How Much Have You Spent?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Been There, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Mar 22, 2018

    This might be a bit embarrassing for some, but I thought it might be interesting to find out how much teachers are spending on their "kiddos" these days. When I started out almost forty years ago, it was common knowledge that many teachers willingly spent thousands of dollars on school stuff. So, my question is: How much have you spent so far on school supplies, materials and equipment so far (i.e. TOTAL TO DATE)? I presume most people don't keep a running total, so just make a guesstimate. Be sure to include the number of years you've been teaching and the grade levels which will provide some perspective.

    I'll start off. I admit I'm somewhat of a tightwad and could never bring myself to buy job-related things unless it was required - like a uniform. Aside from clothing, I would guess I didn't spend more than $100 throughout my almost 40-year career in K-12 education.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Mar 22, 2018

    4th full year / 4th grade
    I have about $350 ($550ish my first couple years) to spend from PTSA and funds from the school budget. In the past I've used most of what I've had - almost to the cent. This year, I've probably spent half or less than half...but will definitely put the rest to use in the upcoming month or two.

    Every year, I'm sure I spend about $50-100 of my own money on some supplies I want to keep in my name, gifts, and other fun items (i.e. for the personalized cards before winter break, the fruit / Smarties that I do on the mornings of the state testing days, etc...), and then probably $25-50 on books for my library (though between Amazon, Scholastic, and various stores like B&N/Target, I probably spend another $750+ minimum on books yearly :p , but I have gift cards that I've earned through various sources that cover all of that)
     
  4. Camel13

    Camel13 Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2018

    Easily $1000 of my own dough.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Keep in mind I'm an administrator: I normally spend between $1,500-$2,000. All the working lunches add up. Plus, we have a welcome back luncheon, Christmas luncheon, and teacher appreciation luncheon. My principal and I split the cost of everything. All the other odds and ends we do for teachers throughout the year add up quickly, too.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    This is my 13th year teaching, in various grade levels. I spent probably $1000 a year my first 4 years, as I changed grade levels repeatedly.

    Since I've moved to high school that's down to probably $200 a year. But, that doesn't count lunches, prom dresses, prenatal vitamins, club shirts etc. I've bought for kids over the years.
     
  7. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Mar 22, 2018

    TOO MUCH-Over $2000.00
     
  8. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Mar 22, 2018

    I also spend a good amount but I think the district you are in plays a huge role. Some teachers get spending money, some don't. Some have paper/pencils bought for them, some don't. We only get a small amount of paper each quarter so I end up purchasing my own copy paper every quarter and we always run out of pencils so there is another on-going expense. I'm also a science teacher and have to buy odds and ends if I want to do an experiment that we don't have the supplies for.
     
  9. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    We had the same paper limitation - 2 reams per year as I recall. Depending on their subject, some teachers needed more than the quota. We confronted administration with the effect it had on our instructional programs which resulted in the quota being lifted! The principal just had to juggle a few numbers in the school budget.

    Hmm - I was just wondering what y'all would do if a similar limit were to be placed on toilet paper at your school. This is admittedly a silly idea! Would you then go out and buy your own rolls? The principals I worked for all tended to be reactionary. Remember, the squeaky wheel . . . even when it comes to basic supplies.
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We give out 8 reams/semester (16 reams/year). Some teachers complain that it's not nearly enough. I'm sure those same people would complain even if we gave them 30 reams/year.
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2018

    That’s way too much!
     
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  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My first year, I was so excited to have a FT teaching job right out of college (job market in my home state was awful, so I'd been preparing myself for the probability of subbing) that I freely a lot of my own money. That said, I'm not an overly "cutesy" person (i.e. not spending money on making my classroom look like pinterest) so even then it was probably only a couple hundred.

    My third year I moved to a school that was an absolute nightmare. I was miserable there and refused to spend my own money (other than the probably $50 or so I'd spent prior to school starting, before realizing how awful it'd be). I got flack for it constantly. Every "suggestion" our instructional coach gave me would have required me to buy something. For example, she wanted me to buy a class set of sand timers so I could have everyone practice for our fluency center at once, even though for the entire rest of the year I only needed 3-4 of them for the center. She looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told her I wasn't going to spend money on supplies for one lesson.

