shop these sales & stock up for the school year. I certainly don’t want to burden the teacher to supply everything. On the other hand, at my job (in a restaurant & everyone is on a tight budget!) we did a back to school needs drive & donated supplies to our area elementary school. I’m sure most jobs would allow that.

  31. Forgive me, but this made me a little angry.
    1. No, the school does not provide everything your child needs.
    2. We share supplies as a class because God forbid one year YOUR child is the one who can’t afford any supplies, and you’ll appreciate that they don’t have anything different from anyone else because we share.
    3. A good teacher still teaches them to take good care of their supplies.
    4. Yes, we really use that many pencils. And more, many, many, more that I typically buy myself.
    5. Yes, specific brands are important. Some brands just do not live up to the job we are asking of them. If you buy the cheap kind, they do half the job and last half as long.
    I could go on, but school starts tomorrow and I’ve got to go prepare the hundreds worth of supplies I spent to help MY students have a great year.

  32. Wow, there have been some great comments on here. Some have been insulting, rude, while others have been calm and respectful.

    I am a former teacher. I now have a child in 1st grade. I can speak to both sides, and may have some interesting suggestions for parents too.

    First, it all depends on the district, school, and teacher. Supplies in most counties are “suggested” even though they are presented as required. Why? Because without parents sending in supplies, teachers are really handcuffed. We do spend a ton of money on your children. Whether it is the books in the classroom library, the pillows and decor of the classroom, or the supplies that are not supplied but often times required. We spend a ton of money throughout the year for various projects, crafts, ideas, or the many other things. In my previous school, I paid for several children to attend the field trips because parents did not send in the money. Recess equipment for your child to play, your teacher probably bought it. Recess equipment broken, who do you think replaces it? Probably the teacher. Raining outside? Kids want to play inside. Who supplies the games for indoor recess? Your teacher. Who provides a snack because the child did not eat breakfast at home? The teacher. All out of their pocket. When the classroom pencil sharpener broke, guess who replaced it? Me, the teacher. I was given one ink cartridge for my classroom printer. One, that is it. So when it ran out, it was gone. School provided no more. I had to bring in the printer from my house, so that I could print out grade sheets and report cards. Using my paper, my ink, and my printer.

    As for supplies, yes quality does matter. However, if you find a deal on the cheaper ones, just buy more of them. Because your teacher will need them. Instead of donating the 4 asked for by the teacher, donate 6 and hope they last. Pencils are strange. They disappear. Some students care about their supplies and will watch over every pencil they own. Others, are in need of a new pencil every day because they lost the one I gave them yesterday. As for personal versus classroom supplies, you are right. It stinks. I always preferred the same color, generic things so that I could use it for classroom management. I would have kids keep the personal doggie folders and notebooks for journals, or take them home.

    Tissues are typically gone before Thanksgiving. Kids get sick around the 3rd week of school, and it passes from one to the other for several weeks. Then a few weeks later, it happens again. Before you know it, they are all out. What do you think a child does if there are no tissues, but they just sneezed? Where do you think they wipe it? Where would you? By the way, grocery stores often have tissues buy one get one free during the year. Buy a few boxes and send them in.

    Here is the scoop…talk to the teacher. They may not need all of the things on the list. It is usually a grade level list. Therefore, it might have items not needed by your child’s teacher. I argued with my team to get rid of useless items so that we could cut the cost down from my calculated $88. My principal said to ask for it from all of the parents even if we did not need it because it would be unfair to ask some and not others. My response was simply to tell parents what I needed for my classroom from that list on the meet the teacher day. I might only need half. Perhaps I found a deal on an item I needed and would buy enough for all, so I would ask parents to get something else instead. Check the sales. For a month before school starts, stores are offering good deals on supplies. You may have to shop a little each weekend, but you can usually get a ton of stuff for almost nothing. I got 12 pack of pencils, 24 box crayons, and pens last week for a penny each. The week before I got notebooks, and folders for a penny each. In that case, purchase extras. Buy some extra for the teacher, or buy some and store them for next year. Either way, save some money by looking for the deals in your store ads. When you can, buy extra….send them to the teacher separate from your child’s so that they know what you did….get a few brownie points for your child at the same time.

