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How much are you going to spend?
Old 07-12-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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Venting!

Over the years I have resented more and more the amount of my own money that I spend on supplies for my students to use. I am talking about basic school supplies that parents are NOT supplying. I teach middle school. We put out a very modest supply list every year for the basics like: pencils, paper, pens, colored pencils etc.
Many students show up the first day (and every day after) without anything they need. I have gone thru thousands of pencils over the years and nearly as many pens, paper, erasers, sharpies, colored pencils, markers. Any attempts I have made to keep the little darlings from walking out with my items have been futile. If I do anything to "mark" my supplies, they just destroy them instead of stealing them.

My household is on a tight budget. We have kids in college and high school, I really have my hands full making sure they have everything they need. My dh and I have not seen a movie in a theater in over a year. We make sacrifices to make sure we can supply the children we created with what they need.

I know times are tough. But if you have money for cigarettes, soda, ,fast food etc. you have enough money to go to the dollar store or Wal-Mart and buy your kids pencils and paper!

All of this is to say, I am thinking of not buying my students any supplies this year. I am going to get myself a few things that will help me enjoy my work environment more. I am hoping to find a mini fridge on craigslist!

My question to you...how much do you spend on supplies that were on your supply list that was given to parents?


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nothing
Old 07-12-2013, 09:09 AM
 
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I don't spend a dime of my money on supplies for my students. I do spend money on things that make my classroom an enjoyable and organized space. We will use whatever is supplied by parents. Some send nothing, while others send extra. My school provides some supplies. But that's it. I have 3 children in private school and in college. It is my responsibility to provide for them.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:18 AM
 
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Ditto frecklejuice. I spend as much of my money as I want to make my job easier and more comfortable - fridge, decor, curriculum guides and resources - and on reading books because I enjoy buying those, but nothing to make the parents' job easier or cheaper.

Consumables that are meant to be purchased by the school or parents get purchased by the school or parents. I used to get drawn in by the penny sales for pencils and crayons and stuff, but if I can buy those things so can the parents. And like you said, the kids just destroyed or stole them anyway.

Unless teachers stop filling in the gaps, parents and budget makers are going to keep leaving gaps.
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Supplies
Old 07-12-2013, 09:43 AM
 
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I really stopped buying and spending so much money after I was married. Now I but things that will make my life easier, like and electric pencil sharpener. I don't but pencils and crayons. We have been told to not buy things on the supply list by admin. The school supplies extras like pencils, crayons, paper and folders. Since my kids have been in school I feel like, if I can go to and pick up supplies, my parents can too.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:58 AM
 
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I work at a private school. Our kids pay a $350 fee each year to pay for consumable workbooks and supplies. Each teacher makes a list of what's needed for their room and we go shopping at the end of the summer to pick up what we need.

For the most part our supply list includes a binder for science and social studies, pencils, folders, and various types of papers.


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Old 07-12-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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I used to but I don't anymore. I have some supplies available (leftovers from previous years) for communal use, such as pencils, crayons, glue and a few pairs of scissors. If the child says something about wanting their own box of crayons, I nicely tell them to mention it to their parents. Most times they bring them in.

We only ask for very basic supplies, such as the ones listed above. Things like pencil crayons, felts, fancy duotangs are just extras and not necessary so it does not matter if families send these in.

Keeping in mind, my perspective is from a suburban school in a "middle-class" area. In my area, I find it hard to believe that people can not afford a box of crayons. Our dollar store sells Crayolas for $1.00. I suppose it could be finance issue in some cases...but in many cases, I think people don't bother bc someone will step in so their child does not do without...it just no longer happens to be me.

This year, a family did not send many supplies, including a scrapbook. I sent home a general reminder, so as not to single anyone out, the scrapbook never came in. So their child just brought home all their art in a bag. Not a big deal. I personally would want it in a scrapbook...but if that is not how they want to spend their money, then fine. Art in a bag it is. In years past, I would have bought the scrapbook myself...but I have decided that it is not my place.

Plus it irritates me when I see some families pull up in a hugely expensive SUV but can't send in a pencil. So in order to not be irritated, I have to choose to not spend my money.
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Very little.
Old 07-12-2013, 10:17 AM
 
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Every three years or so I like to revamp my already minimal classroom décor theme and I do that out of pocket. I am trying something new with clothespins as a means to display student work-- I found two huge packages at the dollar store and I plan on gluing crayons to the top of them once those go on sale.

