Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

It's that time of year again. Bright eyed children are waking up, putting on their best first day of school outfits, and hopping on the bus to get their education. Now is also the time where parents post their complaints about back to school shopping, or to be more specific, the supplies they have to buy. Most public schools will provide a list of supplies they expect a student to enter the classroom with. I understand how some of those things may seem tedious, like a specific grade of product, but in the end there's a reason it's necessary for you as a parent to provide what's on that list.

Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

To begin, I'd like to ask who you believe buys the supplies for your child if they don't come to class with what they need. Most would say it's the school itself that pays, right? Wrong. Most schools will buy a small amount of classroom supplies, if any, to provide their employed teachers. However, they often have a set limit on how much they'll give each teacher. I remember in freshman year having to copy answers from a worksheet into my own notebooks, most of those worksheets having an unrelated subject on the other side, because my teacher was only permitted one package of printer paper per school year on the school's dime. The rest he had to pay out of pocket so that his students had the ability to work. According to a Federal Department of Education survey posted in the New York Times, 94% of public school teachers in the United States reported paying for the supplies for their classrooms with no reimbursement or financial help from their schools.

Well, what's the big deal if teachers have to pay for their own supplies? It's not like they're expensive, right? The average yearly salary of a public school teacher in the united states this last school year is only around $48,814--$64,552. That seems like pretty good pay, doesn't it? But that doesn't include the cost of setting up their classrooms, getting to work each day, finding a sitter or day care during school hours if they've got children, the cost of supplies they have to buy for themselves, and the cost they have to pay for each of their students' supplies.

Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

Most classrooms have about 30 children in them depending on the location, and many middle and high schools have seven periods per school day. If you multiply 30 children per seven classes, the teacher would be held responsible for around 210 children every week day for a full school year. A quality pack of pencils can cost around $4-$6 (cheap products just won't cut it, as they don't last nearly as long), and comes with 12 pencils. Even if each student managed to make one pencil work for a month, the teacher is out 70-105 dollars monthly, and that's only taking pencils into consideration (and how often can a child keep one pencil for a whole month? Most high school seniors can't even do that.) Then there are markers, colored pencils, notebooks, loose leaf paper, binders, and more. You can't honestly expect someone to put that much of their money earned at work back into their work, can you? That's like retail workers being forced to buy the bags out of their own checks, it just doesn't make sense.

Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

Teachers work hard to educate your children, and during the school year they see your kids nearly as long as you do. It's unlikely that you have that many children enrolled in school to buy supplies for, so please don't put that responsibility on your child's educators. It's understandable to be upset about how much you need to spend so your child can receive a quality education, but before you post that angry status just remember how much Mrs. or Mr. Teacher will have to pay to supplies the extra necessities for your children. I believe that schools themselves should provide at least a bit more financial help for those supplies, but until that happens it's up to parents and teachers to split those costs. Just buy your kids their pencils, and why not buy a nice dollar trinket to show your appreciation to those educators who value their jobs and care for your children like their own? Best wishes for a safe and happy school year!

Back to School Shopping: The Unfair Disadvantage of Teachers

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lexythelou22 is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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  • https://goo.gl/images/SUf1yT

    Seriously, I don't mind so much paying for my class's supplies... IF PARENTS REALIZE I'M PAYING FOR IT!

    When they don't realize it. When they think the Legocad, the Mars Yard, the under the sea decorations, the maps, the charts, the papers, the clips, the pencils (colored and regular), the crayons, the binders, the staplers, and a host of other stuff (this is really the tip of the iceberg) just somehow came from the Fairy Godmother, then I get upset.

    This is why donations are so GREATLY appreciated, and why 99 Cent Stores and Dollar Trees are our friends.

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    • Are you in education, Lexy?

    • I'm not in education, but while in high school I became life long friends with several of my teacher and we discuss things about their careers. I wanted to go into education for years, but after hearing what it's like from a first person perspective made me change my mind. I still hang out eith a few of those teachers now thst I've graduated 😅

    • MAPS! Can't believe I forgot about that. Maps are essential for any general purpose classroom, even if it's just a simple map of whatever country you're in. I just got two wall maps in the mail yesterday - they were on Amazon for $20 each. I had to pay for it, of course. At least the walls won't be totally bare now.

      Another thing I had to buy for my room last year was a Canadian flag. Each room has a wall mount for a flag, but the school didn't have enough flags to go around even though they want one in each room.

  • Nice Take!
    If you're a teacher, then watch "Teachers" on TV Land, and you might feel a little better about your unfair disadvantages. It's on Tuesdays @ 10pm, by the way.
    I haven't watched it as I shut down during the night and have little confidence in trying a new show but I have heard some funny-ass things and rude-ass remarks from teachers on that show during the ads for the next episode or the general show ads.
    But nice Take. Watch the show and you might laugh and relate to it. You're welcome.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • My younger cousin is a Kindergarten teacher and I can promise none of the parents probably have the money to buy the school supplies, some kids in my cousin class sometimes don't even have winter coats. It's not the greatest part of town where she works and most of the parents don't really have money, so I think my cousin probably makes sure to buy the school supplies or sometimes they have people donate stuff to them. So, not all people can afford school supplies. I think it depends very much where you work. I can understand where you are coming from though.