    Also, help your teacher by donating items. If your child has outgrown books, donate them to the class library. Have any extra decor items (pillows, rugs, storage boxes, etc) you are sick of, donate them. Got any extra board games, or outdoor toys, donate them. I used to find board games and soccer balls for 50 cents at garage sales and take them into my classroom for indoor recess.

    If you own a business, or have access to a copy machine, offer to do some copies for your teacher. My school allowed me 150 copies per month. In a class of 25, that meant I could get 6 pages copied per month. Result is, less activities, and things for the students to help them with learning.

    Volunteer your time. I had parents who would be willing to cut things out for the kids, and they could do it from home while on the couch watching their favorite show at night. They did not have to do it on my schedule. You can help the teacher so much by doing little things.

    The reality is education budgets are cut all the time in most places in our country. Districts have to choose between items and personnel. Hopefully, everyone is doing their best for the teachers and for the students. But you can expect that standard items like paper, tissues, and pencils are not provided. It is easier to accept that your teacher receives nothing from anyone but you, then it is to try and figure out why they don’t get items from the districts. I hope that helps.

  33. It really is a shame when half the kids do not bring school supplies in the beginning of the year, and teachers and other parents have to supply them. My husband is a police officer, and when he goes in to these homes when called, they have large flatscreen TVs, Xbox, PlayStation 4, and all the games to go along with them. Those are some of the parents who don’t send in school supplies, they are just entitled that their children will get it for free, and that’s exactly what happens. Yes, there are quite a few children who are absolutely in need, and as a parent sending my child to school, I always send in extra supplies because I bought them in the beginning of the year at discounted prices. I have also bought goody bags for teachers with dry erase markers, extra pens, pencils, paper, sharpie markers, and highlighters. And one time I did not even receive a thank you. I am also the parent that asks the teacher halfway through the year, “what do you need?” Since I am usually room parent, and then I send a list out On email to the entire parents, and the same five parents over and over again that contribute. I think the writer of this blog was just expressing her feelings of how we have to support many people who just feel entitled, who can buy school supplies but don’t.

    • I applaud you for “being there” and helping the teacher! I wish every parent was as willing as you to be part of your child’s education. It will pay off down the road,,,,

  34. Did everyone miss this line?

    “I’m very grateful for my child’s school and her teachers.”

    I think her frustration is the same as many others, it’s deplorable that teachers do not have the supplies necessary and they have to reach into their own pockets to take care of students.

    I’d challenge everyone who is expending energy telling this author how wrong she is to channel that frustration into something productive. Email your representative. Organize a fundraiser for school supplies. Don’t just randomly hate on a person who you don’t actually know, and who prefaced this post by saying it was SARCASM.

  35. After reading all the comments, I am surprised at some of them. For those of you who are not teachers – spend a day with your teacher and see what he/she goes through! I am a science teacher funded by a Fondation run only by donations. I have a small budget – everyting and I mean everything – that is used in my class has to come from this budget – from staples to tape to crayons to Lysol wipes. My husband – not so jokingly – says that he works to supply my teaching habit. I routinely “supplement” my class budget. Last year I dropped several hundred dollars. This year – just getting ready for the start of school – I have spent over $500 of my own money to make sure that my class is well-organized. Not to mention posters, charts, calendars etc… Next time you go in your child’s classroom and note how welcoming, homey and confortable it appears realize that all comes from the teachers OWN money not the schools!

