No Spend Challenge

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Jul 29, 2019

    I'm going to attempt to not spend any of my own money on classroom necessities this year.

    I do have a budget which I will respect and try to use efficiently. I will not fall for "oh, it's just a few dollars here and there".

    I will allow myself room for must-have pretties of no significant educational consequences. But the basics, well, make do or do without.

    Wish me luck.
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 29, 2019

    I started this my 4th year of teaching and am about to enter year 10. I've spent very little over the years. A few years ago I started using planbook.com (used to be $12 per year, now it's $15). I really like the lay out and I'd already wasted a lot of time trying to create my own thing in google docs and couldn't come up with anything I like. The time saved is worth the small amount of money per year. However, I recently learned about planboard.com, which is similar but free for individual teachers, so I'm going to at least try that this year.

    I haven't purchased a single other thing. I very much wish other teachers would do this so that schools/districts would step up and actually provide appropriate materials and supplies. Currently, they see no reason to because teachers are often downright happy to buy their own supplies! When I say anything about not buying my own things/making do with what we have at school, the other teachers look at me like I have 3 heads.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Same. The only things I've bought for this year were a Plum Planner (because, like waterfall, I've found something that suits my personal planning style, I like it, and don't mind paying for it in order to make my life easier), a new teacher bag/backpack (just because I wanted it), and an insulated pouch (like a small lunchbox for snacks). Other than that, I refuse to spend my own money anymore. If it won't be something that I use directly to make my own life easier, I don't buy it. Fortunately, my principal is willing to provide everything the kids need and then some. Typically, in past years, I would even buy my own pens, just because I had specific preferences and didn't like the ones provided by the school. Now, I have a principal who gives us a link to an online catalog and an order form. We fill it out with whatever we want, and the secretary orders it. So I get the pens that I prefer, and no money comes out of my own pocket. I do buy a lot of PD type books, but I consider those to be for my own professional growth and don't mind spending the money on them. I no longer pay for books for my classroom library, however. Those either get purchased with school funds, or I use Scholastic points.
     
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  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Let me suggest that you share your strategy and resolve for the "no spend challenge" with team-mates and other teachers. I never used all of my allotted money at school, while those around me struggled. I would order some of their necessities and pass them along. This helped others save their hard earned money, while assuring all students had what they need. Making it known that you would utilize any surpluses for student needs only may bring you some financial help.
     
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  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Jul 30, 2019

    Will do.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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  8. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Aug 14, 2019

    The school year hasn't even started yet, and I've already spent $175. ugh. I'm hopeless when it comes to a notebook, marker, and colored pencil sale.
     
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  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Aug 15, 2019

    Best of luck!

    I don't tend to spend much on necessities (we get $300 from PTSA and $50 from the school budget), but can't resist splurging here and there for little gifts for the kiddos. We won't even speak of the amount I paid for a class set of books last spring ;) At least that's all optional, though.
     
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  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I usually don't spend a lot on my classroom, unless I forget to order something and need it last-minute :) I get $80 per class section, so $400 total. So far, this year I have only bought some washi tape just for fun, cup hooks to hang my cell phone holder, and supplies for the Marshmallow Challenge which I do on the first day.
     
  11. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2019

     
  12. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2019

    If I did this challenge some of my students would not even have pencils or paper which students must be provided by law.... It is a sticky situation.
     
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  13. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2019

    I used to spend a lot every year. I wish I had all of the $ I wasted. Now I only buy something if it is going to make my life a lot easier or saves a lot of time. I have a budget for it. ( Dave Ramsey and I worked it out. lol)
    We get very little budget $. The school gives us 250.00 a yr. We don't have as many resources as we need, but I am thankful for what we have. I have seen some southern schools that were in shambles.
    Good luck staying within your budget. I hope you can do it! :)
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2019

    ... But if it's required by law, isn't your school legally required to provide it?
     
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  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2019

    I've purchased stickers and two posters so far. These were optional items that I chose to get, not items that I need to get to do my job. I feel lucky to teach somewhere where this is possible, as I know it's not the case in many areas. We have supportive families, and if there are any basic supplies that students must have, parents are normally able to help provide them.

    When we do run short on supplies, I also take the "make do or do without" attitude. When students absolutely know I'm out of pencils, they seem to do a slightly better job keeping track of theirs and/or borrowing from a friend.
     
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  16. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  17. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Aug 17, 2019

    This was the first year that I’ve spent anything and it really was for decoration items.
     
  18. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2019

    You would think so.....but no. I think they give our department a certain amount of money, but it is the same as all the other departments and does not account for lab supplies which have to be purchased again and again. So the department does not buy pencils or paper, the school does not either so the teachers in my department have to... I am not sure if other departments on campus buy it for the kids or not. Also we do not get many lab supplies either sooo I guess the budget must be small since we have to purchase some lab supplies too.
     
