Every Teacher Should Work At Wal-Mart

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissMaurie, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    Aug 18, 2008

    Yesterday I worked my four hours in the school supply section at Wal-Mart. It was crazy. I definitely earned my gift card!

    When I left there I was so disturbed by what I had seen on school supply lists vs. what was being carried by Wal-Mart. I noticed two trends:

    1) Quantities requested did not match packaging available. For instance, some schools wanted one pack of 12 pencils. Sorry. We had 10 packs and 24 packs. Or 200 ct. packages of notebook paper. Nope. We had 150 ct. packs. This went on all day.

    2) Ridiculous requests on lists. 7 packages of 24 ct pencils. That's right, 168 pencils PER STUDENT! I read the list over and over to make sure that I was seeing it correctly. I think this was for a 2nd grade class. Another item that I saw a lot of was reams of the primary lined paper. Our Wal-Mart has never carried reams of this. They carry small composition books of this type of paper, but never loose paper in that quantity.

    We live in a rural community and some of the things on these lists would have required parents to drive an hour away to get one item.

    The school I teach at allows the students to pay a fee for their supplies for the entire year and we order in bulk. This works fabulous for us because we are able to get items cheaper in bulk and don't have to sort through supplies at the start of the year.

    I figure that many of these lists are just reprints of previous lists that never see any significant changes.

    Do you see this at your school? Do you get to change your list every year? Who decides what goes on it? Do you allow students to pay supply money?
     
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  3. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    I have seen some similar things. I do change my list every year because what I need changes. For the last 3 years, I have been able to make my own. For the first 2, I went with what the team asked for but found that I didn't need it all. We do not have an option for students to pay supply money. I really wish I could use my school budget money for the great sales I've been finding all summer. This year, I have a wish list instead of a supply list.
    In the past I have had at least one very angry parent about the whole community supplies vs. individual supplies. So this year I budgeted differently and was able to purchase markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, etc for everyone hopefully for the year. The problem I have had in the past is the parents who buy brand name stuff (or stuff at all) wanting only their child using it but because we do community supplies, that doesn't happen. When I was in school, if you brought in pencils, you were the one who used them and that is the case of a lot of parents. I totally understand their point. They also think their child will take better care of things that are their property vs. something for everyone. This has been debated in these forums before, I don't mean to start it now. Just explaining my reason for not doing a "supply" list this year.
     
  4. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS 7th grade ELA SDI in Texas

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    I don't work at a store, but while shopping for school supplies last year at an office supply store, there was a parent who was looking at the over-priced package of 8 markers while the packag of 10 markers were on sale for a quarter.

    I pointed out to her that the package of 10 was much cheaper and she said, "Yes, but the school wants the package of 8!" Um... hello? Take out 2 and you've got 8!

    As a parent, I don't take the supply lists to heart. I take it as a guide. If a package of 10 markers costs less than a package of 8, then I am buying the package of 8.

    If a teacher is requesting a package of 12 pencils and they aren't sold in that quantity, then my child is getting the package we can afford.

    And yes, I despise the community supplies thing. I usually shop for my school supplies when everything is on SALE. That means we shop a couple weeks AFTER school has started. For example, we get our backpacks and lunch kits in October when they are 75 to 90% off.
     
  5. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    The only things I keep for community supplies are Kleenex, paper towels, and looseleaf paper. The only reason I keep the paper is because if I don't it is much more likely to get wasted. I have found that if they only have a little bit on hand they are more likely to use it for intended purposes only (as opposed to drawing, passing notes, throwing out an entire sheet because of one small mark, etc.) Otherwise I'm with you who hate the whole community supply thing. These are 5th graders (I know the PPs teach younger) who should know how to keep track of their own stuff.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I work in a very poor community and have a rather well off father. I hate to say it, but back to school is the time of year I abuse his generosity the most. I buy everything that I require my students to have. Each of my students in each of my classes is greeted with a 1in binder filled with notebook paper, divided into two sections with a blank section in the front for handouts and a blank section in the back for returned work. They also get a composition book, a ruler, and a ziploc baggie with 6 pencils, an eraser, a highlighter and 4 different colored pencils (I bust up the larger packages, each student gets slightly different colors). A large chunk of my students only have one uniform, and wear it every day, and if they're lucky, they manage to get it washed during the week. It took me about two classes last year to figure out that if there was anything specific I wanted my kids to have, then I'd better get it for them, otherwise, they'd come with odds and ends. I have hit up every single sale I could (I love staples) and got 150 sets of everything :D
     
  7. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Our list had roll-on glue, I don't even think they make it anymore! I do my own list.
     
