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Teachercat2 Teachercat2 is offline
 
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Buying my own furniture for the classroom
Old 08-20-2017, 03:25 PM
 
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I would appreciate some thoughts on my current dilemma! I am starting a new position in my school district this year. I went in to start preparing my classroom and I've found that my classroom is lacking a lot of basic necessities, for example shelves for books and teacher/classroom materials and an appropriate teacher desk chair. It seems like most other rooms have these things, I am wondering where mine went!? I don't want to be a complainer or a bother right off the bat, but I also would like a desk chair and shelves for my class library. Would you just try to find them cheap somewhere so as to not complain? Or ask that these things be provided? Thanks!


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Ask that they be provided.
Old 08-20-2017, 03:30 PM
 
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We spend so much of our own money on things for our classroom. Shelves for a classroom library should be provided by the district, especially if you expected to have a classroom library. You should be supplied with a chair that fits the desk in your room.
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Make friends with the custodian
Old 08-20-2017, 03:40 PM
 
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Chances are those things are in the building, and the custodian knows where they are. It is my belief that basic furniture should be provided by the school. I would not spend my own money for that. However, since I have an enormous book collection, I have provided the multiple bookcases needed to give them a home. The one standard shelf in each classroom just doesn't cut it! Good luck in your new position!
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Go ahead and ask...
Old 08-20-2017, 03:45 PM
 
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Is there an extra teacher chair in storage somewhere? Are there some bookshelves?

In our school, there's some items that are stored back in the furnace room. Some districts have a district storage facility where items can be requisitioned.

However, as a new teacher in the district, I wouldn't make waves over a teacher chair or bookshelves. I'd gratefully take what was offered or cheerfully accept no for an answer. Then I'd be on the watch. Some new teachers might not want all the shelves left in their room, or other teachers may be rearranging, getting rid of stuff.

You might see a decent bookshelf for cheap at a yard sale, or get one donated if you put out the word on social media.

I have one set of shelves built into my room and two extra. One bookshelf I got because the navy donated old furniture and I asked for and got that particular item. The other one was built by my husband out of funds given to me at the beginning of the year for classroom supplies.

Amazingly enough, neither one of them hold my classroom library, which sits on a counter in about two dozen small storage crates. It's easier for the kids to access.
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I would ask
Old 08-20-2017, 04:00 PM
 
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The principal about where you might find those things. As previous posters have said, usually the custodians know where that stuff is.

If you do, however, buy your own things -- be sure to write your name on it in an inconspicuous place -- as those items tend to "travel." Also keep your receiptS to prove that it is YOUR furniture, not district's if you move onto a different school or district.


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Old 08-20-2017, 04:00 PM
 
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I agree with what has been said so far: those basic furniture items are probably already in the school already, either in storage or in another room. It could be that the previous teacher didn't want them and they were moved out, or you could have been a victim of hey-that-rooms-empty-let-me-grab-the-good-stuff summer teacher "shopping" . I'd definitely ask before buying your own, and phrase it as "hey, I notice the other rooms have a, b, and c, and I don't see those in my room. Is there a way to get them?"
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I would ask
Old 08-20-2017, 04:01 PM
 
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The principal about where you might find those things. In the hub-bub of getting the school ready, he or she is likely unaware that your room is missing those items. He or she can't help you out if he or she is not aware of it.

As previous posters have said, usually the custodians know where that stuff is.


If you do, however, buy your own things -- be sure to write your name on it in an inconspicuous place -- as those items tend to "travel." Also keep your receiptS to prove that it is YOUR furniture, not district's if you move onto a different school or district.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:06 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters. My district has a warehouse. So I would ask someone. It never hurts to ask and most likely they will already have the things you need. I know it can be difficult to ask for things when you are starting at a new job. Good luck.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:10 PM
 
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I have learned that, at least in my building, being a new teacher gets you preference with needs like furniture. You can ask the principal and/or the janitor (know that apart from the principal's secretary, these are the most important and powerful people in the school). For some reason, the powers that be think that a new teacher's needs take precedence over any requests from the already-established teachers.

