Educators spend their salary at work. This isn’t breaking news. When teachers need extra arts and crafts basics like crayons, they reach into their own pockets. Yes, teachers need change, of both the jingly jangly, coin-shaped kind and the financial reform, debate-filled sort. It’s an unknown cost at the start of every school year. “What materials or teaching aids could benefit my students?” “How do I make this fun project a reality?” “What everyday supplies will run low?” “How much will this all cost?”
From the supplies necessary for daily activities to the additional materials needed for above-and-beyond learning opportunities, educators, both in public and private schools, lack the funds to support their classroom work. On average, teachers spend $485 of their own money for class, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association. Of course, that’s just the average; many teachers reported spending thousands on items they felt their students needed. The reason? Teachers get supplies quicker this way; bypassing funding requests hurts the wallet, but it gets immediate results. Also, students, especially the early learners, often love supplies like motivational stickers, markers, paint and paper that must be replaced. It’s hard for teachers to let their students go a day without the extra learning and smiles that these items deliver.
Teachers spent $1.6 billion for the 2012-2013 school year, according to NSSEA. So, ask your teachers what they need. They’ll be happy to make you a wish list. Then, reach out to your local school’s administration and share these shortcomings. Write letters, donate, organize a fundraiser and support the students in your community.
It’s worth noting here that I dedicated an August post to celebrating our newest assortment of pre-K products. There’s an ever-growing selection of items, and they’re priced to save money for both classroom-based and at-home educators. School Outfitters is the exclusive home to Primary Colors, a product line that includes finger paint, glitter glue and clay, and boasts free shipping.
What has your community or school done to help teachers with growing out-of-pocket expenses?