Does your school expect that you provide supplies?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I know this is a widespread issue in teaching and education, but I find it frustrating when schools expect that teachers provide essential supplies like tissues, pencils, etc. At my school, most teachers seem to provide a lot and my neighbor teacher said she spends $1000 a year. My friend is working in a different district and said that she only receives a case of copy paper a quarter, no supplies, but luckily a $150 reimbursement (which is only this year!!). My school thankfully provides the basics + unlimited copies and I know that is much better than many schools. I personally do not purchase things that I think the school should supply (although I did get a bunch of used stuff through donations) but I will purchase the "extras" if I feel like I want them. Most teachers even buy things like tissue boxes which I do not.

    Anyways, one of my students apparently has ADHD and we had to do a 504 plan sign off. He is expected to have a fidget toy, scheduled breaks, etc. I asked about getting a fidget for him and apparently it is "up to the teachers." I'm sure I can find something to bring in from home but it seems ridiculous that the teacher is expected to provide something that is required by a student's 504 plan!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wouldn’t be able to find anything. Seriously.
     
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I was just told in an email it is "up to the teacher's discretion" when I asked if he had one. I might ask if the school has one for him but I don't want to make a big deal of something in my first year in a district. I might just end up giving him something from the math manipulatives closet.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Id email child study team and ask where the fidgets are kept. The math manips are a good idea. I would not be spending any of my own money on something required in a 504 plan. The ‘discretion’ part is about deciding if and when to use it, not supplying one.
     
  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    From the impression of my school so far, it is highly unlikely that my school provides any fidgets for the kids. We're on a tight budget. I can email the 504 coordinator and say that I do not have any fidgets in my classroom and ask where I can get one for him. It seems like it is expected that we buy one for him, but I'm not sure?
     
  7. Always__Learning

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    I think sometimes we oversimplify things when as teachers we say 'other professions don't require this.' In Canada, lots of professions are required to provide their own supplies. For example, mechanics have to provide their own tools (as do most trades people) even trades people who make less than 1/2 of what teachers make.

    So I usually have asked my school to pay for as much as possible but sometimes choose to buy things that are going to take too long to get ordered. As a new teacher, I bought lots of stuff as I wanted to be viewed positively and as I got more comfortable in my school and learned what the channels were to ask for things I would see what I could get bought by the school. Personally, I would just buy the fidgets at the dollar store as I wouldn't pick this to be the thing I stood firm on. It sounds like they are asking you to buy them. They are cheap. I wouldn't stand on principle on this. I'd buy a few and make sure the kid had a good year.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

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    I bought a decent amount of things my first year, but the only thing I regularly buy now is candy.

    I would tell the student to bring his favorite fidget from home.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Have you read the current Time magazine? There are teachers working several jobs, sellng their blood, etc to make ends meet. If we stop supplying what is needed and required, districts will find a way to
     
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  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I agree but I do not see this happening. I have probably spent $200 of my own money this year and other new teachers in my building have spent much, much more. I think a lot of teachers really do not hesitate buying things for their classroom + students.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You are 100% correct!
     
  12. Always__Learning

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    Czacza ,

    I think there are 2 separate issues here:
    1 - What new teachers in this situation should do
    2 - What we should collectively do

    As a first year teacher I would have done whatever it took to impress and that included spending my own money. I don't think as someone with almost 20 years in it is reasonable for me to stand on principle and tell a first year teacher not to spend this specific 10$ that could be the difference between a positive review and being non-renewed (because if it takes 3 months to get the item and in the meantime the student does very poorly it can become an issue for the teacher). I believe Ms. H is a newer teacher.

    I also don't know what Ms. H makes but I know that where I live a first year teacher makes substantially more than a first year mechanic and that first year mechanic typically has to take out loans to buy all their tools so again, to me we can't ask first year teachers to be the ones who stand on principle on this.

    As a collective, we should advocate for funding. But if there are no items in her school then I'm assuming Ms H's more experienced colleagues haven't gotten anywhere on this front. So again, not reasonable to tell the first year teacher to be the one to take the stand.