As for paying for school supplies for other people's children, I don't. I do not buy them pencils out of my own pocket, ever. I am given a small classroom budget that I spend very carefully-- I buy enough pencils to give the students one new wooden pencil every month. I use the Love and Logic approach to complaints of not having a pencil. I smile sadly and say, "I'm sorry to hear that," or, "Wow, that's a bummer," and walk away. I have a little bin where I put the broken pencils we find on the floor, including broken crayons and colored pencils. Students are always welcome to visit the bin. I know they would like for me to put a brand new sharpened pencil in their hand every time they ask for one, but I don't. As for other supplies like glue, scissors, etc., we don't really use them and when we do, I have a class set I've kept for years and my colleagues and I share our supplies amongst each other. My neighbor teacher has a great class set of scissors that I use and she asks to use my class set of protractors frequently. We're responsible with them so it works well for us.

It is a shock for some students and their parents when they get into upper elementary and discover the teachers aren't providing pencils and are not preparing gifts of loaded pencil boxes for them. Many of the primary teachers at my school do this and they have a system of a keeping a community box of sharpened pencils that they (the teacher) replenish and oversee daily. That's a fine system but it's not for me, and given that bringing a binder, pencils, and paper is a requirement in junior high. Students must take care of the supplies they're given, bring their own, or go without.

Our district does not permit us to prepare supply lists to give to parents. We may prepare a list of donation requests if we wish, but the way they want it worded is so Draconian most of us don't bother. If a parent asks if I need anything, I always say that wooden pencils and tissue are greatly appreciated throughout the year.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:36 AM
 
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This year little to nothing because I'm buying a house and will be broke. It depends year to year what I spend. Some years I spend quite a bit and other years I spend almost nothing. The last few years I have been spending more on ink and cardstock because I've been printing stuff off TpT and Pinterest. I'm choosing to spend more money on manipulatives rather than basic supplies.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:37 AM
 
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I've found that supplying items for things parents should supply just backfires. Kids have no motivation at all to even ask their parents to buy them these supplies, because, "Ms. KAN will just give me some". Most parents don't even know that you are paying for those items. Most assume the school pays for it.

I teach younger kids and most of our school supplies are provided by the school budget, but I would feel sorry for the kiddos who would show up with no snack. I used to get one of those giant cartons of goldfish or graham crackers for those kids with no snack, so they'd at least have something to eat (they got free lunch), but I noticed that more and more kids started not having a snack. Guess what? Word had gotten out among parents that "school supplies the snack, you don't need to bring one". Kids were telling their parents that I gave them a snack! The parents didn't realize that I had been purchasing the snack from my own money!

I no longer buy things that parents should supply.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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I generally don't buy ANY of that. I know we have some very generous churches in our area that actually host school supply days. So the parents and kids show up with proof they live in our district and are supplied with basic supplies.

We also occasionally get donations and have stock piled them in a closet.


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Maybe $10
Old 07-12-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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maybe 10 dollars on supplies (pencils, cap erasers, I'm on colored pencils this year).

I buy a couple of packs of pencils. Once they are gone, they're gone. I do pick up pencils, pens, etc. off the floor and put them in a pencil cup for the kids to use. At the end of the year, I go through the lockers after kids have left and grab notebooks that are left behind. One goes in my top left hand desk drawer and the kids can use that paper. I have a huge stack of notebooks and unopened packs of paper that kids left behind.

I will buy sharpies, pretty expo markers, pretty pens and a hanging file folder caddy. But those things are just for me and make me happy.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:02 PM
 
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That is definitely what many people think we teachers have. Sadly, our district already told our principals that there is no money for supplies and materials. So I assume no construction paper, copy paper or staple refills. They never supplied school supplies for students anyway.

We are allowed to put out a supply list BUT we have to put a disclaimer at the bottom that says this is totally voluntary and if you cannot afford to purchase these items they will be provided to your child. Ha ha! Once they see that many don't even bother to purchase one thing.

Who supplies all of the students who bring nothing? Me! Yes, me. I feel trapped, how is the student who brings nothing supposed to do their work? Borrowing from the few who do bring the supplies only depletes it before the first of January. Then we are out. It is pathetic. I know I am tired of buying supplies.

I hope I don't sound so horrible, but I cannot afford to buy these things for multiple children. And before someone flames me, these same kids who cannot even bring a pack of pencils reek of cigarette smoke. I don't blame the little ones I blame the system and their parents.
Well my vent is over.
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I do spend some money...
Old 07-12-2013, 12:05 PM
 
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I do spend from time to time, but I am also a bargain hunter and a bit of a hoarder. Every year, I buy pencils from Starfall, folders, and composition books. I also love graph paper for math, which can get pricey. Over the years I have bought other stuff, like reading books, electric pencil sharpener, book bins, curriculum materials, and such. Many of my students are extremely poor. The school has cut its budget to the max and they provide hardly anything. I do what I can, but not when it's taken for granted. And I think it is perfectly fine to say when enough is enough.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:15 PM
 
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I agree with pp-- I don't spend any more than I want to, and I don't spend money on basic supplies. If I had classroom money, I might spend a bit of that on basic supplies, but not my own money. I don't want to supplement my own job, which is already hard enough (and low paying enough).
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:31 PM
 
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I don't buy anything anymore. Well, with the exception of finding folders for 8 cents or glue sticks for 10 cents. I definitely spend less than $5.

