How much? Teachers’ Out-of-Pocket Woes

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 Spend Hundreds of Own Funds to Keep Up With Classroom Needs
Credit: ginatomko.

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?

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3 Responses to “How much? Teachers’ Out-of-Pocket Woes”

  1. Emily GahaferNovember 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Your reply is slightly annoying Erick Peery Mathews.

  2. Erick Peery MathewsNovember 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Really ??? 485 $ in a YEAR ?????? Awwwwwwww poor poor teachers !!!! I spent that on one socket in a day !!!!! And I am required to buy ALL OF MY TOOLS !!!! No help from anyone . I guess having weekends off and fed holidays and spring summer thanksgiving breaks off isn't enough ? Getting to do you job in nice warm and cool rooms out of any kind of weather ? Sorry my record of cry me a river is skipping let me go fix it !

    • CtaylorNovember 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      And of course you give away your tools at the end of the job, like teachers do, only to rebuy them for the next job. And of course you can’t write off those tools on your taxes. And you spend your free weekends off working without pay. And you take vacations off to pay for classes to continue your own education to keep up with requirements, and while you’re doing that, you meet with staff, plan the next year’s jobs, create websites and curriculum. Please don’t slam a career you don’t understand. Teachers work the full year, just not always in the classroom. A teacher made sure you could write that comment and have your job.