Do you spend your own money for your classrooms?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by greendream, Jun 26, 2014.

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How much money do you spend on your classroom?

  1. I never spend any money on classroom supplies.

    2 vote(s)
    2.6%
  2. I spend a small amount: $10-50.

    11 vote(s)
    14.1%
  3. I spend a moderate amount: $50-200.

    27 vote(s)
    34.6%
  4. I spend a large amount: $200-1000.

    34 vote(s)
    43.6%
  5. I spend an extraordinary amount: more than $1000.

    4 vote(s)
    5.1%
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  1. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Jun 26, 2014

    I'm just curious how many of our members spend a substantial sum.
     
  2.  
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Minimal. A few dollar store items. An occasional snack treat. Less than $50 per year.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I do what I need to do to ensure my kids get what they need. That does involve spending my own money, though thankfully every year it's a little less. The key is to have a set maximum in mind. If you budget $100 a month for your classroom, them don't spend $101 unless you have two months worth.
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I'm not a teacher anymore, but when I was, the answer was no. Well, mostly no. If it was something I could get my school to buy for me, I would. If I couldn't live without it (i.e. it would make my life easier), and the school couldn't buy it, I would-but it had to be something important.

    In my administrative life now-none. I put in for mileage for driving 1.7 miles to the local high school (not every time-I do add them up). The only things I buy for my office is light bulbs because the ones provided by my work give me headaches, and the décor I have hanging on the walls and sitting on my desk. It makes me relaxed and I like things to look good.

    Sorry, but my money is important to me. If it were my own business, or my contributions were going to make my bottom line stronger, I would be more lenient. But it's not, so therefore-I do not put out any more money than I need to.
     
  6. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    In the past, I've spent a lot of money each summer. Now that I've been teaching for several years, I'm more in maintenance mode - replace a pair of scissors, two new boxes of markers, etc.

    I'm switching grade levels for next year, so I bought a new Vocab book and new grammar book.

    The few things I do need to buy each year: tissues, paper towels, board cleaner, copy paper, pencils, and some new books for my library.

    We get some money from the state each November - usually right around $200 - so I try to keep my spending around that.
     
  7. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Under $50. Stuff for labs mostly.
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Teach me your ways! That's awesome. When I first started teaching, I probably spent about $500 on decorations, center items, supplies and other stuff.

    Now I have a better idea of what I actually need, I'll probably end up spending about $100 on prize box items, name tags, new books for the library, containers to keep the books into, a C.D. player for my listening center (the old cassette players they give us stink), colored paper for my printer, a new classroom pencil sharpener, etc.

    One thing that'll help me keep down costs is this year our county has a new mandate in which we're only allowed to cover 10% of our classroom walls. SOOOO...all the adorable cut-outs, charts, posters, etc that I used to have around my classroom are no longer allowed.

    It makes for a drab room and it really sucks for the kids because all my posters serve a purpose (even the cutsie stuff has reminders about classroom procedures), but I think it'll make it a lot easier to set up my room and then break it down at the EOY
     
  9. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Over the summer or over the year?

    Over the year, over $200.

    It will be more this year because they just told us we will have no supply fee next year to save money.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    $200-$1000 is such a huge range. I buy a lot over the summer, but it's not like I have to. I just prefer my pens, paper clips, etc... I do buy a lot of journals, folders, binders, etc... I keep a steady supply of candy for the kids and me. I also use stickers and stamps. Not to mention decorations.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I spend in the $200 - $1,000 range between all the copy paper, boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer, classroom organization things, and student supplies (pencils, paper, notebooks, binders, folders, bandaids). Never ever reimbursed.

    I know a lot of people say they don't buy/give out supplies if their students don't have them. They just tell the kid to borrow something or just sit there and let your grade suffer. Well, that doesn't work with my kids. It's like asking for chaos.
     
  12. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I tend to get caught up at Dollar Tree...those dollars add up so quickly, I have so much stuff I don't even need. I already know I will have to provide a lot of school supplied for my kids as well, and because we are departmentalized for the first time, I know I will have twice as many kids.
     
  13. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I taught for 2 years before coming to my current position and I didn't have to spend much then. Here, I was given virtually nothing in terms of supplies or even curriculum materials. I spent about $1500. This year, I decided to be more conservative. I only spent about $700, even though there's a lot more I wanted to buy. Next year, I'd like to stay under $300, but I doubt it. Too many things come up throughout the year.
     
  14. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    How does one get the little decorations/supplies that teachers get then? The: decorations (bulletin boards), the expo markers, the crayon, the "All About Me" posters, the heavy duty pencil sharpener, the crayon sharpener, the office chair, the class library (sets), etc.
     