I started going to the school counselor and asking for them if a child didn't have supplies.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:39 PM
 
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I teach middle school. I raised my own kids to adulthood and paid for their supplies - I'm not buying for other people's kids anymore.

Some of my coworkers have a solution - and I'm going to try it this year. If a kid doesn't have a pencil, I will sell him one for a quarter. That way I don't have to worry about collecting it at the end of class. Same for paper: 10 cents for a sheet of graph paper and a nickel for a regular lined notebook paper. This will reimburse the initial cost I put into buying the supplies and provide income for buying more as needed. I'm not trying to make a profit, just providing a way for kids to get their work done!

They always have money for the snack bar!
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:51 PM
 
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Love your ideas dutchgirl! I shall implement that in my classroom this year--for the basic supplies needed for doing classwork.

"They always have money for the snack bar!"

Now isn't that the truth! -Over the last 17 years I have found that students (parents?) expect we shall supply them. I'm near retirement and will be saving my $$ big time! My standard answer is now..."Do I look like a Walmart?"
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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About $10. But I don't make it known to the kidsthat I have these items. I think I gave out 2 pencils last year, if that!

Anything I buy now if for me to make my classroom more organized and comfortable for me.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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I'm not spending more than $25. I kind of have the money, but why should I spend it on other people's children when the families can and should provide? I have some kids each year who are genuinely in need and I help them along, but the rest of it is entitlement and/or laziness.

I have bought:
4 $1 kites to decorate walls
4 $1 packs of foam stars to make a calendar
desk drawer organizer/baskets ($3 total)

Left to buy:
shower curtain (about $8)
colored tape (about $5)
These are to make a word wall/alpha wall

Oh, and I buy my own lesson plan book and desk mat calendar each year. I'm suck a geek that buying these for myself each year gets me excited about the school year. .

Last edited by bookgeek59; 07-12-2013 at 01:26 PM.. Reason: forgot something
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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I work in a very inner city school. Students are given supply lists at the end of each grade for the upcoming year. They do a remarkable job at bring in what they need. The school does supply what a child needs if there is a poverty issue.

The only student that did not bring in ANYTHING last year was one of the few wealthy families. Go figure?
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Probably 25ish
Old 07-12-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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I also shop for bargains. So many of my students don't have the very basic supplies we ask for. We aren't allowed to ask for anything else or for any $$$$.(Would love to "sell"items for cheap!! It is hard, I don't want to enable, but it really is hard for many students to get the supplies if parents won't buy them. I also put things in my prize box, the pack of paper or crayons usually go before toys!!
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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I buy things to make my life easier. For instance, I am moving to a new grade this year, and I bought a number of things from TPT and Scholastic dollar deals, because those are things that will help me with a new curriculum and make me more comfortable in my classroom. I do not supply for students. My school does have a generous budget for classroom supplies that we order from a central stockroom. When it's gone, it's gone. I provide supplies for my own children and donate to their classrooms as well. I think that's my responsibility and then I'm done.
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This year
Old 07-12-2013, 02:13 PM
 
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I don't think I'm going to buy anything, I had some very entitled students last year who felt it was my obligation to supply them with a new pencil everyday. Some of these kids had $100+ sneakers, but couldn't bring in something to write with - I was disgusted.

Dutchgirl, be careful with your money collection plan; a teacher was disciplined last year at my school for doing something similar. You may want to discreetly check to see if your district\school has a problem with this.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:27 PM
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:30 PM
 
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I don't PLAN to buy anything for the students--NADA...

If I come across a really spectacular deal, I might concede... But, I do plan to buy some things to add to my comfort--a mini fridge and maybe a microwave if allowed. There is a couch in there now but may belong to the current teacher. Not sure I'll replace that with my own money.

I even considered (briefly) getting a cheap K-cup style coffee pot but decided against it.

I know the room has NO decorations. Since it is middle school, and SpEd to boot, I don't plan on having many decorations but I want to add a little color. I can probably do that pretty cheaply with BB paper and some tubs, organizers I have left over from my years in the elementary. There is really nothing to buy as such. I will add some plants but already had plans to buy them and already own the pots...