  8. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    At least you guys had a say in what was on your lists! I saw the list for my students, and the supplies the former teacher wanted for Math class does not include GRAPH paper! They also ask for duotangs (which I personally HATE) and zip up binders (which I also hate since kids just throw things in them instead of being organized and putting things where they belong). Oh and only 5 pens... what 6-8th grader is going to make it through the year with 5 pens??
     
  9. RLucas

    RLucas Rookie

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    my daughters 3rd grade teacher asked for 2 reams of copy paper from each student which I think is a great idea for all the cut backs that we are having. I might do that require one from each student for extra credit (I do that with germx and kleenex) it is an easy way to get supplies that does not affect their grades but everyone wants extra credit!
     
  10. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Our kindergarten supply list is very simple, but we all had wish lists for those other things that we need. I had a parent generously bring in a whole bag full of stuff on my wish list. ;) The 1st and 2nd grade lists are just crazy! Like 15 things each. I bet those parents are not happy!
     
  11. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

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    I get tons of stuff on the clearance sales, so I never need the kids to bring in the school supplies. I do ask for tissues, wipes (baby & disinfectant), and bandaids. I will get one or two who get the supplies and then the rest get what is on the regular ed. 3rd, 4th & 5th grade lists. HOnestly, why do my kids with moderate handicaps need a dictionary, thesarasus and highlighters??? I'd much rather the extra tissues or bandaids.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I don't send a required supply list. Instead, I send a wish list because I find that parents are willing to donate more to the classroom if it isn't required. Plus, I shop the penny sales all summer and stock up pretty well with that.
     
  13. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I stock up myself and there is a supply list per grade but I didn't see anything too odd - but I remember buying stuff with my parents and I think we tried to get what was close but used some as a guideline as well.
     
  14. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I worked it last year, it was a pain. They were not stocked well at all. I agree with the quantities vs. listed supplies. Also parents would ask if stuff was really important, which I fully understand, my mom would buy almost everything when I was in school most of it was NEVER used and a whole new supply list was sent.

    When I was in grade school we also had to bring VHS tapes and Cassette tapes. Crazy we couldn't afford that. To make matters worse my mom was one of few parents who actually bought supplies throughout the year and the classmates whose parents made significantly more money never bought so much as a folder and my supplies were always "pooled" for the class use then GONE in a week. Thank goodness most teachers I have seen who do the community supplies actually require respect of the supplies. I had many parents express concern over this and I told them to talk to the school or teacher.

    The tax free weekend should be both before and after school starts so that 'additional' supplies are more affordable and supplies not needed are not purchased.
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Ouch-extra credit for bringing things in to class?? Not a good idea, IMO. Is that fair to those who can't afford to buy extras?
     
  16. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Ok, as a parent (and a preschool teacher) I was caught off guard with the ex cred for supplies, but after that I learned. When it is Buy one get one, I get the extra and send it. No money, just the knowledge that I am there for the teacher and she knows who is there for her. People with less money donate time at my school (in low income area) for same credit. Now I have same idea in my room too.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    :agreed:
     
  18. Dana

    Dana Rookie

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    Our school allows parents to buy a pack of supplies to keep them from having to shop around, HOWEVER they want $40-45 per pack!

    Multiply that by several kids and it's absurd!

    I am able to easily fill the lists for my own kids for under $10 without having to travel far. BUT, my kids' school isn't asking for the moon, they are very minimal in their required supply lists.

    My friend has been asked to buy the kits at $75 each, their school asks for some ridiculous things!
     
  19. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    I think that parents need to use their best judgment when it comes to buying supplies. As a teacher I just want to students to have the basics for supplies and I am not going to fuss at the families that bring in something that doesn't match exactly what's on the supply list. I had one child bring in thin markers instead of regular ones. Not a problem. Since I put all the markers together and sort by color it won't matter what size it is. I still have no idea why our grade chair always asks for the 16 count crayons when the 24 packs are only 22 cents at Wal-mart. I was happy to see most of the parents using good sense to save some money.

    I too worked for the Crayola Gold Star Teacher program and saw that hardly any parents came out to buy supplies early. A lot of parents are waiting until after school starts to buy supplies after asking each teacher what is really needed for a specific class as opposed to the entire grade level.
     