  15. live

    live Companion

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    I easily spend over $200. It makes my life easier and I can get the kids what I think they need. I'm going into my 3rd year; as a new teacher, I'm only starting my collection of teacher stuff. I also claim a small portion of what I spend on my taxes.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :D. LOL!

    First, I have a school provided budget of $300...with that I buy 'office type' supplies, paper, Markers, pencil sharpener, a few resources.

    I use Scholastic points for books plus parents donate books when their kids outgrow.

    I don't use pre made posters....most of what's up is focus charts for units of study (created with class) and student work.

    District provides paper towels, Kleenex, baby wipes, liquid hand soap for classroom sinks

    Grade level team is great about sharing resources...so we don't all need to buy the same book, video, etc. we just pass along!
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    From the IRS:

    Topic 458 - Educator Expense Deduction
    If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses (otherwise deductible as a trade or business expense) you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).
     
  18. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    When I was single and childless, I spent a great deal on my class buying supplies for kids who didn't have any. Now I only spend about $10 at the target dollar spot. Mainly to fill my treat box for the year. If kids don't have supplies I try to get them from the office, sometimes parents send extras.

    I used to think it was my responsibility to make sure my students had supplies. Then I noticed how parents sent kids to school with no supplies but would buy every t shirt, pay for every field trip. So I stopped. I have to buy my own kids' supplies. I can't do it for my students.
    My district provides money for decoration and office supplies. The school provides the big pencil shapener, chairs for the teacher's desk and kidney table. The school also provides a box of copy paper, pens, expos each year. When I moved to kinder the school bought a primary library to get me started. It had about 100 book. I also inherited more from the teacher who left.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I spend money on supplies for my own personal use in the classroom, like nice pens. I might occasionally pick up supplies for student use if I see good penny sale deals or something like that. I used to always spend about $5-10 on penny sales every year (which gets you a TON of stuff), but those penny sales have changed over the years and it's not as easy to get as much stuff.

    I do also occasionally buy treats for my students or buy ingredients and make homemade treats.

    I might spend $50 per year, but usually it's a lot less.

    I'm a firm believer in the "what you allow is what will continue" philosophy. If we teachers continue to fund our own classrooms, then that's what schools, parents, and society is going to expect and demand. (If you ask me, they already do demand it.) I just don't feel like I should have to do that. My doctor doesn't purchase his own chux or syringes or blood test kits, you know? Those supplies that his job demands essential are provided by the employer. My employer can provide the things that my students need, or their parents can. I have my own family to provide for.
     
  20. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Over the past 6 years I have spent about $11,000 (and that's only the stuff that I've kept track of). :eek: My first year I spent TONS of money (I was single...and not very good with money!), and then when I switched to 2nd grade I spent a lot more. One year I only spent $400, and I think I'm around $300 since this past January. I only plan on spending about $100 this summer.

    I don't buy basic supplies, because my students bring them. (I tend to micromanage supplies a bit, so they last all year.) My district only gives me a small amount of money each year. I've spent a lot of money on resource books, professional texts, furniture, storage, library books, decorations, and manipulatives. When I taught kindergarten I spent quite a bit on toys and art supplies.
     
  21. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    That's great that your district helps you out Cza. Do you all receive any special gov't funding/grants? (you don't have to answer if that's too personal). I ask because I'm wondering why I work at a Title One school and we don't get a spending allowance. Maybe there's a program I can apply for because it's those little things you mentioned (pencils, paper, tissues, paper towels, etc) that hit my pockets hard.

    A teacher on my grade level used to do the scholastic orders (and therefore get the points) for our grade level a few years ago.

    Then she transferred. Maybe I can pick up where she left off. Did you have to get permission from your P to do that?

    One thing that saves me a lot of money is I order prizes from Oriental Trading rather than the dollar store. I like dollar store prizes better, but often times they come in singles.

    I also purchase picture books from the used bookstore attached to the library and I've been known to go on Ebay and buy sets of children's books that are being sold as a set by retired teachers.

    That's how I feel about tissues, hand sanitzer and crayons. Parents don't seem to want to replenish them after Christmas, the school doesn't supply them, so if I don't come out of pocket, then it IS chaos. Kids wiping their noses on sleeves, hands, desks, jackets, etc. Kids constantly bugging people to borrow their pencils/crayons, then the fights that break out because "Susie borrowed my yellow and broke it/didn't give it back!" It's a lose-lose. Either I lose my sanity from the insanity, or I lose money. :(
     
  22. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I would love not to spend money on my class, but I haven't figured out a way to avoid it.

    My school gives me a budget of $75 for classroom supplies like pencils, markers, staples, and things like that. It really doesn't go very far. If I need a new pencil sharpener, that can easily be $50+ if I want a decent one. Things like privacy screens, supply organizers, mini filing cabinets, and other things that I felt were very necessary for having a functioning classroom have come out of my own money.

