Back to school supplies

As you know I’m a Mom and even though I’m not teaching this year, I’m a teacher. Every year at this time, I hear people complain about “Why is this teacher asking me to buy….” Don’t they know how much I have to spend on clothes and this and that to get ready for school? Why should I have to buy tissues, Clorox wipes, dry erase markers, so many pencils and so on and so on.

Have you ever seen a typical elementary school classroom when I teacher moves into it? Let me tell you it is empty. Typically they provide desks, text books and the curriculum materials. I have taught at schools that provide paper and others that do not. I’ve worked at schools that provide nothing (no paper, no copy paper, no dry erase makers, no erasers, no crayons, no pencils).

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I can also tell you that although teachers are the ones sending home these lists, teachers are not the ones you should be upset with… districts are! So, if your child’s teacher doesn’t ask for tissues, what happens when your child needs to blow his/her nose? If the teacher doesn’t ask for crayons, pencils, scissors… how will they do their work?

I can tell you that every year the teachers go through the list and think what can I cut out? Teachers ask for these things in bulk now because of two reasons… one things for school are on sale right now, two if we ask later… parents are less likely to send it in. I’ve run out of tissues in the past and even asking parents to send in more got little to no tissues and had to buy some myself.

Do you ever think about where the items come for that cool STEM project your child did yesterday? Where that cute holiday present came from? Who paid to print the photos you see around the classrooms? Teachers. Teachers take things from home to make sure that the students have items in school.

I can tell you that I have purchased scissors, books, paper, notebooks, tissues, Clorox wipes, STEM items, holiday present items, gifts for my students, pencils, pens, dry erase markers, and so much more. Teachers don’t think twice about buying items to use at school.

Ever wonder why your child needs to bring in a specific item?  Have you asked? I’ve often heard this asked about dry erase markers… “Why do I need to buy these for the teacher to use?” I can tell you personally I didn’t use the dry erase markers the children brought in… they did. I always bought my own for me to use and the 4 pack the students brought in was used by the children. Kids use white boards in school all the time. We also write on the desks.

So, next August when you get the supply list from your child’s teacher, know that the teacher isn’t making things up to torture you. That the teacher is trying to make sure your child has everything he/she needs for 180 day of learning.

Also, remember that many teachers are parents too and are not only buying items for the classroom your child will be in, but they are also buying items for their own child’s classroom.

Don’t like it… don’t blame the teacher… blame the fact that they are given an empty classroom.


2 thoughts on “Back to school supplies

  1. I taught in Osceola County, FL during the Recession. We had the second highest foreclosure rate in the country. The schools cut EVERYTHING. No paper, only 200 copies a month per teacher, no ink refills for printers. Even the janitors were only allowed to sweep or vacuum. They didn’t have supplies to clean desks. Many schools did this. But now that the recession is over many schools have decided that teachers survived with nothing they can continue with nothing.

    What did your new school ask for?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My son’s list seems typical to me: folders, pencils, coloring item (pencils, crayons or markers), notebooks, tissues, wipes etc. I just so often see people complaining about wipes, dry erase markers, tissues and when the teachers ask for specific colors of items. There usually is a reason for the colors, the amount the need… but people would rather rant than ask. The schools have got a bit better since the recession, but budget cuts are budget cuts and people don’t realize that the supplies teachers need are always the first thing to get the red line on the budget items.


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