Why we pay out of pocket for classroom stuff.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Chalk, Aug 7, 2010.

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  1. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Ok gang.

    I have to ask why teachers buy stuff for their classroom that students should be bringing themselves or the school system should provide if the students are in a title school or low SOCECO environment.

    If students can't afford pencils and paper how does the school get away with demanding the teachers buy it? or do they demand it?

    Its like asking a bank teller to buy deposit slips for the customers or a McDonalds worker being told they need to buy condiments and napkins for the customers.

    In some states it is illegal to force employees to buy items for the company use out of their pocket so why in education?

    I am genuinely curious about the mentality behind this practice so please no flaming about my questions.
     
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  3. Teach'em

    Teach'em Companion

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    I've always wondered this, but still buy stuff anyway. I just wonder how much the school would provide if I didn't buy anything...because right now, they there is nothing that I need from them since I bought it all myself.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm in a Catholic school, so my answer won't be representative.

    We're not told to buy anything. And actually, I buy very little for my classroom-- some posters and stuff to brighten it up, but that's totally up to me.

    I suspect, though, that many people will answer in a similar manner-- they buy things because they want to, not because it's written into their contract anywhere.
     
  5. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    I am not required to buy anything for my classroom, but I feel like I should. I know I wouldn't have materials in my classroom if I didn't. My school does provide construction paper, copy paper, butcher paper. I am sure I could get pencils and paper if I asked, but I guess I never have asked. for the most part my students bring in the necessary supplies. I usually only have one student whose parents didn't buy them anything. I am wondering if it will be more this year due to the fact that a lot of people are out of work.
     
  6. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    My school provides a lot of the basics, but I am occassionally told to purchase something out of my own pocket. I don't know how they get by with that, but we also don't have a union.
     
  7. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    My school provides everything I need to teach and even provides resources for us to help the children that come without things. I've never been asked to buy anything for my classroom with the district I'm at now. However, in my previous district, I had to purchase my own supplies like tape, paper clips, scissors, pencil sharpener, etc. It was VERY expensive!

    When I buy now for the students, I buy because I WANT to. I feel that the children have enough to overcome without worrying that they don't have the same supplies as everyone else. I always keep extra items in my closet so I can get them to that student in a discreet manner. I watch for the sales at Wal-Mart and use that to stock up. It makes me happy to see a child in need with a smile on their face!
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've never been told to purchase anything out of my own pocket--every school-related purchase I have ever made has been 100% my own decision.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nobody has ever expected me to buy anything. I buy things like pencils, paper, folders, and notebooks ONLY when they are dirt cheap at the summer sales. Why would I ask the school to purchase those items when I was able to buy everyting I needed for the entire year for less than $5? It would have cost so much more to have asked the school to purchase the items.

    Anything else I buy for my classroom is just something I want to make my life easier, not something essential for my classroom.

    The school has always provided things I needed when I asked for them.
     
  10. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    I was talking with my aircraft maintenance brother the other day (he works for a large airline) and we were comparing notes on how much I pay for school stuff and how much he pays for his tools (they all have their own toolkit as apparently there is a difference between tools and some people need to have certain types) out of pocket and I'm thinking I'm coming out ahead :).
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

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    I've never HAD to buy anything. But it makes my job a lot easier when the kids have what they need-I can teach them better if I buy these things. I've never thought twice about it.

    School budgets are stretched so tightly now-if our school bought for everyone what I purchased this summer, we'd probably have to let a teacher go or give up some other necessity.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Mechanics pay for their own tools because they are very expensive to replace when lost or broken. Mechanics provide their own tools and replace them if they are lost or broken. The same for the cutting shears hairdressers use and the knives that chefs use. When the mechanic, hairdresser, or chef leaves a job, their tools, shears and knives go with them.

    Your brother does not have to provide grease, hydraulic fluid, or replacement parts for the aircraft he maintains. A hairdresser does not have to buy the product they use on customers hair. A chef does not have to provide any of the herbs or spices they use to cook.

    But many of the supplies that teachers supply every year are consumables - paper, pencils, glue, crayons.

    So why do we do it? Nothing stops us from asking students to supply the things not provided by our schools. However, we all know the frustration that takes place when you have 17 kids bring notebooks for an assignment, and three do not. Then you have a dilemma. If you provide notebooks to the three who did not bring them, it's not really fair to the 17 who did. But on the other side, allowing the three kids to fail due to a lack of having a notebook is not really an option either.
     
  13. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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  14. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    One word: WOW!
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Well, I teach at a private school and the parents supply all the materials for their kids. Pencils, notebooks, etc. including paper for the classroom (white, colored,).. Oh, I even added a dictionary for this year because we didn't have any! Can you believe it? Anyway, our students have to bring in their own supplies which works really nicely, but I have to tell you that organization during the first week is crazy! They literally come in with a huge garbage bag full of things! Yikes!
     
