Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Back to School Supplies - Why Classroom Supplies

I know it's rude to talk about money, but it's something we all deal with every day. It impacts almost every choice we make . . . except for teachers, maybe our job selection. We all wonder, so let's just throw manners aside and get real with it.

Depending on the school, the PTSA, and even the state, teachers spend more or less out-of-pocket on supplies. In Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue once issued teachers $100 gift cards to buy classroom supplies, but this sunny "Sonny Money" tradition ended in 2006. Some PTA organizations reimburse teachers up to a certain amount for classroom supplies. Does anyone have a state that has a great program for this?

So, depending on the economic situation in the school, teachers might purchase

  • Snacks for an "I'm hungry" drawer where students can grab a snack if they end up at school without lunch.
  • Hygiene items for a hygiene closet for students who aren't supplied deodorant, sanitary products, or toothpaste at home (this is most often coordinated with counseling or the school nurse)
  • Classroom cleaners including a broom or Swiffer, paper towels, and board cleaner
  • Hand sanitizer or if lucky enough to have a sink in the classroom, soap, paper towels
  • Prizes for the prize bucket, including stickers, candy, school supplies, trinkets
  • Classroom decor
  • Kleenex/facial tissue
  • School supplies, including scissors, Expo markers, batteries, markers and crayons, chart paper, glue, pencils, pens, paper
I'm lucky to be in a high school with resources to supply most of what I need. Because I won't have to buy pens, my kids don't need a snack or hygiene drawer, and I'm forgoing most decor and that new "teacher chair" I want--can I make duct taping an entire chair look chic? Stay tuned.--, my personal budget this year for classroom supplies will be about $100. 

We've all seen the videos of parents joking about buying school supplies. Funny. Lady, I guarantee your kid uses those Kleenex, so buy the supplies. 

For fun, let's get mathy. #mathisfun

It varies by state, but teachers generally work (and get paid for) 190 days with many states requiring 180 instructional days for students. Just for gigs, let's say my 175 students each use a Kleenex every other day. That's 95 tissues per kid and 16,625 tissues per school year. For the basic, generic, lotion-free, 100-count box, that's 167 boxes of tissue per year. For the fancy, Kleenex pack with 160-count per box (in my supply list), that's 104 boxes of tissue per year. That's about 17 of the 6-pack in my shopping list, coming in at $144.16 on deep discount from Amazon. Most students probably won't use that many tissues, but you hate to have to live life as the Kleenex Nazi.

Forgetting all the other supplies, let's just do an experiment with hand sanitizer. With the original numbers and frequency of use, assuming one pump per use and one ounce of product per pump, a classic 28 oz. Germ-X might get 28 uses. That's 594 containers of Germ-X, currently $3.97 at Wal-Mart. The total there is an insane $2,358.18. Of course, no teacher on the planet would do that. Picture long walks to the school restroom or a sweet, germy pair of hands. #truth

Spend about $30. Buy the classroom supplies. Forget the holiday present if it's an either/or.


These are affiliate links. Hopefully, they save you time and money and make you, your child, and some teachers very happy! Elementary teachers usually have a few more items on the list--glue, baby wipes, scissors, markers, but here are some basics. If you use all the links, it'll cost you $32.78 before shipping or tax.

If every student did this, a high school teacher would be supplied FOR YEARS.

But they won't, so be a star. #support

Kleenex - $5.99 for a 4-pack
Hand sanitizer - $13.96 for a 2-pack of massive 67 oz. pump packs
Expo markers - $6.99 for 2 4-packs (or $3.19 for a basic black 4-pack from Target)
Lysol wipes- $2.85 for a basic 15-count container
Composition notebook- $.50 from Staples or $2.99 for the classic, 100-page, marbled


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