    If Ms. H doesn't want to stay at her school, start looking for a better funded district but I'd do what is necessary to get a good review this year.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Interestingly, it seems like a lot of my colleagues haven't asked for supplies. We have to email our literacy coach for supplies but she has gotten me everything I've asked for except a class set of whiteboard markers. (permanent markers, binder clips, sheet protectors, graph paper, pencil sharpener, etc.) Another teacher told me she spent $2000 and said the school didn't have chart paper...but I asked for some and got some.
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Not a bad idea! :)
     
  15. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Well if you think there is someone who will buy you fidgets go ahead and ask them. Your original post sounded like there weren't.
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My school provides the basics but not the “extras.” I doubt they do provide fidgets. My post was just about how ridiculous it is that teachers are expected to provide something that is required by a 504 plan.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Agreed. It’s ridiculous. Go with the math Manips
     
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  18. creativemonster

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    A little bit off topic of who is supplying but just to note - another teacher shared with me and I have used with success: velcro (a strip of both sides) glued to bottom or inside of desk or table, so that a student can scratch and rub it as they want - for some kids the tactile activity of this acts in the same way to funnel that extra bit of energy and I find it much less annoying than those fidget toys. and then it stays with you for the year, not the kid, so less likely to get lost.
     
  19. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have also made fidgits from "slime" or "playdough" and put them in ziplock bags. Just be sure to double bag it!
     
  20. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I only buy things that make my life easier or are seriously cheap. I put in purchase orders for everything else.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    $2,000?! Oh. My. God.

    If my school suddenly expected me to do that, I would be like, “Um, yeah no.” Luckily, they provide everything I could possibly need, but still.
     
  22. gr3teacher

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    I've more or less stopped buying things for my classroom except for books because books are basically my version of crack.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Hahahahaha! This is hysterical.
     
  24. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I think for elementary students, it might be a great idea to buy audible e-books! That way, they can listen to the book being read instead of you having to read through it. Though, this might be cost prohibitive, but a few books here and there might be okay. :)
     
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  25. waterfall

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    I haven't bought a single thing for my classroom since around my 3rd year of teaching (I'm currently in year 9). As a new teacher, I was just so excited to be teaching (I graduated into a tough job market) that I freely bought things. Both of my parents are teachers and I watched them work long hours and freely spend their own money. We had a closet FULL of bulletin board stuff and they'd do elaborate decorative themes in their rooms each season. I thought that's just what teachers did.

    When we started experiencing budget cuts and I wasn't even getting the meager raises I was supposed to be getting, I started to resist giving my money and time so freely. If I'm not going to the "benefit" of a good salary, then I'm surely going to take the "benefit" of having a lot of time off (holiday breaks, summer). I mostly work contract hours and I never work over breaks.

    My school typically does supply the basics. However, last year we were moving schools and our secretary didn't want to have to box up large amounts of things from our supply closet, so she stopped ordering things mid-year. One of the notable things we ran out of was dry erase markers, which we all use constantly with students. My colleagues thought nothing of going out and buying their own. They were shocked when I said that if I ran out, we'd simply be switching to paper/pencil only in my room.

    I do think teachers help create this problem themselves by freely running out and buying whatever they need. This summer when I was at a fellow teacher's wedding shower, a group of teachers were sitting around chatting about how excited they get when the brand new school supply displays start getting put out in stores :rolleyes:.

    As for the fidget, I'd send out a whole staff email and ask if anyone has an extra, or maybe even one that you can borrow for a day or two to see if it even works. At my school, "Does anyone have..." is a common email we receive, and most of the time someone has an extra. You could also try asking the OT (ask your sped department if you don't know who this person is). Asking the kid to bring something from home is also a valid option. IMO, handheld fidgets almost never work anyway and cause the child (and those around him) to be way more distracted. The only scenario where I've seen them "work" is when they child has extremely severe behaviors and allowing them to ignore the lesson and play with the fidget is far preferable to screaming, destroying property, and putting hands on others. I've never seen the handheld ones work for attention purposes.

