Ordering for the School Year
That supply budget seems to vanish very quickly. After ordering pencils, pencils,
pencils, and more pencils, there is nothing left for all of the projects that the students
enjoy so much. And, after ordering some paper and glue stick for 125 students over ten
months, there will probably not be anything left for high-interest technological gadgets.
Unless the teacher is willing to have a daily struggle over students bringing a pencil to
class, meaning the pencils will be taking up much of the budget, there is going to have
to some creativity, sharing, and give and take involved in the ordering process.
Most teachers have about $250.00-$500.00 to spend on supplies for the next
school year. This figure does not include books or computers, but it does include items
like bulletin board decorations (which no longer seem to be reusable, since over the
course of the year students feel they can write on them and rip them down when the
teacher is absent), paper, pens, colored pencils, poster board, videos or DVDs, machines
on which to present the videos or DVDs, overhead transparencies, markers (dry erase,
overhead, and washable), erasers, chalk, portfolio folders, file folders, printer toner.
$500.00 may look like a lot of money at first, but ten boxes of 144 pencils costs
approximately $120.00. If a teacher in middle school sees 125 students a week, and 50
pencils are “borrowed” a week, then in around 30 weeks, there will be no more pencils,
and that is figuring low, because the student is not going to bring that pencil to class all
The average teacher puts about $500 of his/her own money into the classroom
per year; that is according to a 2002 report. That is a personal choice, by a dedicated
teacher who wants to add a little extra to whatever is going on in the classroom,
whether it is for rewards, supplies, or trip fare, whatever. Some teachers bring supplies
that are at home to the classroom, such as older televisions, educational games their
own kids have outgrown, and other items, such as computer disks or software, electric
fans in places where none are supplied. Some teachers will not spend a dime in the
classroom or bring anything in either. This is also a choice.
Teachers need to look into sharing with each other. Perhaps if four teachers
each have $25.00 left over, that is $100.00, enough for a Math Safari that can be shared
(and devise a schedule for students to use it). Share televisions and DVD players. Bring
the antiquated digital camera from home to liven up lessons. Also, look into what DVD’s
are available at the public library and determine which teachers are teaching the same
topic at that time. Arrange for a mass showing of the DVD. That is another $20.00
saved! Have students work in groups, rather than individually, to save on art supplies,
and also work in conjunction with the art teacher so skills can be incorporated or not
Teachers tend to work in isolation and this should not be. This year, when
ordering, collaborate. Someone may lend you the $1400.00 digital microscope you need
for just one class period.
Hercules Editing and Consulting
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