  16. mom2mikey

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    I think its different everywhere. I do not have to supply these things to the classroom or the students. We actually have prorgrams in our area where there are donations and then they get distributed to schools. If there isn't enough the school picks up the tab for the school supplies that students need if they don't have them.

    As a parent though I do send 2 of everything on the supply list and the tell the teacher to keep it for someone who needs it. I know several parents who do this and I have had parents from my class do the same in past years.
     
  17. sweetlatina23

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    You are lucky! Our principal tells us we have to completely brighten up our room and make it look welcoming to our students. I do, but that is a hefty chunk of $ that comes out of my pocket.

    As far as for school supplies I buy it only because its on special and i feel bad when some kids cant afford it, so i secretly hand them what they might need. There is a difference in those that can afford and those that have parents that dont want to buy it because they pay for tuition. Even if you have 3 kids buying crayons would only be .75 if you bargain shop. The other day I saw a lady buying school supplies like crazy at the dollar store, granted it sounds cheap, but it wasnt. Composition books were .50 not too long ago and later .69 at walgreens.

    I dont think teachers should have to pay for supplies, but I guess I still do it without thinking about it too much. Its a toss up.
     
  18. MelissainGA

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    I don't have to provide supplies. However, if I don't provide then some of my children wouldn't have anything. Our school budget is so tight it didn't even cover a complete toner for our printers, never mind the copy paper, or anything like a new pencil sharpener.

    I have difficulty telling a child that is 8 years old - "well you get a failing grade on your assignment because you didn't complete it. Never mind that the REASON you didn't complete it was because you didn't have a pencil and paper to do so."

    Therefore, I go to the sales that I can and then buy what they need.
     
  19. Harper

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    It is hard for some to bargain shop, especially if you don't have a car to get to those places, or time off from work to run from place to place, etc. So sad :(
     
  20. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think you know my answer. My new policy this year is that I don't buy anything. I'm on a strict budget.

    Paper? The kids gave me all the paper from their binders and notebooks last year at the end of the year. I have plenty. I also have a container full of scrap paper they can use.

    Pencils? There are plenty floating around.

    Crayons? I've got some in a drawer that I probably had 25 years ago when I first started teaching. Every year, kids bring in crayons and end up putting them in the drawer.

    I wouldn't dream of giving a kid a zero on an assignment because he didn't have a pencil. But I might give him a detention strike if he doesn't look for one.

    I've decided I'm out of the parenting business. (That doesn't mean I'm unkind; I'm just not raising your kid for you.)
     
  21. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    I'm with you on that. I make it sound easy, but I have to beg for rides. I don't know how to drive (i have no excuse for never learning, except I will soon? ) But yes it is tough, my husband hasnt had a working vehicle for two weeks. Sorry!
     
  22. cmw

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    One reason I buy stuff is b-c I want all students to be on equal ground when completing work. (e.g. I provide markers & crayons when doing an art project so everyone has the opportunity to create something great. )
    A second reason I buy stuff is b-c I like my classroom to be inviting & exciting for the kids & for me. I spend at least 8 hours a day in that space & want to feel good in it. I like to have lots of organizational stuff (shelves, crates...), plants, posters, fun pointers, etc...
    I'm lucky that my fiance doesn't fuss about the money I spend. I also itemize when I do my taxes so I get some of it back. :D
     
  23. sweetlatina23

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    I'm sorry for those that live in California and cannot ask students for anything. That must be really tight on the budget. This year especially for me has seemed very difficult to afford anything, aI cant imagine how it is for you.
     
  24. Mrs. Q

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    I'm not required to buy anything; in fact, I'm probably getting $500 for supplies for my classroom, but I'm going to use it for memberships so that my kids can be eligible for competitions and scholarships.

    I'm a first-year teacher, so I spent a lot out of pocket, but most everything was posters, little baskets and containers, things to decorate so that my students and I would all feel more comfortable in what was a really big, really drab room.

    I did buy a ton of folders and composition books -- which may have totaled $30-$40 all together, that I'm giving my kids to use -- but I got them for 1 cent or 25 cents, and it just seemed easier to already have what I was going to require them to get.
     
  25. gigi

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    Here in my part of NH schools post supply lists for students. You could walk into Walmart and find school lists by grade. (this list is also sent home to students and available on line). This includes crayons, pencils, colored pencils, pencil box,glue etc.
     
  26. yarnwoman

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  27. kimrandy1

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    Me, too. No one has every told me to buy anything. I buy things that will make life and learning easier for me and my kids. I don't think twice about it.

    Teachers, on the whole, seeem to be pretty driven people with perfectionist tendencies. I know that describes me. If I need something in order to do my job the best way possible, I buy it. Period.
     
  28. newtoclass

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    I'm a first year teacher who is lucky enough to have the school supply everything that I need to teach. The only things that I needed to purchase for my classroom were my bins and other storage containers. I feel that is understandable because should I leave the school or the classroom those things go with me. I also bought some decorations for my classroom.
     