    I don't think the mechanic comparison is fair at all. In my area, when low salaries or purchasing materials are brought up, this is a common argument from people. The difference is that a mechanic is not a college educated professional. We're expecting teachers to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to get not only a 4 year degree, but MA degrees in most cases, and then comparing them to a job that requires no degree. If any comparison is to be made at all, it needs to be made to other careers that have similar education requirements. No, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being a mechanic, before someone jumps on that, but it's not fair to make a comparison to a profession that doesn't require a four year degree at minimum.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  26. dgpiaffeteach

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    I like special/fancier things. I just like having fun things around to use, so I buy those things. My school provides a regular tape dispenser, but I bought a cat one. Things like that I don't mind buying at all. My school provides every basic item imaginable though.
     
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  27. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Basic supplies are always available for my teachers. I make certain that we never run out of dry erase markers, pencils, reams of paper, crayons, and other important must-haves. I am a pretty laid-back person, but one thing I have zero tolerance for is people not having access to supplies for students!

    I can use a purchase order to get anything I need for my teachers or for myself (things that aren't normally in the supply closet or pieces of furniture/flexible seating). However, the PO process can be as slow as molasses and the item(s) can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to arrive (depending on the vendor). Sometimes, I get very impatient and want the item RIGHT NOW, so I'll order it from Amazon (from my own pocketbook, of course) in order to get the item in 2 days. All of those Amazon Prime purchases add up, though, and I'm embarrassed to say how much I spent on school stuff last year!
     
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  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This world needs more administrators like you YTG.
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I would love to work in a school like this — especially where you can order things that teachers need. I’m in a Title 1 School but I’m not sure where our extra funding goes. My school provides very limited quantities of things. Ex. I ask for colored pencils and I got 24, we don’t have markers for kids, I got 3 things of staples, five pairs of kid scissors, etc. Yes we can ask for more but I find it kind of insulting that I have to email for staples every month.
     
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  30. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We are not allowed to send a whole staff email and we have to email it to our principal to forward. The issues that I am having with this kid are being too social in class and getting basically no work done. Thankfully his behavior hasn't impacted the class too much so far but I'm not really sure what to do for him.
     
  31. geoteacher

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    I collect stress ball toys during the summer (free ones). That is all the child would get from me. Most students in my district have their own fidgets that they bring from home if they are only on a 504.
     
  32. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    A little bit off topic, but my scholarship has given me $250 to spend on the websites EAI and NASCO. So far I have ordered tons of two sided counters, foam dice, 40 dry erase sleeves for worksheets, katie cubes, a classroom number line, and 40 rulers. I still have $100 to spend and I'm not sure what else would be useful. There is a magnetic coordinate grid for a whiteboard for $30 but I know I could also laminate some large chart paper with a grid as well.

    My school has rainbow fraction tiles, base 10 blocks, and some pattern blocks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  33. otterpop

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    There are some good cheap fidgets. A piece of thick rope can be tied into a knot and undone. A pipe cleaner can be wrapped around a finger. Modeling clay can be quietly held. I agree your SPED team should provide one if you request it though.
     
  34. otterpop

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    At my school, parents send in what's on the supply list, and what we still need the school provides.

    If I weren't so lucky, I don't think I'd buy supplies regularly. The school or the parents should fund those things. It's hard to say because right now I have enough of my own things that, even if I moved to a school with no supplies, I think I'd be okay. The main things I'd really need would be: pencils, copy paper or student notebooks so copies aren't needed, and whiteboard markers. If I have those basics, I'm able to teach. Notebooks often go on sale for 4/$1 or so in the summer, and pencils aren't too expensive. Even if I were buying supplies, I feel that I'd be able to stay under $100 if really trying. Students can eat through pencils, but when needed in the past, I've had a check out system for them which mostly solved the disappearing pencil problem.

    It shouldn't be like this though. Teachers should have the very basic supplies provided for them. Kids deserve better, and teachers should not be buying things out of their own pockets. And in the above scenario, I'd need those supplies to do bare minimum teaching. That doesn't take into account the games, chapter books, and decorations that most teachers are expected to have.