  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I am lucky that my school gives us everything we ask for in terms of basic supplies but I do buy a few things for my own use. When I was in school it was unheard of for a teacher to give a pencil to a student. We had to borrow it or, obviously, bring it in ourselves. I remember my friend's brother came to our classroom to borrow paper from his sister because he didn't have any.
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Wow! I hope this goes well.

    For the afterschool sporting events work, I'm going to assume this wasn't part of their contract--I have had school carnival work specifically listed in my contract, thus was being paid for it. The wording they use in this, while yes, journalist words, has me thinking this was never agreed and contracted upon. I realize teachers can be a funny area as far as exempt/non-exempt goes, but if that work wasn't part of the contract, then yes, I'd wager overtime is required (depending on just how their pay works there).

    Buying all the school supplies: Yikes. Morally opposed to that, obviously.

    Buying freakin' auction items? I'm pretty sure you can't require that of your employees without agreed-upon writing.

    Providing daily lesson plans while on FMLA: No... that's not how it works at all....
     
  22. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Is this not a common practice though? Is it actually illegal? I've certainly heard of several teachers needing to do this.
     
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  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I could be wrong, but from what I understand FMLA forbids work requirements--the intent of FMLA is to protect the employee from job loss during a time of not working.

    I suppose a school could require lesson plans before FMLA goes into effect, but I'm pretty sure FMLA doesn't count if the employee is technically having to work after FMLA starts.

    This is especially true if the FMLA is unpaid, or using PTO.

    If a teacher is working daily while on FMLA and not being paid for it, something is sketchy.

    EDIT: I did some basic googling to attempt to back up my claims. Generally, an employer requiring an employee to work during FMLA is breaking the law; what employers can do mostly amounts to asking where this and that is and such things.

    And it strikes me as senseless. Why pay for a long-term sub if they can't even prepare lessons?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  24. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Me again. Sort of fell down the rabbit hole with the FMLA question.

    Here is a legal reference to a teacher required to work during FMLA.

    tldr: school required teacher to write lesson plans and put in grades during leave, Court ruled that was FMLA intrusion
     
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  25. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Thanks for the info and research :)
     
  26. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I've spent about $50 on classroom set up this year and I'm not planning on buying anything else. My new classroom came with a ton of math manipulatives in containers that I didn't want to use so I did replace them with dollar tree containers. (Granted--I brought in about $200 worth of stuff that I bought for my last job). I did spend about $10 on plastic folders for the kids where I'll be storing the kids' tests and quizzes. I wanted them all to be the same color so they would match. I hear that my new school provides basic supplies so teachers don't have to buy things like pencils, expo markers, etc. That was most of my expenses last year. We also had a supply budget and I hear that there is an opportunity to ask for more math manipulatives in a few months. So, I am trying to go on a no spend as well!

    I did purchase an expensive teacher planner but I don't really count that as a classroom supply. :)
     
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Sep 4, 2019

    [​IMG]
    High School
    Edition
    September 2019
    [​IMG]

    Teachers' Out-of-Pocket Supply Expenses Highest In California, Michigan
    California teachers spend more of their own money ($664) on supplies for their classrooms than their colleagues in any other states, closely followed by teachers in Michigan ($628). Nationally, teachers spend an average of $459, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more of their own money on supplies for their students than those in low-poverty schools. Read the report and the state-by-state data from the National Center for Education Statistics' 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey. Read more here.
    [​IMG]
     
  28. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    So far I only spent $3 on TpT and some folders from Staples because the folders we can order at school aren't the kind I wanted. So $10 all together isn't bad if I don't spend anything until Christmas!
     
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  29. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    This year I have spent... $0 on supplies for students. Bought myself a planner and pens, but I would have done that anyway even if I weren't a teacher so I dont count that. Teachers get some money to spend, but I also can ask the school for almost anything and my students and parents are very supportive with supplies.
     
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  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I've spent money, but I also got a lot from the school.

    We get $200 each year, and I used it to get colored printer paper, etc. I also had some money in my film account, and used it to replace some broken equipment. i also had some items purchased from my wishlist for Clear the Lists, and had a GoFundMe funded. But I also bought some impulse buys: new movie posters and frames for my room, some glitter gel pens, some colored pencils... More memory cards to make my life easier. A director's chair to perch in. I have no problem with that. I spend a lot of time in my classroom.
     
  31. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I have no problem buying things to make my life easier/ more enjoyable at school but I refuse to buy things parents are supposed to buy or the school is supposed to supply to us.
     
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  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm very much the same way. Goodies for me, I can happily do. The bare bones basics that others really ought to be providing by virtue of being the school/parents? Nope.
     
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