  29. TeacherNY

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    I am not buying anything for my classroom unless it is 1 cent or maybe 25 cents from the Staples sales. I don't make enough to supply kids. Parents need to realize that KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE...deal with it or don't have any!
     
  30. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Look here for the news about San Diego School District.
     
  31. caslan

    caslan Rookie

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    I am not required to purchase anything for my classroom, but I do it anyway. It's generally things that I want to improve instruction/classroom environment (pillows for the reading area, book baskets, etc). I could take the time to fill out a purchase order to get these things, but I have an issue with patience (meaning I don't like to wait for things :), so I buy it. I use almost all of my classroom money to buy trade books for my classroom library. I have spent a little less each year, partly because I have accumulated more things, but partly because I know I can't keep spending so much on my classroom. I am learning (slowly) to wait for things and avoid buying things that are not absolute necessities. I don't feel it is my responsibility (per se) to provide to the less fortunate students, but I wouldn't want them to go without either. There's not a great solution :(
     
  32. ms.

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    All of the mechanics I know do not buy tools for work, the only exception would be a mechanic who owns his own business. This makes sense, if you are a teacher who owns a school as a private business it's expected you will have to buy "tools."

    As most teachers do not own a school, it doesn't make sense for them to buy tools. I know my friend who is a diesel mechanic doesn't spend a penny on work tools, but he doesn't own the shop he works at. My uncle, a golf course mechanic, doesn't buy any tools. The owners buy all the tools they need.

    Joe Shmo Citizen has no idea that teachers buy any classroom supplies or materials. My family members have been shocked at what basic necessities I've had to buy. Although being very thrifty helps.
     
  33. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I think its harder on elementary (and lower elem at that). I feel that we have to have more things. Maybe not, but I see a big difference when I go into a HS or even a 5th grade room.
     
  34. mrachelle87

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    I buy it because the paperwork and the wait to get the PO filled out, then taken to their store, then bringing the receipt into the office, and then I have to sign all the PO sheets and the receipt in front of an office clerk are awful. By the time I get the PO, the sale is off. SO NOT WORTH IT...the cost of the asprin for the headache would be just as high.
     
  35. missalli

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    I've never been told to buy anything, but sometimes it's easier to just get it on my own (like the folders and paper I bought at Staples yesterday) instead of waiting until school starts and then waiting for the school to order it.

    Most teachers get a couple hundred dollars for classroom supplies, but I'm funded from a different source so the same rules don't apply. Last year I had virtually nothing until I made a big show of scrounging materials from other teachers, who then went to the principal wondering why I was having to scrounge in the first place. Money miraculously appeared! :whistle:
     
  36. TeacherApr

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    First off, when there is no budget and money is being taken away from your school by the state, there's not much you can do but buy things for your classroom.

    Secondly, our employers (at least speaking from my employer) do NOT require us to purchase anything.

    WHY do we do it? So we can teach and the students can learn.....what other choice do we have?
     
  37. timsterino

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    This is a real annoying issue in our profession. We do it because we care about our students but the fact of the matter is we should not HAVE to do it. The only saving grace is that I get about $200 lead money for supplies at the beginning of the year (but that only covers a small fraction of what I buy).
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm fairly sure that, even if they somehow missed that message ahead of time, by the time a child is old enough to enter school, the parents understand that. At that point, it's already been several years of food and clothing and doctor's appointments and all the rest.

    Have parents actually asked you to spend your own money on materials for their kids? That has never been my experience.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

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    Mine have. "The teacher last year just bought everything for him. are you going to do that?" By everything she meant uniform, backpack, shoes, coat, supplies, field trips. The teacher last year was married to a wealthy lawyer and was the daughter of a wealthy doctor. I am married to a public school teacher and the daughter of an activities director at a nursing home. No, I'm not going to pay for your children. If I could afford to have kids, I'd have my own, thanks.
     
  40. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    SCMOM - In Australia, public education is free, however, that is the only part that is free - the education part. Schools basically provide a teacher, a room, desks, chairs and some resources. Everything else, parents pay for - school supplies, photocopy paper, uniforms, excursions, etc, because these things are not 'education'. What then tends to happen is that schools then have a fundraising committee on the P&C to raise funds for the extra bonus resources schools would like to purchase or for new facilities. Some schools actually employ a fundraising agent (but they're the rich private ones).

    I do believe that the reason I have stayed in the same year level for 5 years is because I have now accumulated so many resources, and many of them are not transferable to another year level.
     
  41. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    No, I've never been asked. It just kills me to see that people here are required to do so (if not asked directly, then take it upon themselves because the parents don't buy the stuff). It's one thing to WANT to buy the items for your class but it sounds like they are now EXPECTED to which is totally different.
     
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