We'll see how it goes...
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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Nothing! I used to but after 30+ years of spending, spending, and more spending, I decided it was time to stop. I am at a private school and the students are given supply lists. Unfortunately, many parents don't send in what is needed, so I used to have extra. Last year, I had a parent tell me they couldn't afford it. I felt badly and brought in some supplies. Then, I realized that they were sending their children to private school, something I never could afford to do on my salary, so why was I providing their supplies. That same child abused the supplies I provided for him. No more!
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Zilch!
Old 07-12-2013, 02:59 PM
 
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With DH out of work, I do well to have enough money for gas to get to school!!! There is no way I could be buying supplies for the kiddoes.

We have a local church that does a wonderful back to school event. They provide a backpack full of supplies, gently used clothes and shoes, new undies, and even give haircuts. We also have a back to school charity that asks for donations at local stores then they bring in supplies to each school. These supplies become "community property" once they hit the school. I make a bee-line to them every year and stock up on whatever goodies are available. This usually is enough to help out those that need it.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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Our families receive a Government allowance for children in school. At the beginning of the year, I asked for:

Pencil case, with grey lead pencils, pack of 12 coloured pencils, glue stick, pencil sharpener, rubber, 30cm ruler.
Box of tissues.

I could easily put it together for $10 at the Reject Shop. I know, I checked. Books and paper are provided by the school at the level I teach.

ONE child has the proper equipment. The school provides the very basics - lead pencils, rulers and scissors.

It's disgusting.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:11 PM
 
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I hope.

Although, I am a little appalled at some of the supply lists I see, like my new grade level. I am moving up, as is another teacher I know and we don't need/want half the stuff on the list. The others tell us to just donate the stuff to other teachers, but I don't want families buying a whole bunch of stuff that their kid is never going to use.

I try to figure out what exactly I will use in my class, then put a list out during Open House so parents will know if we're not using something. I put things in categories like need to have: notebook for math, writing, etc; would be nice to have; and would appreciate for the classroom. I thought this would be appreciated, and usually it is, but some parents have gotten angry (nothing new is added to the list, but some stuff is left off). I assumed they could just return things if it turned out they didn't need it?? I tell them they are more than welcome to donate it to the school, but we actually don't use *random box of green pens or whatever* in my class.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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I always buy things and spend a couple hundred $$. This year will be different, as I have no money and the district is planning on taking money from us to help with the mess they are in. I will only buy what I need. The district says there is no money for paper, so any copy paper I need I will buy and use for my needs only. In years past there haven't been a problem with students bringing in supplies.
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nothing. nada. nil. zilch. zip
Old 07-12-2013, 05:16 PM
 
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I have my own kids to provide for.
Thankfully, our school keeps a well-stocked supply room, so anything we need for the kids is usually available.
I also put out a modest list of supplies on my syllabus...however, our school district has decided that we are not allowed to force the students to bring their own supplies. Because we're supposed to offer a 'free and public education,' anything required must be supplied by the district.

I preface my list with "These are the supplies that we highly suggest each student bring to class in order to be prepared to learn:.." and then I list the items. That's about it.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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Not me as I'm a sub but my husband is a special ed teacher and he usually spends about $10 at the beginning of the year and another $10 throughout, usually stuff like expo markers, highlighters, and other things for his own use. He won't buy school supplies anymore, what he does for kids who can't or won't bring in supplies is give them recycled paper from the office or other classrooms (he has them use the back of the paper that's not written or typed on). For pencils, at the end of the day he goes out into the hallway and picks up all the pencils kids have thrown on the floor throughout the day. He keeps these in a cup on his desk. I do this myself when I am in long term positions.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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gotten better about what I buy and how much I spend. I have scissors and crayons that I got in the past that I use for kids who don't have any.

I usually buy paper and pencils because to me it is not worth the fight. I will send home a note to a family if their child is constantly unprepared. It is one of my rules that you must be prepared for school. It usually turns out they have the stuff at home they just aren't bringing it in.
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pencils and glue sticks
Old 07-12-2013, 06:04 PM
 
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are about the only thing I plan to buy this year... most of the other stuff I have a class set or got donated from DonorsChoose last year, and still have enough to last. I have started writing DC projects for stuff like crayons, markers, paints, construction paper, etc. and building a supply.

The pencils, most kids bring theirs, but I buy the seasonal ones once a month in the dollar section at Target, they each get one. I stock up on the glue sticks when they are on sale before school and just hope they last!
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I'm done
Old 07-12-2013, 06:35 PM
 
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My youngest son is going off to college, and I no longer receive child support. It will take a lot of saving to pay my part of his college fees (ex is a jerk), so things have had to change.