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What Guys Said 8

  • "$48,814--$64,552"
    That averages to $56,683/yr. But there are only about 185 workdays a year, coming out to be $38.30/hr, which is almost $80,000 a year for full time equivalency.

    "doesn't include the cost of setting up their classrooms, getting to work each day, finding a sitter or day care"
    That is a false equivalency. EVERYONE who works has these things.

    You left something out. PENSIONS!

    The private sector does not get pensions and they don't get to retire early either. The wife of a high school friend of mine just retired as a teacher after working 25 years. She worked 25 years and will get paid without working for another 40 or 45 years. That is outrageous and is why classroom sizes are too high and governments are reducing services while tax revenues are going up.

    Teachers are spoiled brats. They choose a job at which they work half the year and then complain about the pay. Most start off eager and diligent, then soon discover that how well they perform has nothing to do with how much they get paid. Do a great job or do a poor job and get paid the same. So why put in the effort? As long as they show up and don't have sex with a student, they can't be fired. And then they start talking about retirement when they get close to that point of getting paid the rest of their lives not to work.

    What we need to do is to ban the unions and pay and fire teachers based on merit or lack thereof. Go to a full year school calendar with a 2 week break and 6 holidays. Abandon pensions for social security and self-funded 401k.

    There are some great teachers, but there are a lot more awful, bratty ones.

    The best teacher I ever had did not have a degree in education. She was an experienced research chemist. I have also at times taught high school kids in advanced math and I keep hearing the same feedback "you are the best teacher I've ever had". We are outstanding precisely because we do not have degrees in education.

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    • But this is about the fact that teachers have to pay for the supplies parents or the schools themselves should be paying for? No one should have to purchase the supplies for their jobs unless they get to keep those supplies or use them how they see fit.

    • You are quibbling over a few hundred dollars when I am discussing tens of thousands of dollars.

      Lots of folks have business expenses as part of their job.

      If teachers didn't have such an outrageous pension demand, then there would be money in the budget to buy those supplies.

  • With my girlfriend being an elementary school teacher, she could highly relate to the complaints of parents having to pay for a lot of the school supplies because of school fundings falling short and needing to budget their money effectively. I was absolutely appalled when my girlfriend along with her mother had to pay near $1,000 for extra supples for the entire year including Expo Markers, classroom decorations to be met by administration's standards, hand wipes, tissues, pencils, notebooks and prizes as incentives when the kids do a great job for the week when administration didn't have extra money for them! Far too often do parents underestimate the stress level of financial instability within each school district thinking mostly of their children as opposed to teachers as well.

    It's no wonder Arizona, the state I live in has one of the worst education systems in the United States when teachers are underpaid, treated unfairly when administration favors parents/students over them and being constantly harassed by parents who have more rights then teaches do. These supplies don't come cheap and it's unfortunate how the government doesn't produce more funds for the quality of education. My girlfriend and I can relate to this MyTake a lot since she's been a teacher for almost 4 years now and feels the pain of people having to pay out of pockets for the basic supplies. Thank you so much for your insight on this!

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  • Goodtake. An ex girlfriend of mine was a teacher, I saw her a while ago and she told me she had quit after 6 years being tired of being shit on by parents, scoop boards and pupils. She's over in China teaching English language and English literature to Chineese kids making four times what she was making in the US for a lot less work.

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  • what I hate about back to school time, working at Walmart, is that I have clean up after you animals who can't seem to find what you need with out completely tearing through the back to school section. I also hate it how parents feel they have to by everything to the letter, then they through a tantrum when we don't have it because they had to wait to the last fucking minute to buy the school supplies

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  • Great job with this myTake. This is a really important issue, and teachers shouldn't be expected to pay for their students' supplies.

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  • But parents don't care. For them, you're just their substitutes, and your job is to raise and provide for their kids. If you don't, they'll blame you, and your boss will side with them.

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  • yeah teachers are WAY underpaid.. my brother's wife is a biology teacher.. i have seen her paychecks and they are not easy to live on..

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  • Nice Take !

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What Girls Said 8

  • I understand what you're saying, but it isn't just teachers. There are honestly a lot of jobs out there that require employees to pay for their own supplies. For example, my dad is an HVAC technician. His employer provided him with a company van but he had to completely stock it himself with the tools and equipment he needs to do his job. The amount he has spent on the tools and other items he has bought over the years is probably in the tens of thousands of dollars range. It sucks that he has to put so much of his own money into doing his job but that's just the reality of life sometimes.