  36. I have been a teacher for 8 years and have worked in 4 schools throughout the country. I would love to say that I got a decent budget for classroom supplies in any of the schools I have taught at, but that is not the case. At the school I worked at before my current school I was given a single box of white chalk, two dry erase markers, two packs of loose leaf paper, two reams of copier paper to be used for the printer and copier, a computer and printer, one box of pencils, box of pens, two red pens, a whole puncher, calculator, and stapler with a box of staples.
    I was not given any budget for bulletin board paper, borders, glue, tape, Kleenex, Clorox wipes, crayons, markers, etc. Most of my students came to school with the necessary supplies I requested but a handful did not. To ensure they were not embarrassed I purchased supplies for them.
    By November, my classroom supply of Kleenex is usually depleted. Many children do not know how to blow/wipe their nose properly so go back repeatedly and use 3-4 pieces of kleenex per blow/wipe. I send home the notice asking for kleenex and am lucky to get a few boxes so end up buying in bulk with my own money from Costco multiple times a year. I purchase expensive dry erase markers to make the board look more appealing and to allow for your children to have fun being at the board and building their confidence. I spend my own money buying books foe our classroom library so your child has something to read during quiet time when they have completed their work. The two paper reams I am given by the school last a few weeks if I am lucky, then I get to spend my own money on paper and ink when the printer runs out of what it came with.
    By the end of the school year, any child in my class has a few blank pages left in their notebooks and maybe a couple left over pencils and half a flew stick, but I promise you that your child’s teachet is not hoarding supplies or trying to make your life difficult with demanding or expensive supply lists. They do put a lot of thought into what they request so that they can make sure your child has everything they need for a fun and engaging school year full of learning.
    Many teachers end up spending a lot of their own money so they can plan engaging learning opportunities for your children. We love your children and appreciate the time and money you put into providing what you can for your child.

  37. I volunteer in my child’s elementary school’s copy room, this will be my 12th year. 400 students at this school, and they go through about 100 reams of copy paper per month. This is for 3 copiers, 3 printers and paper for drawing.

    Teachers ask for better quality pencils because the cheap ones break faster or jam and break the electric sharpeners.

  38. Totally see where you are coming from, but I am also a teacher so I see the other side.

    For the most part, I will not ask for brand or color specific. I like certain things to be color coded (easy organization), so I buy these things myself. Some things, like Ticonderoga pencils, stand up better than generic ones. My Kindergarten students press hard, and our pencil sharpeners don’t work well on generic pencils. One $4 box of Ticonderoga pencils will last as long (probably longer) as 4 $1 packs of dollar store pencils. When in doubt, ask the teacher for an explanation of WHY they ask for certain things. By all means, buy the generic wipes, but please don’t scrimp on dry erase markers.

    As for the cleaning supplies…our custodians come in our room, vacuum the rug, mop the floor, and empty the trash. That is is. If we didn’t have sanitizer, disinfectant spray, and wipes, your kid would be getting sick every other day.

    I am grateful for parents like you who are able to and do provide the necessary supplies. However, you can see the differences and are speculating why teachers (and parents) should have to supply these basic supplies that should be provided. Start questioning your state and district, go to policy meetings and voice your opinions on why teachers should not have to beg for wipes and spend time after school scrubbing down tables. The overall attitude in this country is very negative towards teachers, and we need parents as allies if we want things to change. We can’t do it on our own and it would be incredible for parents to support teachers in getting basic supplies provided for their kids to learn.

  39. I Don’t supply my students with tissue. The school doesn’t either. You don’t bring it, you don:t get it. Cold? Yup. After 17 years of teaching and salary cuts, I can’t afford it. My own kids qualify for federal programs like WIC because of my teacher Salary. I beg, borrow, upcycle, reuse, repurposed….but I don’t spend my meager pay. Be thankful your kids didn’t get me as a teacher. I do put a roll of toilet paper out that I get from the custodian.

  40. I get it. You’re joking because it is a lot so why not laugh about it. But for a second imagine being the teacher. The one that continually hears the complaints about spending money while you spend that plus so much more not just on the kids who don’t bring supplies but on supplies for every child even the one that brings everything on the list. No matter the tone or meaning, no matter how tough a person’s skin it is overwhelming, frustrating, hurtful, and so unnecessary. School is expensive in every state, for every school, at every grade level. So, that being said, let’s all take a breath and, instead of releasing it with complaints, just smile and say

    “This school year is going to be awesome because my child is going to learn and grow so much.”

    • Thank you for your comments. As a teacher, I try not to get offended by these posts. I understand the parents concern and I wish they understood we are also parents and buy the same supplies for our children. We then spend additional money in our classrooms. Thank you for focusing on the bigger picture—-the kids!