Last year I gave out over 1500 pencils. I've bought 4 for this year--those thick primary pencils. I'm going to stick flowers on them and let them borrow them. They will not be allowed to sharpen "my" pencils.

And that's it except for buying a class set of colored pencils. I teach in a departmentalized upper elementary grade and when I want them to add color or an illustration to their notes, I want it done then, not after they take 5 minutes going to their lockers.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:57 PM
 
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I don't plan to spend any of my personal money on school this year. This will be a first for me but I have decided that those who are responsible will have to provide materials and supplies--the school district and the children's parents. I have raised my children and are helping to provide for grandchildren. Other parents will have to step up and provide for their own children. NOT ME THIS YEAR!!!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:12 PM
 
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Not a thing! Anything I spend my $$ on this year will be things for me, eother for organizng or decorating. But no pencils, paper, glue, folders, etc.
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supplies
Old 07-12-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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I have already spent 96 cents but that's about all I plan on spending on consumable supplies. I like my students to have a specific color folder so I provide it (penny sale at Officemax). Other than that I don't want to be responsible for giving any student supplies. I do buy things to help my lessons and create a positive classroom environment, but I am putting my foot down. I will not give paper or pencils. Those are your tools to learn. Ok it's summer... off my soapbox.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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I spend LOTS, every year. Don't flame me. I totally respect teachers who don't buy much because the school does, or the parents do, or they have their own family obligations. And I know some teachers say we need to unite and not spend our own money. But frankly, I'm stuck. We teach 'high poverty' kids. The parents are not obligated to buy anything. Each year, a few will come in all excited with a new pencil box, pencils, crayons, glue, etc. but they tend to disappear (or cause great distraction) over the first few weeks and by Thanksgiving, it's back to what I'll provide. The schools provide some basics -- maybe 72 pencils, glue, crayons, and/or scissors and a case of paper. I spent less on those this year -- finding some leftovers from previous 'back to school' deals and my school initially brought more than schools of the past. But, I ended up getting ink for the printer, toner for my personal copier, two cases of paper, colored paper, a lot of pencils, along with various supplies for science/math/art 'experiments/projects.' And, oh yeah...lots of food. I do seek out the bargains and the coupons. My church gets bagels from Panera and I take those in Monday morning. And it is frustrating to see kids intentionally break new pencils/crayons. They also throw them. I have labeled pencils (bought an engraver years ago, but this year was too tired/overwhelmed and just used labels) and rewarded students who kept track of their pencil all month and such. I believe in natural consequences for those who don't respect supplies, but the reality is that I am the one who suffers the most when they don't have supplies. "I don't have a pencil" is a ticket to do nothing for half of my kids. They don't really care if they get an F. Many of their parents don't seem to care much either. Indeed, I am the one hurt the most when kids don't achieve. So, although I am facing my own financial woes and resent their fancy rimmed tires on their rides home, the bottom line is I need them to master a ton of skills in a short amount of time and much of my paycheck goes to that endeavor.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:16 AM
 
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Quote:
I would feel sorry for the kiddos who would show up with no snack. I used to get one of those giant cartons of goldfish or graham crackers for those kids with no snack, so they'd at least have something to eat (they got free lunch), but I noticed that more and more kids started not having a snack. Guess what? Word had gotten out among parents that "school supplies the snack, you don't need to bring one". Kids were telling their parents that I gave them a snack! The parents didn't realize that I had been purchasing the snack from my own money!
Hm. I began to notice this last year too and wondered whether students were deciding to take my Goldfish instead of bothering to pack stuff. We don't have free lunch, and I think in some cases the error was unintentional, like when a parent was out of town on business. Anyway, I've been told I can expense the snacks, but like all of you, I get only so much $ and then it's gone. If I spend it on snacks, I can't buy paper for manipulatives or books or whatever. So... Thanks for the bonk in the head. Gotta think about this.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:30 AM
 
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I spend hundreds of dollars every year. We have a supply list, but most parents only purchase a few things. I typically buy pencils, post-its, and a class set of markers, crayons, colored pencils, different colors of folders, and about 50 composition books at the beginning of the school year. I really didn't mind this until last year. My last year's group of students seemed to have a sense of entitlement. By January and February, I was already having to purchase more items since so many students took these home. I stopped buying pencils all together in February.
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Wow- must be nice
Old 07-13-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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Must be nice to be able to say no. We are told that if a child does not have supplies (pencil, paper), we are required to plop one in front of them, else they have an excuse to not work. One year we were told to send the child to the administrator and the administrator would give them a pencil and a talking to-- but she ended up with kids lined up outside her office every period, every day (often the same kid will need a pencil EVERY CLASS PERIOD even though he or she has been given one in EVERY CLASS PERIOD) so she said nevermind, teachers needed to provide.