    I also routinely got marked down on evaluations/walkthroughs because my room wasn't "decorated enough." I had colored paper and cute borders on all of my bulletin boards, some anchor charts, and a couple of posters, but again was not going to spend money on "cutesy."

    My fourth year, I moved to another school and ended up buying some crates for books, which are still in use 5 years later. I spent about $50 on those. I no longer spend my own money on school, other than the $12 per year I pay to use an online planbook. I recognize I could type the plans into word for free, but the convenience and set up of the site are worth the small price for me because it makes my life easier.

    School funding is abysmal in my state and teachers are not paid anywhere near a fair salary when compared to the COL. I feel that part of the reason nothing will ever change is that teachers are great at being martyrs. Why would the school budget money for supplies if the teachers will just buy them themselves? Why would the state give more money when the schools are full of beautiful classrooms staffed by teachers who are willing to not only spend their own money, but also put in hours upon hours of their own time to do the job for a very meager salary?

    I personally wish teachers would band together and refuse to spend their own money. Can you imagine if someone with an office job was told to buy their own pens, sticky notes, staples, etc? That would never fly, so why does it with teachers?
     
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2018

    Probably around $150-$200 a year.
     
  14. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    I was hoping that teachers would feel welcome to share their spending relative to school supplies, materials and equipment without being judged by others here. Subjective comments about what constitutes too much or too little spending or opening a potential bee's nest by defending administrative decisions may discourage people from responding and enlightening the rest of us.:(
     
  15. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Mar 23, 2018

    Waaaaay too much. Hundreds a year.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Likely thousands over the course of my career. Not one penny of that, though, was because I felt obligated to. I spend on books (my major vice), math manipulatives when I find them on clearance, and supplies for special activities I do with my class every year (for example, making and decorating gingerbread houses).
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    About $50ish this school year... I try to avoid buying big things, but little things add up somewhat.

    Someone was telling me how upon graduating a professor told them they should be spending a couple thousand of their own money that first year or else they're "doing it wrong".

    And... what if you don't yet have a couple thousand to spend?
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Most of mine is optional too. I don't buy supplies. I will buy ice cream for class rewards, or engaging materials on TeachersPayTeachers. My guess of $150-200 is probably a bit high, but it does all add up.
     
  19. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Especially in education, generalizations tend to not be the best idea. This perhaps a worse, more egregious example of that...
     
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  20. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I don't feel like I spend a lot of my own money; I have pretty much only bought fancy sticky notes this year (the vellum ones for marking binder sections) for myself, and maybe one or two teaching books that I found at HPB.

    Last year I spent a little more, but probably still under $200 -- I bought notebooks and folders and a few other school supplies for myself and my students. I also got some organizational type stuff at Big Lots.

    I'm cheap though, and my school is pretty good about getting us the supplies we need, so I try not to buy things that aren't absolutely essential. I do buy stuff just for myself at school though (binders, fun pens or markers, etc.)
     
  21. SabrinaY

    SabrinaY Rookie

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    Well over $1000. Besides buying supplies over the summer during the back to school sales to hoard, I also buy big lots of books off of eBay for my classroom library since I'm just starting out. I'll get like 80 books for $40 or 40 chapter books for $20. Things like that. These books are usually old library books that are still in decent condition. My reading coach has been great about writing us grants to try to get more books but I'm still lacking. I've also been religiously going to check the discarded table in the teachers lounge for books people give away and the librarian knows to shoot me an email whenever he has books to discard.

    And I buy treats for my students to motivate them since I'm still learning this classroom management thing. And I buy art supplies to try and incorporate art into my lessons since our school does not have an art program. Right now I'm buying decorations for next year since as of yet I've neglected to really decorate besides what was already in the room when I came and student work. My school does not give us paper nor ink and as a grade level we can only get copies made of our tests and 4 worksheets of our choice per week. So I buy a lot of that.

    I really need to calm down with spending. Next year will hopefully be better since I'll have a mostly stocked library and the decorating will be finished. I'm also going to make changes to my classroom management so I'm not buying so much. I've gotten a lot of ideas from seeing how my students have reacted this year.
     

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