    I cannot teach without curriculum materials, so I've purchased a few and made up the rest from scratch. They are not cheap to purchase, though.

    Stocking a classroom library is EXPENSIVE! I've have purchased from ebay lots, library sales, etc., but it still adds up. I have to throw books out at times, too, because books tend to fall apart on me. I don't know if that's normal wear and tear or my students are particularly hard on them, but it keeps happening. I would love to use Scholastic points to get new books, but my parents don't buy books. Since they don't buy books, they can't donate hand-me-downs either.

    It's easy for me to say that I'm putting my foot down and not buying supplies for my students anymore, but it just doesn't seem to work out. How can I have students write something in their notebook when they don't have pencils or notebooks? When they come to school with holes in their shoes and can't go out for recess, how can I not run to Payless and grab a pair on clearance? When I'm teaching a unit on telling time and I know my students would get the concept if only I had a class set of Judy clocks, how can I not hop on Amazon and buy a set?

    I already limit things like science experiments and crafts because those can be big out-of-pocket expenses for me and it does irk me.

    I can say that I'm not going to spend money on my class anymore, but it just doesn't seem to work out.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I definitely spend over $200 each year of my own money. I can't help it. We do tons of labs, and they all require materials. The amount we're given to pay for it is minimal.

    However last year I discovered http://www.signupgenius.com/ and sent that out to parents for materials I needed for my last lab of the year.

    I got all common items in a flash. There were a few things that were a bit tricky for them to find, but parents loved donating things like sugar and funnels, etc. They even donated money for dry ice! I'm going to try to use it for all of my labs.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No grants or special funding. We're a high SES district so there's money for 'the basics...it's sickening that schools don't have the fundamental necessities.:(

    Books...yeah, not sure why one person would get all the points for a grade level...did that person share the points across the team? You should be able to open your own Scholastic acct...my P doesn't get involved at all with individual teachers Scholastic business....also, check out local libraries and thrift stores. Sometimes you can find a sale where you can fill a bag of books for a buck or two.

    Treasure box...solicit parents for unwanted and extra party goodies, old unused Happy Meal prizes, etc...
     
  25. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I completely, wholeheartedly agree.

    I really think that the system at large is taking advantage of the fact that most people in our profession (judging from the poll results so far) are the kind of people who are willing to spend a good chunk of their salary on materials that should be provided by the district.

    I'm with you. It's not my responsibility to provide any of this stuff. Luckily, my district provides textbooks, paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, and dry erase markers, because, when it comes down to it, that's all I really need.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If my school doesn't provide it, I find a way to do without it. Sometimes that means not doing a special project here or there. It stinks, but it is what it is. If the educational experience matters to my students' parents and to the school, then they will find a way to get me the (very minimal) supplies I need. I can't be the only one who cares about my students' educational experiences.
     
  27. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I don't mind buying a lot of what I buy. For 184 days a year I spend more waking hours in my class than anywhere else. I want to see it decorated and fit to my needs. I don't expect my school to buy me boarders. They're not a necessity. I like having them so I buy them. My school provides four colors for dry erase markers. I love pink and purple so I buy my own markers. One set usually lasts me most of the year. It's worth it to me.

    Schools should provide the basics and mine does. But I don't expect them to pay for the "extras" I want, and I have no problems buying those things myself.

    I'd rather my school buy things we really need like new books in the library and more technology. I'd be angry if they said they couldn't buy me new textbooks I need because they bought everyone decorations. We are a tiny district. There's only so much money to go around.
     
  28. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    And that is perfectly fine if your district isn't requiring the extras. At the secondary level class decorations aren't expected. Class libraries aren't expected. So I have it easier in that regard. I would be very upset if I was told that I had to decorate my room but was not given money to do so.

    I try not to go over $250. That is the money that the IRS will basically give me back in reduced taxes. I have a very similar philosophy to you NOW. I'll buy what I want to have in the classroom to make my life easier/more enjoyable. I really resented having to buy my own copy paper and additional textbooks (for the two students whose IEPs required they had an additional copy but the county somehow couldn't get for them @@).

    To me, it is more about the principle of things. I get more bothered by a student refusing to buy his own pencil/paper while he sports the newest trends in clothing/phones, than I do about buying a personal laminator for the classroom. The expectation that I MUST buy for someone else's child simply because I am the teacher can really get to me.
     
  29. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I am in the $50-$200 range, but a lot closer to $50. I only buy what I call"comfort items", or things that make my life easier. I don't buy instructional items or student items.
     
  30. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    I also am closer to $50 than $200. I buy the occasional treat for students as well as things or supplies that make my life easier.
     