  41. As a room mom I can tell you from experience, if it’s elementary school then yes they go through it. 480 pencils would never make it through the year. The kids break them, they play with them, they chew them. The teacher sends a giant ziplock bag home to me twice a week to sharpen. I try to put erasers on the ones that have been chewed off. After they are sharpen down to a a nub I replace them. Because I know, I watch in the classroom. The glue sticks disappear like crazy. They go fast, and soon many project require them. Occasionally one gets left out. No child is perfect. So it gets tossed and teacher gets them another. Hand Sanitizer flows like water. There is no way you can get over 100 kids to wash their hands before lunch. There are not enough sinks. After playing outside? more sanitizer. Cold and flu season…..all day long sanitizer. Tissues go like crazy, as there is always one kid sick, or that has allergies. I also supply our teachers with clorox wipes. They do more in school now then we did. It more rigorous and there is less time outside and for free play. I don’t like that but its the truth. So its at the desk working on projects…every day, every hour. This requires stuff….LOTS of stuff. I spend a ton of time in my childs classroom. I see the extras his teacher pays out of her pocket to make their experience better. I also see those kids who’s parents can’t afford to give them what they need. I spend $20 a month in extra things for his classroom. That’s one less pizza my butt doesn’t need. Every dollar is worth it. If your not sure where your dollar is going, I encourage you to spend a week in your childs classroom. They are only this age once, and its only a week.

  42. The school supplies you posted seem reasonable, if the kids are using them often enough in class then they will use much more than what you are sending. However, my 2nd grader has a list of supplies that would be at least $120 if I shop all the sales and coupon. That in my opinion is a bit too much. It includes 5 reams of paper, brand specific items for everything, and the list goes on to fill a whole page of paper. And I have two other kids to shop for. It is so hard because I know most teachers pay for supplies out of pocket and are never reimbursed. I try my best to support them, but we cannot afford a $400 lump sum for 3 kids’ classroom supplies in addition to all the other things growing kids need. I agree with asking the teachers if there is anything specific they are in need of, as our supply lists are put together by the entire teaching team for the grade level and often are redundant. And often the times the teachers need the most help is during the school year as the first supplies dwindle and they start having to do without or buy themselves.

  43. It depends on the school. I teach at a high school, and we have no supply closet, and get zero budget for supplies. If I so much as want chalk with which to write on the board, I have to purchase it.

    Which I do. I stock up on pens and pencils and paper and dry erase markers and chalk in August, because I will have many students who will come to class with nothing.

    So, it is possible your child’s teacher is working with a very small or nonexistent budget.

  44. Over $3,000. That’s what I spent in my classroom last year. Our “allotment” for classroom supplies from the school district is $100. We may or may not actually get it. That’s even in a Title I school. The kids coming in without supplies are the same kids with $200 shoes on their feet while i forgo decent shoes for one more year in hopes they will hold up. The reason i forgo the shoes? I have to purchase the supplies that are not sent in by these same parents. I adore my job and i don’t believe in making the children go without supplies because parents think that the school should take care of everything. It just makes living on a teacher’s salary that much harder. What other job do you have to purchase not only the supplies to do your job, but supplies for 20 or so other people. We are most definitely not in it for the money but we do have to survive. t

  45. As a teacher I can say YES we use all those supplies—-and then some. I will also say the worst possible supply on earth are Roseart or Crazy Art crayons. I never use those and the kids hate them. Unfortunately, the majority of schools do not give teachers budgets to purchase items for the classroom. In my district, we are given $50-75 per year and we are not allowed to purchase any consumable items. Therefore no supplies can be purchased with those funds. I spend hundreds of dollars at the beginning of school to buy what my students will need for the whole year. Many times I am buying supplies for those students who don’t have any or stocking up on supplies parents felt “weren’t necessay” for the classroom. I am hurt at the beginning of the year when I see these posts because I feel very few parents know how much money we spend in our classrooms. Those decorated and invitingclassrooms are not paid for by your school district. I appreciate the parents that purchase the supplies and even offer to bring more. I will also tell you as the parent of two high schoolers if you think the school supplies cost a lot now—-just wait. I would love to go back to the days of crayons and glue sticks because that list is a third of what I pay now.