And yes, if they don't have stuff, they can't work-- if they can't work, they score poorly-- if they score poorly, our own evaluations stink.
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Hmmm....snack issue.
Old 07-13-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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When I first read the op I thought I was pretty lucky in not having to spend money on supplies but after reading several of the posts on snacks, it has me rethinking my position. I teach at a private school with MOSTLY influential parents. However, I have noticed that more and more kids are coming without snacks every day because Mrs. timespent has had "extras' for those who didn't have one. Believe me when I say there isn't one child in my school whose parents cannot afford to provide a daily snack. The ones that don't are just plain lazy and don't do it. (However, they always have a ready excuse available for why they don't have one.) This is surely one subject I will be addressing this upcoming school year.
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Buy supplies with other people's money
Old 07-13-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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There are lots of ways to procure supplies without dipping into your pocket. For ten years I have spent over $2500 on school supplies collected in a variety of ways. Wal-Mart has a grant program for non-profits I apply to every year (have gotten five grants for a total of $1250). There are also fundraisers you can do. One Saturday afternoon catching rays outside a supermarket with a table, a couple plastic sand buckets and a sign reading "Please donate for supplies at ****** Elementary School" will get you enough money for supplies for you and your colleagues. Many times stores will match your donations. There is also your local church activities.

Hope this helps. Giving up one day a year has always been preferable to dipping into my bank account.
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Money
Old 07-13-2013, 12:41 PM
 
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In my area we are lucky to be able to make a supply order paid for by the county from the county warehouses. I am not sure how much per teacher as I have never been told by the principal that I have spent too much.
We also have $200 in money from the state and $150 from the PTA. You spend the money by PO for the state and save receipts for PTA. For this reason, I don't spend much of my own money.
It was not always like this. I have spent my own money in the past.
I don't do snacks anymore due to the intense regulations by our county food service.
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A lot
Old 07-13-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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I spend a lot, but it is my choice. I am anal and want certain things. We put out a supply list and have open supplies. I do buy a lot of the folders when they are a penny. I am debating about binders as I got a really great deal on them last spring. I use them for the kids memory book/ scrapbook at the end of the year. Last year, I had several kids not bring a binder and some brought huge binders that didn't fit on the bookshelves. Depending on the year, I get between 50-75% of students bring in most of what is asked.
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Most parents DO buy supplies
Old 07-14-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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but their kids don't bother to bring them. They buy them pencils and paper and expect that they're using them. I know it seems like the parents just aren't buying school supplies, but I'm telling you, kids are lazy and they quit bringing any about a month into the school year.

I'm in middle so it might be different here, but these kids walk into class with NOTHING and I know their parents don't know it. I think that this year I will not provide the pencil. I used to just take the excuse away and give the kid a pencil, but I think contacting parents that their kid has no supplies is a better idea. Last year, I told parents as a group, in my monthly newsletter, that this was a problem and it really solved very little. I know how it went:

Mrs. N. says that lots of her students aren't bringing a pencil to class. Are YOU bringing a pencil to class??

Yes. Yes, I bring a pencil to class.

Okay, then. See that you do.

And nothing ever changes. Perhaps an email home:

Your child is now missing two assignments that were done in class because he brings no supplies whatsoever to school. If buying supplies is a financial burden, please let me know and I will help; otherwise, a child who doesn't even bring a pencil to class cannot realistically expect to pass that class.

I teach all below level kids and the longer I teach these guys, the more I see that they're low not because they're unintelligent, for the most part. They're low because they're such terrible students.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:28 PM
 
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When I was in the classroom, I would put a call for pencil donations in my weekly e-mails. This way we had a supply to use throughout the year. I taught first grade where all supplies were communal. Sometimes, I'd put out requests for other things we were low on, like markers, although pencils were by far the thing we ate up the most. I did buy crayons for the class so I could control the color breakdown a bit (and also avoid pesky violet-red crayons that look like reds but color like pinks and other sneaky colors Crayola likes to put in these days).

In a higher level setting like middle school, I'd probably buy one pack of 72 pencils myself and then call for donations if that supply got depleted. I know a teacher who did exactly this when I was in school and I thought it worked well.

Also, some supplies are simply hard to find. I like using yellow dry erase markers to highlight things on the board. Trouble is, Expo stopped making them so now I have to hunt through old stocks and the like.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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I had an epiphany in just the past two years in regards to spending my own money on supplies. I don't get to claim these children as dependents on my taxes therefore I should not be required to supply them with things out of my own pocket.

