I feel like an ATM machine

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I wonder if my district is unique or if this is to be expected and I'm just being cheap. I teach in a district that contains many people living in poverty. There is an expectation at my school for teachers to donate to those deemed "needy." Just in the past couple of months, I have been asked to donate for:

    PTA membership - $20

    Thanksgiving feast for neighborhood families - $10

    parent (not teacher! :) ) appreciation breakfast - $5

    donations for a neighborhood family who had a house fire - $20

    3 school staff members in need - $25 each - $75 total

    Secret Santa (each teacher is assigned a student in need and buys a gift) - $20

    staff holiday gift for the principal - $20

    staff holiday gift for the secretaries - $20

    Tricky Tray (the teachers are responsible for creating baskets. Only a small number of my kids' parents sent in donations and I had to buy the basket) - $35

    And now...Class trip. The cost is $20 per child. I have to pay for myself plus there is an expectation that I pay for the children whose parents cannot afford the cost. So far I have 5 kids who haven't turned in their money. That's $120 total.

    We're not even halfway through the year. And of course, all of this is on top of the hundreds of dollars I've spent on things for my class, and supplies for kids who haven't brought in their own.

    Am I crazy or is my situation crazy? I'm not cold and I'm not uncaring, but I just feel like enough is enough.
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    In any school I have taught in, if the child does not bring in the money for a trip then they do not go. I would not pay for all of the items you listed. That is ridiculous. What happens if you don't give money for those things?
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I would have donated towards the Thanksgiving dinner, the house fire situation, and probably the gift for the secretaries. That's it.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would not have participated in most of those things.
     
  6. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Jerseygirlteach - It's certainly NOT YOU.

    There's been a growing sentiment that teachers are an endless resource of time and money.

    It's gotten to the point that school districts count on teachers to even handle the cost of class supplies, taking advantage of not only the kindness and generosity of our human nature, but the fact of knowing that we care about our students and wouldn't want to see them do without.
     
  7. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Are there any local organizations or resources that can help you with this? I was able to get a local organization to give me $300 to use on supplies. I had to turn in copies of receipts, but I'm sure if I just wrote down the donations you made, they'd accept that as well.

    Does your school have a committee that focuses on the staff gifts? Our school has a committee that collects money at the beginning of the year, then handles all the things that come up (staff member having surgery, deaths in the family, holiday gifts, etc.)
     
  8. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2013

    My school has the same thing. We collect $20 at the beginning of the year.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    We have a social committee as well where we give 30 dollars at the beginning of the year for gifts for holidays and cards/gifts throughout the year.

    We are asked to donate to help families/staff in need, but it is never required and there is no set amount.

    Field trip costs are taken care of by the PTO/PTA when families cannot afford. The PTO/PTA also takes care of many events for the school and helping out with families in need.
     
  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I think you have every right to say no to all of this nonsense. My school also gets a bit crazy with the collections for random stuff but it's usually just during the Dec. holiday time. Still, I resent being told a monetary gift collection is voluntary then reminded incessantly that I haven't paid my part yet....!!! If it's voluntary, DO NOT put me on the spot and ask when I'll have the money to put in!! This was done to me in front of other staffers so I felt I had to donate the $50. suggested voluntary contribution. I'm still a tiny bit angry. :whistle:
     
  11. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    At my previous district, it was $40 at the beginning of the year but that wouldn't even scratch the surface here.

    Also, the requests are not presented as optional. It's more like the principal announces at a meeting: "We're collecting for such as such. Everyone will be donating X dollars. Please have your money in by next week." And then the follow up..."Some of you still haven't gotten in your contributions for such and such. They were due yesterday. Please submit it ASAP."

    I go back and forth between resentment and feeling selfish because I know there are people that are truly in need. I just don't like this expectation that it's my responsibilty to help everyone in need. I've never asked anyone for anything.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 16, 2013

    If and when you do donate, keep track of it. That stuff should be tax-deductible. Just something to keep in mind this time of year.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    You can plan field trips that cost no money:
    Town hall...connects to SS units

    Bank...economics, math, SS

    GROCERY STORE...math, health

    Nature trail....science


    Walk around town...talk abou goods and services, community helpers, infrastructure, historic landmarks..

    Shabammm...just saved you $120
     
  14. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thanks, but the field trip was not my idea. I was just told that this is what is being done.
     
  15. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Who planned the field trip? $20 is too much to ask, especially of lower income students. It would seem logical to pick a more affordable option, but you know the saying about common sense...
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry...I would not be spending my hard earned dollars for all of this. Contact the PTO for student needs. I wouldn't participate in a field trip for $120. My paycheck just went down to pay more into pension, health care, financial cliff, what have you. I love my students, but not enough to pay $120 for a field trip. Your time would be better spent taking them out into your school grounds with their notebooks to do some writing.
     
  17. MissJill

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    How is it possible they can actually expect you to put out your own money for a field trip in NJ? Are you in a public school? Go to your union.

    Also, check with your PTA and see if they can cover costs, they do it in my district.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I wouldn't pay $20 for just my portion of the trip. You aren't crazy, your school is.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I give my kids my heart, sweat, hugs and tears. I buy them gift books, goodies, rewards...I do that out of my heart, not because I'm asked or required to. I would NOT participate in this extortion.
     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    And now...Class trip. The cost is $20 per child. I have to pay for myself plus there is an expectation that I pay for the children whose parents cannot afford the cost. So far I have 5 kids who haven't turned in their money. That's $120 total.