  20. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    At the school I was at in the past (and I assume we will at my new school since it's in the same district) at the end of the year we were given back our grade level supply list and asked to "re vamp" it or at least check it over.

    I "did my time" at walmart too. My day was the most boring thing ever and I felt was pointless. I'm sure it's different at each walmart though. I only had a half dozen people ask questions related to school supplies and I couldn't answer one because I didn't know what it is that the school wanted (looked like a specific brand and type of calculator that walmart apparantly didn't carry)....the rest told me "no thanks" when I asked if I could help them.....and I got a ton of questions that should have been directed to a walmart employee (such as "where is the alcohol?" "where can i find a mouse pad?" "know where the air filters are?") even though I had on my crayola smock. And to top it off...I don't know if I'll get my gift card because everytime I try to get to the survey it just takes me in a circle!!! Log in-click take survey-log in-click take survey-over and over and over again!
     
  21. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I do community supplies. I am just too picky about what I want the kids to have. If I want special folders, I will buy them. I never have more than 16 students though, so it's not a huge deal.

    Our school also provides the basics- pencils, markers, paper, etc.
     
  22. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I also ran into this problem. I emailed the Crayola rep and she said so long as you hit the submit button, you should receive your gift card (they are having a real problem with the software.) She said if you don't get it after 3 weeks to email her back.

    Now, I had a great experience, and was so busy I could hardly see straight! It was a non-stop whirlwind! The two ladies who were assigned to the aisle were so nice and helpful, and they were very appreciative that I was there. I had a great experience. I'm sorry some of you didn't.
     
  23. pamms

    pamms Comrade

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    Doesn't extra credit affect their grades?? I don't feel this is fair to those who can't afford it...and those are often the kids who might most need the extra credit. I saw that another teacher was counting the supplies as a homework grade...this seems unfair in the same way. Some people just can't get them. Also, this seems to be an example of rewarding/punishing kids for what the parents do.
     
  24. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    :agreed:
     
  25. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I think as long as you give other opportunities for easy EC this is OK. One teacher in my building is nuts about Dr. Seuss. When the Cat in the Hat and Grinch movies came out, Mikky D's put little movie toys in the happy meals. She gave EC to the kids who gave her their happy meal toys. I give EC from time to time for little things like volunteering for an unpopular job or kindness shown to another student, etc. And just because you say EC, does in necessarily follow that it must be grade related? Couldn't it just be EC in your perception of the children/parents? Maybe if they are on the cusp of higher grade you could use this to justify bumping them up a couple points? And if it doesn't make a difference, no one is the wiser. Not advocting dishonesty here, just another way of looking at things.
     
  26. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Our district does not allow us to use non-academic things in determining grades. We cannot even give a grade for conduct or behavior. The only thing we can give a grade or extra credit must be directly related to assessing our state standards of learning.

    I'm surprised that other school districts don't have similar policies.
     
  27. RLucas

    RLucas Rookie

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    The extra credit is minimal and I offer other little ways during the year to earn "extra credit". I work in a really poor area and we have 3/4 less budget this year so I know about those that can not buy extras that is why I have drawers full of pencils and paper. It is incentive to contribute to the classroom without making it a requirement. I am not supplied kleenex, germex, dry eraser markers and such. It gets expensive and I refuse to let my own children go without so I can supply for kids at school so any little bit helps.
     
  28. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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  29. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I'm not sure if i could handle the 4 hours:lol: I went there to just get a few things and the area for back to school supplies was a MADHOUSE! Good thing I didn't need anything in that area!
     
  30. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    We make a new list each year and change it according to what we used/needed the year before. The PTA sells pre-packaged school supplies for each grade at the end of the school year, it ranges from $25-30 depending on the grade and they deliver it to the classrooms before school starts.
     
