Every September, supply list in hand, wallets open, parents and their children flock to the stores to purchase the items required by the new teacher. This is an expensive time of year, the items on those supply lists add up. I once overheard a child ask their parent, “Why does the teacher make us buy all of this stuff?” That’s a very good question, and lucky for anyone asking the same thing, I have a very good answer.
While families are dolling out money on notebooks, paper towels and hand sanitizer, teachers are doing the same thing. As a former public school teacher, I can tell you with confidence that teachers are out there right now buying pencils, markers, crayons, construction paper, and whatever else is needed to ensure your child succeeds in their lessons. This may come as a surprise to some, but not all public schools have the necessary supplies to make it through a successful school day. Tissues and toilet paper were a hot commodity at one school where I taught. I know it sounds absurd, but it is a sad truth.
My first year teaching Kindergarten, I was assigned to a classroom that furnished me with tables, chairs, lined paper, a disintegrating carpet, and leveled books for guided reading. I had to buy everything else: scissors, markers, crayons, pencils, containers for storage, the list goes on and on. I spent over $1000.00 dollars that school year on basic supplies and other educational items I needed to properly instruct my students.
All in all, school supplies are costly for everyone involved and ‘everyone’ is the key word in this situation. As parents and educators, we are all responsible for the education of our children; whether we like it or not, part of that education requires everyone chipping in for school supplies, toiletries, office supplies, snacks, field trips, fund raisers… Did I mention school supplies?