  31. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I personally do expect some decorating at the secondary level whether it's student work, instructional posters, or other items, every room in my 7-12 building has something. I got many pennants from universities for free just by emailing and asking. They take up a whole wall and the kids love it. We are turning it into a business letter writing activity this year. Decorating can be simple and done for free if you save student work. Our science teacher saves student projects every year and hangs up the best ones at the beginning of the year. Classroom set up is a very small part of our evaluations, though it can be as simple as setting up desks to encourage discussion.

    As for districts requiring things, if it's required, they should pay. I can honestly say I'm not required to have anything they don't provide. If a student needs some sort of supply, they get it from what the school provides or what I have leftover. When kids clean out their lockers, we ask them to donate anything they don't want. We get a lot of binders, notebooks, etc... I do buy paper when it's 5 cents. I use a lot of it and keep it on a table for the kids and me to use. I use way more than they ever do.

    If the district wanted me to buy my own textbooks or copy paper, I would likely choose to go without if at all possible. My admin is amazing though. They really go the extra mile for us.
     
  32. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I've gotten much better about how much I spend. When I first started teaching, I was just so thrilled that I'd gotten a job right after graduation that I loved to buy things for my classroom. I've gotten a lot better at waiting to see what I actually need and not spending money on anything "cutesy" just for decoration. I've used the same bulletin board borders and letters for four years, bu that's something I had to buy myself. This year I spent probably around $75 on colored milk crates to store my guided reading library in. My room has very little storage space, so it was kind of necessary. I didn't buy much else. I did get a budget from the sped department and the school, so that helped, but everything has to be approved first and the school orders it.

    Luckily the school provides basic office supplies and even basic school supplies like pencils, paper, and crayons, and folders. I also used my budget money to get every kid a binder. In my first school, I was given LESS money than the classroom teachers for budget, yet they could send out a school supply list and I couldn't. If I wanted every kid to have a folder, binder, notebook, etc. I had to buy it. I also had to buy basic supplies like paper for my room. People always forget about the non classroom teachers!
     
  33. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Even as a private school teacher, I've put a good deal of money into my classroom. I expect to take everything with me that I've purchased though should I leave. (Plus my students are my kids, I love them :) )
     
  34. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :yeahthat:

    Whatever helps to keep order in class or makes my life easier.
    "Scantron" forms, pencils, lined paper (a lot of kids routinely show up daily with nothing to write with or paper)....anything it takes.


    ;)
     
  35. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Honestly, this thread just pisses me off, badly. Not at any teachers, of course. I'm ****** at schools, districts, society, whatever...whoever is to blame that schools cannot - or do not - provide flippin' PENCILS to kids in schools.

    Ee gads, my college has supplies falling out our ears. My husband's company throws away more supplies than schools use in a year.

    What in the heck has happened to us, that schools deserve so little consideration???
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I also think that we are forgetting about parental responsibility when it comes to supplying their children with basic necessities for school. When I was in school, the parents were expected to provide items from a basic supply list. Why are parents nowadays exempt from having to buy supplies for their kids?
     
  37. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If you're deciding between food and buying school supplies, or between paying rent and buying school supplies, or keeping the lights on and buying school supplies...
     
  38. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I totally agree.

    With my students I typically see three types of students/parents. Thankfully, the majority are just like mine were - grateful for a FREE education and even excited about back-to-school supply shopping. These students have what they need and parents even send in supplies to help out the classroom (Kleenex for one!). Then I have the parents and students that assume it is my job to provide EVERYTHING, even at my own expense, because I'm the one that wants the kids to have certain things. These are the parents that say "Hey, he's yours during the day, you deal with it" when I call home about behavior issues. Lastly, I see the students that are too lazy/forgetful to get what they need. These kids belong to parents that would be mortified to know their kids were claiming they couldn't afford supplies and were lying about not having access to what they need at home.

    Very rarely do I see students that actually cannot afford what they need. We're pretty lucky in our area that students may not always get what they want, but they get what they need. We also have a social worker that is awesome about keeping our kids well stocked and/or notifying teachers of their needs.
     
  39. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Fair enough. I don't think that all these kids are in such dire home situations, though. Some, yes. Most? All? No. And I'm saying that as a teacher in a low-SES school.
     
  40. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Jun 26, 2014

    The main reason I spend money in my classroom is because typically when you walk into a room, you get the hodgepodge of things other teachers sorted through first. I like my things to match and it helps me think better. To me, it is worth spending my own money to get my space to feel the way I'd like it to feel.
     
  41. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 26, 2014

    Depending on the year, $100-300. My first year in a grade level is always the most expensive.

    I use a lot of card stock and color printing. I probably go over $100 in that alone.
     
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