  46. You asked a very fundamental question. Who is taking care of our teachers? Tax dollars don’t go as far as they used to. Think about that the next time your taxes are raised slightly. It pays off sometimes.

  47. “Is she hoarding pencils so she can sell them and try to make up for her crappy salary?”

    I understand that you are being sarcastic, but even in jest this comment is very insulting to teachers, especially the one investing in your child all year.

  48. This was so funny, great post! I loved shopping for school supplies as a child, and I’m shocked at how expensive everything has become! I think we can all agree that teachers are amazing people and need to be taken care of. You are a great mom and a great person, Katie!!

  49. I spent nearly $10000 of my own money during my first 5 years of teaching on books, activities, supplies… And my salary starting out was 35K a year. Public schools provide next to nothing these days. Sad, but true. And many won’t send supplies at all. Yes, it may seem crazy. But so is the reverse.

  50. You have no glue. Go sub for a few days and educate yourself. Also. Go thank the teachers for a job you couldn’t do. Their tired. Their feet hurt. They don’t make much money and they babysit your child while trying to teach them something. They live your child, hug them, feed them, mentor them, teach them, guide them, you will never ever understand what they do for your child. Unless you go watch. Go help out. Spend an entire day. You would not post this absolute nonsense. Educate yourself.

  51. Thank God other people feel the way I do! I send 5 to 6 folders, 2 to 3 notebooks and my child only uses 1 or 2 of each. I’m wondering where are the others because I can use them for the next year instead of buying more every year! Now I’m sending one of each and when she need more I’ll give them to her. That way she’ll have leftovers from the last year. Sorry things adds up! especially when youre paying for extra things requested by the school through out the year. You can only do so much

  52. As a former teacher (just resigned in May) I would challenge every parent to really pay attention in visiting their child’s classroom. That pretty border on the bulletin board? The teacher bought that. Matching name tags on each desk? The teacher bought those too. Brightly colored 30 slot organizational system for student papers? The teacher bought that too. Every item that is pretty, non-industrial looking, or makes the class feel welcoming is there because of the teacher. If not by their wallet, then by their time and effort. Or their begging. If the teacher has furniture that is not standard desks or tables and chairs, that was either donated by a non-profit, a loving friend, or purchased by the teacher. You want to know what the school provides? Go take a look at a classroom a teacher is moving out of at the end of the year. Bare walls, plain blinds, basic desks, or maybe tables and chairs. Probably a computer (but I bet it’s at least 3 years old). Textbooks, maybe. Most of us need all that copy paper because we can’t use textbooks. We don’t have enough, or what we do have are 6+ years old and seen better days. It’s not just teacher salaries that are low in the state of Oklahoma. Per pupil spending is not increasing. It’s not even holding steady right now. Even schools that used to provide an allowance to teachers for buying supplies have probably had to cut that from the budget. Parents, your child’s teacher agonizes over what she can afford to buy, who she can ask for supplies, how many grants she can ask for to make things happen. Children will slip through the cracks more than ever now that teachers will have to try to do their best for 25, 30, maybe even 35 students in their classroom. Please, please, please, be kind to your child’s teachers. We are expected to be superhuman, but we break just like you. We lose our patience. We do our best. We go home every night and cry because we don’t even know if we’re making a difference. I had to quit, because my mental health couldn’t take it anymore. Dig deep parents, and find your compassion. 2016-2017 is going to be a long hard year for even the veteran teachers in most public schools in Oklahoma. Support them, anyway you can. Buy the crayons. Send extra tissue in November because it was on sale and you had a coupon. Send hand sanitizer in February because you heard the flu is making the rounds. Those tiny things let teachers know you care about the job they do educating your child. Even if you’re struggling financially, call the principal and tell them about how your child couldn’t stop gushing about that awesome science activity in Ms. X’s class. Teachers need your support, any way you can give it. Silence is not enough.


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