    I did previously work at a school with no supplies. Our copy paper was severely limited also. The worst part was, we weren't able to ask for parents to send things in because our principal said it was against the law. We could have a donation wish list for our classroom, but not directly require or even suggest that parents send in the items.
     
  35. otterpop

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    I truly believe this. If teachers stop buying supplies, districts would have to step up.
     
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  36. Always__Learning

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    If you are not allowed to send an email to everyone, could you go talk to your team and see if anyone else has an extra?
     
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  37. Backroads

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    I've heard this reasoning in the States as well... and I still disagree. Yes, I know tradespeople who have to purchase their own tools, equipment, work spot, etc. I still say it's different. The mechanic gets to keep his tools. He's certainly not handing out bottles of oil for free. When a teacher is expected to buy glue, paper, pencils, etc... the teacher doesn't get to keep those.
     
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  38. Backroads

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    I'm not perfect at it, but generally speaking I expect the school to provide the supplies/provide the funding for the supplies. I'll buy here and there, but I do not subscribe to the perspective it's my job.
     
  39. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Yeah, about that...:whistle:
    (Perhaps we need to start BBA - book buyers anonymous? Or start ABBA up again -- always buying books anonymous?)

    I buy very little (outside of some fun things, such as berries to make smiley faces on the first day of testing -- "you'll do 'berry' well"), but books is my big thing. You should see my list of books for Scholastic right now... :helpme:
     
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  40. Always__Learning

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    In an ideal world no one would have to buy stuff. Mechanics have their super expensive tools break all the time and they have to replace them. The 30 glue sticks and 200 pencils I buy are way less money than the one tool my husband buys and breaks at work (through no fault of his own).

    I consistently spend less money than he does. He has just as much invested in his career (even though he didn't go to university, he pursued a trade. I went to one of the best schools in Canada and because we are publicly funded my tuition was $5000/yr so my education really wasn't that much more expensive than his college education for trade school) as I do and he makes less than I do. The only major difference is he can write more off than I can as Canadian teachers have a low cap on write offs.

    Ultimately, people have to decide what is best for them My career is worth investing in for me. I feel no guilt spending money on my career if it helps me do better at work. I would rather buy the pencils than have kids without pencils getting off task. And if that means I can't buy a coffee on the way to work, I'm okay with that (because I do make enough money that I can buy coffee on my way to work if I want to).

    I think telling teachers they are hurting the profession by buying stuff is just as troublesome as telling teachers they should buy stuff. All I know is every person in my family made sacrifices at the start of their career to get off to a good start. So when I started I spent what I needed to in order to make my job more smooth.

    Once I got established, I started asking for stuff. Now I know what I'll need 4 months from now so I can order early enough to get a purchase order cleared and my school does provide most of what I need.

    So long and the short of it, I think we should try to get our Districts to buy most stuff but we all get to make that choice. I spend thousands a year on courses and that is a choice. It makes me love my job and it is worth it to me. I also spend a ton on books. At this point mostly I'm able to get most of the stuff I need through orders at school but if I decide last minute that I want something and a purchase order is going to take too long I decide - do I really want this? And then I buy it if I really want it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  41. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    The issue is that many schools do not provide teachers with the basics. It's not right for a teacher to have to buy binders, notebooks, pencils, whiteboard markers, paper, etc. It is fine that you want to buy pencils for kids, but your school should be providing them. In elementary school, teachers are expected to have classroom libraries, book bins, etc. and I doubt most of these things are provided by most districts. If a teacher wants something extra, like clipboards for every student, etc. then I have no issue with a teacher purchasing them. My neighbor teacher bought a rack to hang anchor charts on which is an extra and I bought table caddies which is an extra. I'm not really complaining about this. However, if something is expected in a classroom, it should be provided. If admin wants kids to be able to blow their noses during class, they should provide tissue boxes! If a fidget is written into a student's 504 plan, it should be provided! The issue isn't that I can find a fidget for a few dollars, etc. -- but I don't see why it would be my responsibility to buy one for him if the school says that he has to have one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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