    I know car mechanics and other tradesmen who also have to buy their own tools so there are MANY people in the same boat as teachers. I'm not saying this to downplay how teachers feel, I'm only putting it into a broader perspective because when I hear people talk about employees paying for their own supplies, it always seems to be only teachers that are brought up but this is an issue that affects tons of people in a wide variety of professions.

    All that being said, I never personally had an issue with purchasing my own school supplies when I was in school and I won't have a problem doing it when I have my own children either. The only thing that ever bothered me was the fact that in some cases, there would be items on the school supply list that we NEVER actually used in class so it kinda felt like a waste. After a while, I started ignoring some of the items and only bought the bare necessities that I knew I would need (such as pencils, paper, binders, glue sticks, notebooks, etc.).

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    • I honestly had no idea someone in that field would have to buy their own equipment. That's ridiculous.

    • Show All
    • The private sector is different than the public sector though, and especially the public education sector. Nobody should have to buy materials for work out of their own pocket, I agree. However, teachers and parents who are part of the public school community REALLY shouldn't have to buy basic supplies. In an ideal world, pencils, pens, chalk, notebooks, paper, etc would be paid for through tax dollars coming from parents and the general public. People are ALREADY paying money towards public education that is eventually downloaded to schools through various means, but the government doesn't give all that money back to the school boards.

      There are a lot of families in my city who can't even afford to feed their children a meager breakfast before school, let alone afford a pack of pencils and notebooks. And since pencils and paper aren't widely supplied at many schools, those kids have to make do without. So teachers pick up the slack.

    • @musicbrain5 I don't disagree, I definitely think since people pay taxes and the fact that education is funded by the state that more money should go towards school supplies for everyone. I was just making a point that it's common for a lot of people to have to put their own money into their jobs and stuff they need for it, people tend to not think about that. It sucks for everyone who has to pay their own money for tools, supplies, and materials to do their jobs.

  • Absolutely, 100% true. I'm a teacher, and the first day of school here is September 4th. Right now, I'm budgeting for things I'll need for my classroom, as I'll have to start setting it up in a couple of weeks. They moved me to a new room this year, so I pretty much have to start from scratch again.

    I'm fortunate enough to work at an inner city elementary school that is in a fairly affluent area, so most of the children who go there are from families that can easily afford basic supplies. The problem I have though, is that families are forced to buy these basic supplies in the first place. The second issue is that I'm forced to buy many basic supplies for the room, like extra chalk (the school starts you off with a couple of packs of white and coloured chalk, but that doesn't last more than a couple of months).

    I take issue with all of this because it's a public school, meaning it's funded through tax dollars. The government distributes those funds to school boards across the province (I'm in Canada), and the boards further distribute the money to schools, often with different schools getting different amounts of money based on need, location, real estate values, amount of students enrolled, etc. Many schools don't have enough money left over after paying for maintenance costs (and if you saw the condition of some schools, you know they're stretching that budget as much as possible). The left over money goes towards incidentals, like office supplies, computers, books, PE equipment, playgrounds, and classroom fixtures and supplies. Parents and the general public are already paying taxes to support public education, so they really shouldn't have to pay extra for basic supplies.

    So after all that, teachers don't get a lot to work with. The school has very little money left over to reimburse us for anything. But life goes on and students still need notebooks, pencils, glue, erasers, etc. I usually buy a bulk pack of all that stuff for students who forget. Classroom decorations are on my dime as well.

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  • Honestly, at this point I don't think teachers should have to buy any shit anymore there so many people who don't properly get their kids school supplies and their kid mooch off on other kids or steal from the teachers it's ridiculous I remember in grade 8 some kids will come up and grab my stuff without asking to borrow it I remember ripping MY stuff out of this kid hand and told him off. Like Jesus Christ then someone went and stole my calculator they literally went through my pencil case stole it never gave it back. I had to spend the rest of the school year without one because I wasn't going to buy another one if another little shit was going steal it. These type of kids go on in high school not being prepared for anything. Parents need to start being better parents because they not that great at parenting.

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    • I agree. I wish the school did more to help, because I know some parents just can't afford it. School supplies are expensive, and there are a lot of things you can't get from dollar tree (or can, but they break immediately)

    • Yeah I know but right now I am pretty sure most of these parents are well off to get these supplies they just not because their lazy as fuck. But honestly I don't think I put my child in public school in North America shit going downhill here.

    • Besides if they don't have pencils too bad! no one should have to help these kids if they have parents that can go out and buy them this stuff!

  • My mother is a retired teacher. She spent a lot of money over the years.

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  • I loved back to school shopping as a kid. I felt so special loading up on pens and five star binders and stuff.

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  • Spot on. Our government simply refuses to fund education anymore and I don't know why. Kids need to learn and become functioning adults.

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  • Nice take

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  • They can do well as home school teachers

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