What I've come to discover, as I've gathered more patience, is that the school DOES have a lot of the supplies that we, as teachers, are going out and spending money on and then fussing about it. No the school doesn't have fancy BB borders or pre-made posters, but they do have monies for pencils, paper, crayons. In many districts money is supplied for homeless children (I think it's like Title 5 or 9 money) which helps to pay for binders, pencil cases, folders, etc. In the past, I'd be very hasty and go out and buy these things or go 'Wow, Staples is having penny sales, I can't pass that up!" but really I don't need to buy the penny pencils (even if it only cost me $0.25) because the school has them or has money in the budget to pay for them. Get a good look in the supply rooms (I do understand that some office personnel keep these rooms under lock and key in some schools), this was one of the first eye-openings that I had when I saw that a lot of the basics the school already had.

I've also learned to suck-it-up and re-use materials--as hard as that was! This year I'm reusing a BB set that I haven't used in at least 7-years, but it saved me $16.99 even though I've been looking at all the new cutesy themes in the teacher catalogs that are now arriving in my mailbox daily!

So, bottomline, sometimes it's good to get fed-up and angry because it helps us realize we've been doing it all wrong all along.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:55 PM
 
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I may be newer to the teaching scene, but I found a few things to work...

1. Get to know teachers who are about to retire. They'll want to dump their stuff when they call it quits, so make sure you get in good with them.

2. If you have an Ellison machine (or any letter cutter), laminate your stuff. Cutting out individual letters is a huge pain, so just put them on an oversized sentence strip type thing, laminate them, and you'll be OK. It also makes for some cool text backgrounds.

3. Buy better-grade stuff if you can. Not all pattern blocks are created equal. If your school doesn't supply them and you have to buy your own, get either the unibody plastic ones or the wood ones. Don't be afraid to buy the wooden ones used. The two-piece plastic ones are garbage and fall apart quickly.

4. This goes for school supplies, too. If you have to choose between the Target brand pencils and the Dixon Ticonderogas, spend a little extra on the Ticonderogas because they'll last longer and they write better. It's better to get one set of Ticonderogas than three boxes of cheap pencils that may or may not sharpen.

5. Reuse stuff like folders. I have file folders at home that I got in sixth grade that I still use. As long as they aren't coming apart they'll work. Also, try to juice life out of things like erasers, staplers, etc.

6. Get your classroom books at used book sales. Go on the days when they have the bag sales, where you can get a bag for five bucks and fill it with as much as possible. Hit the library so you can get ex-library books with sturdier bindings.

7. Make your own portable blackboards. A plank of wood and some blackboard paint will set you back less than $20. I saw whiteboard paint out there too but I'm not sure how well it works. (Be sure to put enough coats on though).

8. Grab free pens at conferences. Some of them are pretty good.

9. Save your receipts for tax time!!! You may not get much but you never know!!!
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Pencils
Old 07-15-2013, 10:41 PM
 
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I knew a teacher who would buy a box of those tiny golf pencils and give those to students who didn't have a pencil. They always had one the next day.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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I have an issue that my husband hates. I LIKE to buy things for my classroom. I would rather buy materials that I can use every year, but I have bought consumable materials as well.
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I took the money I would normally spend
Old 07-16-2013, 08:53 AM
 
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and I went to Donors Choose and helped a first year teacher get her wish fulfilled. Good feeling, highly recommend it!
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:13 AM
 
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I love that golf pencil idea!!! If I get another classroom, I think I'll give it a try!
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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I agree with you. It's very frustrating when kids don't bring the basics. It's so nice when a few students bring extras and give them to me so that they can be used throughout the year. Isn't it wonderful, too, when you have students who like to tidy things up at the end of the day? I have been so lucky.

Back on point---how much do I spend?

#1 Our Mother's Club gives us 100 dollars for supplies; we order out of a catalog. I always get tape, pencils, Expo markers, erasers, etc. I have found that kids LOVE erasers.

#2 Besides that, I have a lot of things left over from prior years, so I will probably end up spending about 20 dollars. I spent 6 bucks already at the dollar store getting pencil top erasers, rulers, and other things. I couldn't resist.

#3 I need to buy a class set of books for the kids. This is an unusual one-time expense of between 100 and 200 dollars. I'm not pleased about it, but it needs to be done for the convenience of my students and our teaching team. I'd rather teach a novel at the same time as another teacher, rather than sharing books and having a different schedule for 2 months. I'm going to try to get a deal from the local store.