    That is definitely over the top. Asking a teacher to pay $100 for students who can't afford the trip is too much. I would say that you wish you could afford the extra $100, but you don't have it in your budget. Many people take advantage of teachers because they know that we like to help and don't like to say no. Don't get taken advantage of here. It is not your job to pay for students who can't afford a field trip.

    Your situation is crazy. I have only spent $20/year and that was an envelope was passed around to help a family in need. If I didn't give anything, no one would have said anything.
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    For students who can't pay the money for a field trip, we always have PTA or a similar organization pay for it. They gladly help for this.
     
  22. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jan 16, 2013

    This is way over the top! Several of the things you mentioned are done at my school, but they are voluntary and pretty anonymous.

    Paying for yourself on a required field trip sounds bad enough, but expecting you to pay for the students is crazy.
     
  23. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    I've seen some pretty expensive situations. I mean, my school expects me to pay for just about everything beyond desks and chairs, but your admin takes the cake on this one.

    How many needy staff members are getting these donations because they used all their own money on similar donations in the past?
     
  24. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Good question. Find out how to get on the "needy" list. Then, you will have extra money to donate!
     
  25. Resentful

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    This seems very strange that the OP district thinks the teacher should pay. I wonder if the parents are required to bring in any type of proof of financial hardship. If not, I could imagine a lot of people milking it. "Oh, the teachers can pay? I don't have any money!". :rolleyes: (I bet it's the mom's with their hair and nails always "did".)

    I think sometimes as teachers we just have to say no. In my cases I tried the whole "I can't pay/afford to contribute to X, because I'm only making sub pay". Then, I get "Well, you have these supplies (they know I bought out of pocket)". DH get paid well and my coworkers found out.
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I worked at a school where the kids had much better phones, their parents drove much better cars and the kids ate out every day ($5-$10) for lunch. But I was expected to buy them paper and pencils from my own pay. When I balked at it I was looked at like I had grown an extra head. Since most of the students were on government assistance I was being an elitist snob for expecting them to buy their own school supplies. @@
     
  27. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Your family's monetary needs should trump most of the items you listed. I would've pitched a fit. :\
     
  28. bubbles

    bubbles Rookie

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    I'm in consensus with the other teachers here Jersey, that list is way out of control. Is there any way you can find other teachers who agree with you, but may be staying silent like you are? If so, maybe you could ban together to begin saying "no" to these outrageous requests.
     
  29. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Jan 19, 2013

    At my school, any student in need has costs covered for school-related activities...by the school.

    The school covers the cost of school dances ($5 fee) for a number of our students. All of our students and staff have access to free breakfast and those students who need it can get a recess snack and a lunch voucher from the guidance counselor.

    I do pay for some of my classroom supplies. I bought poster board for a project I'm giving my kids next week. It cost me $3 total. I also purchased a box of 144 golf pencils at the beginning of the year. I told my students that when they're gone, they're gone.

    I have contributed to our flower fund, which provides cards and gifts for staff members who lose family members, have babies, get married, etc. I participated in my school's secret santa this year.

    I am not rich. I am saving to buy a home. If I were required to pay for supplies for my students, field trips, etc., I wouldn't be working at that school. I just don't have the money.
     
  30. Proud2BATeacher

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    I never participate in anything thing at my school that is asking for a donation and then specifies a certain amount. I have been confronted in front of other teachers -- probably to embarrass me, but I stand firm on not participating in any donation collections that require me to put a specific number in the pot.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Are you a union member?
     
  32. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Jan 20, 2013

    YES!!!!!!!!! I feel the same way. My school basically MADE everyone donate at least $20 to The United Way. They sent an envelope around and made you cross your name off. I made a joke to my assistant stating, "We ARE the United Way." (I teach Self-Contained Special Ed.)

    But, yes, it's always something. ALWAYS!
     
  33. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    My school district cannot deny a student from attending a field trip if a parent doesn't pay. Unfortunately some parents take advantage of it and NEVER pay even though they can afford it. I hate knowing that the fees that the families that I know are choosing to do without necessities in order to pay for their child's field trip are actually helping to pay for families that can afford it (they have no problem buying their child PSP games, iPods, iPads, etc...) but won't consider sending money in because they know that we will take they child without it.
     
  34. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I'm sorry, I wouldn't do it.

    $120 is two weeks worth of groceries or a month of gas and turnpike tolls. I would tell my P that I could either take 5 kids on a field trip, not eat for two weeks, or not come to work for a month, plain and simple.

    My district is ridiculous in many ways - but I've never been forced to pay for a field trip or a collection.

    ETA: Especially considering my paycheck just went down $200 a month due to health insurance and taxes!
     
  35. Croissant

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    Are you sure these are all things you have to contribute to and it's not just an expectation you're putting on yourself? What I mean to say is, is this something they are expecting you to do, knowing you can't and you are convincing yourself you must meet that expectation? I did the same thing last year. This year I've forced myself to say no to certain things. I know that if I had the money, I would do it, but I'm very close to being on some of those lists myself and cannot afford to donate to everything.
     

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