  31. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    My school has about a 50% free or reduced lunch student population. As a result, they say we cannot require the students to buy ANYTHING. If say, a math teacher wants to use a specific calculator, they can tell the students, "I suggest getting x calculator, because it is what we will be using in this class" but no teacher in the district is allowed to require the students to buy anything. In October, the school will send the teachers supply list requests for the following year. We'll mark down want we want each student to have, and they'll supply it. Kids can go and pick up the supplied materials the first week of school. The only drawback is for newbies like me. For example, I still don't know what the last teacher requested. So while I prefer (strongly) a binder to a notebook because they can keep notes from year to year in it, if the last teacher didn't request it, it's an "oh well" for this year. We can try to request some extra items, but the budget for this is pretty much spent. Luckily for me, since I've spent the summer cleaning out my mom's house, I have several large rubbermaids full of school supplies I was going to put out the first week of school for the kids to help themselves too. Maybe if the old teacher requested only copybooks, I can provide a binder and looseleaf paper for notes, and have them use the copybook for homework and classwork. I only have 65 students, so it wouldn't be too cost-prohibitive, if I hit up the sales.
     
  32. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    Here the class lists are grade specific and school specific, except high school where kids come with what they *think* they will need.. I am not sure how math people do it, though.. I put my list on my syllabus, but I rarely have students get my one oddity, 3x5 cards.. so I often have kids with scissors cutting up construction paper..

    At the elementary level though, my own children have had bouts of strange items requested on their lists- everything from "healthy snacks 2x month" Um, what IS a healthy snack exactly?

    to tin foil... mostly my kids' teachers have done community supplies and it kind of ticks me off because my mother special orders my kids pencils with their names on them when they first start school, it is kind of a tradition, and they love them.. and they never get them back. I try to keep some of them at home as much as I can, but then what's the point?

    That said, my kids attend a Title 1? school- they get extra funds for serving under privileged kids, PLUS they are the costco sponsored school and get more supplies donated from them too, so WHY am I buying tin foil again?

    Crayons I can see, but come on.. I don't understand why elementary supply lists are so huge considering the school gets extra funds to address their students' economic needs, yet high schools, who don't get those extra funds at all (and still for the most part have the same economically challenged students- just older) cannot get a couple of requested items..

    Title 1 is beyond me obviously.
     
  33. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    Please someone tell me more about the Walmart thing.
     
  34. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Many of us signed up to be a Crayola Gold Star teacher. When you sign up you have the opportunity to work at Walmart during the Tax Free weekends, that's if its available in your state. You can offer to volunteer for 4 hours of work in Walmart. During that time you help parents out in the Back to School isles. After completing the shift, you go online to take a survey. Then about 3 weeks later you should get a $100 Walmart gift card as your compensation for working.
     
  35. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I don't like the list our students are sent with. The other teachers are okay with it so it hasn't changed. It only asks for 2 packs of pencils. Middle School students go through several dozen. It designates a color for each subject but the majority of teachers don't go by the designations including me, so then I don't know what to do with the red folder all the kids bring in. They ask for rulers. I teach math but I have rulers so I really don't need them to have one unless it is for home use and really they dont need one for any homework.
    Thanks for the heads up. Its interesting to know the problems parents face with the lists.
     
  36. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    You make a very valid point. The only problem with the Title 1 funds is that schools can only use the money for specific purposes. Its used to pay some teachers' salaries (reading intervention, math intervention), tutoring programs, things like that. It's rarely ever used for "supplies."
     
  37. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Here's what I do with crayons. Each year, I buy 20 boxes at Target for $0.22 each. At the end of the school year, any crayons that the kids have left go into a tub. If ever there is an unclaimed or lost crayon, the kids put it in the tub as well.

    At first, the tub was an old tupperware. Then it was a shoe box. Now it's a big bin previously used to store math manipulatives and a shoe box. My stock of old used crayons is enormous.

    What do I use them for? Well, mainly they are for any kid who can't hold on to his crayons and loses them by mid-September. I grab a handful and put it on his desk.

    I bought a class set of scissors. I mark them. I let the kids use them. At the end of the year I collect them. Each year, I have to replace maybe two or three. This year I didn't need to replace any.
     
  38. WannaTeach

    WannaTeach Companion

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    This is so true. My district used their Title1 and 2 funds to hire a ton of new teachers. The only thing is now that the funds have been greatly reduced the past 2 years, teaching positions have been lost. It is awful to lose your job because of this. Many teachers are left in the cold without a job because of it. Anyway...sorry. But, the funds for the Title 1 school is my pet peeve. In my opinion, because I worked in the Finance Dept of my district before getting my certification. There is money for the schools to provide all the supplies their students need. The supplies are ordered each year and are in the supply warehouse. Parents shouldn't have to buy anything. But....principals use it for other things instead. WRONG.
     
  39. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    hmmm I live in a tax free state.. so I guess every weekend is tax free?:woot:
     

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