Last edited by EllyTeaches; 07-17-2013 at 07:46 AM.. Reason: I put $20 dollars (redundant)
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a tip
Old 07-17-2013, 07:48 AM
 
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a piece of advice:

Walk around the school one day after the final bell's rung. You will find so many pencils. I think I've picked up about 100 pencils in a year, even more when I had lunch duty.

I like keeping the good pencils on hand and give the ones that are short, malformed, or have some other flaw. I wish I could outlaw mechanical pencils; so sick of the stupid pencil marks on the desks, and they are always asking for more lead.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:39 PM
 
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I spent 32 dollars to day and 35 the other day. All on stuff for decorating and/or resources. My days of buying supplies is OVER. I've learned my lesson. I am sick and tired of spending money on other people's children while they are driving better cars than I am. They have better phones than me and the parents dress better than me, but I'm expected to buy their supplies. NO WAY.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:42 AM
 
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I buy things as my school just won't buy what I need. If they do it is cheap and crappy.

I ask for origami paper and what do I get? Colored paper napkins and was told they are close enough.

Why even have a request list if 80% of what I want I never get or get the wrong thing?
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A hot topic
Old 07-18-2013, 02:52 PM
 
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We are taken advantage of, are we not?

Last year on the first day of school, I had kids go down a list of items that we had sent out and check off what they had brought. If I had leftovers from the previous year, like rulers, etc., I would give them away and the kids could check it off. Then I had them write a letter to their parents saying what they still needed. I copied the letters at lunchtime as a writing assessment, and then they took them home for a parent signature. I did get more kids with binders, but you would have thought that the parents were allergic to buying dividers or pencils.

*throws hands up*

I like to spend my money on my room to make it cheerful and comfortable. Also I like to have some new markers myself every year or so. But when kids come to me and say they need a new binder because they've been slamming theirs around in their backpack, I suggest they ask their parents, which they never do.

This year I may have them right a letter home each week that requires a signature that tells about their week and also requests supplies that the student needs.
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ask for donations at open house
Old 07-19-2013, 11:15 AM
 
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We have successfully used paper cutouts..such as the apple from the Ellison...Just write the needed supplies and display at Open House near where the adults sign in. Because we do have many families struggling I make sure I buy some extra supplies. Sometimes the kids having the correct supplies and the right colors of folders or spiral notebooks just makes my classroom life easier. A local church organization has also donated many supplies to our school. They asked for the grade level supply lists and used these as a community out-reach project. It has been very appreciated...we are a public school by the way!!!
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Set up a class store
Old 07-20-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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I actually take advantage of the back to school sales and stock up for the whole year. So if kids need basic supplies pencils are a quarter. Ten sheets of paper are a quarter. Glue bottles are a dollar. And so on. I then use that money to put back into my classroom for decorating, etc. Students can always find a quarter.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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My son's k teacher always had a wish list posted on her door. That worked well for the parents that came to the door, but that was only a small percent. At least that percent sent in stuff.
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Very, Very Little
Old 08-10-2013, 12:52 PM
 
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Now that I "retired" from my part-time job that I had for +20 years, I will not purchase additional items for my classroom/students as I have in the past. I've noticed that the families will "find" the funds to purchase items for their children (i.e. if we go on a fieldtrip and the children have to bring their own lunch, the children bring enough food for 2-3 children!!!). In the past, I would purchase additional school supplies, furniture, clothes for children and more. I can't now...sorry!
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Supplies
Old 08-10-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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In the past, I would spend a lot on supplies so that I would have extra (crayons, pencils, glue.) Now that I have a family of my own, I have not spent as much. I do take advantage of the back to school deals if I see things I need. We do send home a list of supplies and most of the parents will send them in.
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More than I should
Old 08-10-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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In the last couple of years I have spent way too much on supplies. In part because my students didn't come with supplies or it was never anything that was usable in the classroom. This year I did not spend much because I have spent years accumulating extra supplies during the penny deals.
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:21 AM
 
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Total bought so far:

- 48 pencils
- glue sticks
- Index cards
- 5 packs of coloured pencils.
- a few folders
- 24 notebooks

I figure some students just won't have this stuff this year. I can't ask the parents as the minimum wage here is about $5 USD a day.
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Not sure. Nothing I hope.
Old 08-11-2013, 03:32 AM
 
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Every year we are given money to buy things for our classrooms. Usually between $100-$150. I have to keep my receipts for what I use this money on. Anything that is not consumable is technically property of the school. So I usually try to buy paper, pencils, erasers, markers, etc. with the money. I don't have a theme so I don't usually buy decorations. Anything that I might want to keep if I leave me school I pay for out of my own pocket, which usually isn't much.
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