So ask! The very worst thing that could happen is that they can't or won't help you. That's unlikely, but if they can't, then you can pursue other options.

Most likely you will be able to get what you need.
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Thanks!
Old 08-20-2017, 04:22 PM
 
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I appreciate all your responses! I'm going to inquire first before I spend any of my own money. I just didn't want to make waves asking about more furniture as the new teacher..
I am a special ed teacher who may have full time students so I would think I would need to provide a class library. My room has absolutely no shelving or storage. There are closets with no shelves in them, like what do you do with that?? I came from a district with beautiful new classrooms with lots of storage. This is quite a shock to not have chairs or shelves, so I didn't know! Thanks again!


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Old 08-20-2017, 06:52 PM
 
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You want to know something I've both witnessed and experienced when moving into a new classroom? Often other teachers at the school will be aware that one of the other teachers has left a classroom, and somehow they start to think that the classroom isn't "owned" by anyone over the summer because the new teacher hasn't yet moved into it, and these teachers will go in and take stuff from the classroom that they think they can use in their own classroom. Or, they will swap out things in their classroom with the stuff in the other classroom. Stuff like wobbly desks, chairs that are kind of broken, mismatched chairs, etc.

So then the new teacher ends up with a bunch of missing items, and the stuff that is there is mismatched and in poor condition, or even broken.

You should ask about how to obtain the necessary furniture in your classroom. The custodian is a good person to ask because some schools have a storage space where they keep extra furniture that nobody is using. If that doesn't work, ask your new principal what you should do. They might be able to order you some of these basic items.
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Mmm..
Old 08-21-2017, 05:07 AM
 
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I was kind of wondering if something like that did happen... I have a table that almost collapsed on me in addition to missing furniture. I would really hope my room wasn't looted though! Lol.
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:39 AM
 
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I don't think asking for proper furniture is complaining. Hope they come up with something. I personally don't buy furniture for school. If I can't find something suitable at school (or in our salvage) then I will do without until something shows up.
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Furniture
Old 08-21-2017, 05:43 AM
 
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Definitely ask what's around you can have. Ask if there is a new teacher budget.

Once that's done, then decide if you want to buy anything else. I used to get metal book shelves from a used office furniture store for $10.00 each...I told them I was a teacher.

And yes, once a teacher leaves, it seems to be open season for others to raid the room. I posted last week that some one took three quarters of my leveled books when I left, leaving next to nothing for new teacher.
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I would just ask.
Old 08-21-2017, 07:30 AM
 
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Like others have stated that they would do and like what you have suggested leaning towards, I would simply ask for the furniture. Some will likely make its way to you once you make the request (no matter what happened to what was once in the room). I am taking over an empty classroom and respectfully made it clear that I need it properly furnished. I will not buy things that the school or district should provide. You may not get everything you want or think that you should have but you should have the basics supplied.
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We had a teacher who was
Old 08-21-2017, 12:55 PM
 
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transferring to another school who left with everything that wasn't nailed down. The custodian stopped her going out the door with classroom furniture.

It isn't unusual for new teachers to have to ask the custodian or principal for basic furniture, unfortunately. You do need to insure that all your tables, chairs, etc. are safe for the students and report any that aren't--you said there's a collapsing table. I'd give a list to the custodian first and be very friendly about asking if there is any way to get these things in house before you go to the principal to see about placing orders.

Most custodians know exactly who took what to where. You might get the original furniture back or you might get newish stuff from the storage rooms. If there isn't enough, then approach the principal for advise on how to get your room supplied. I think principals like to be asked for advise on simple things.
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What booklady57 said!
Old 08-21-2017, 01:15 PM
 
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The only two things that were "big" that I ever bought for my classroom were a mailbox with slots for daily work and a cheap bookcase (clearance at Target). Tables and chairs were begged and borrowed from empty rooms, storage, etc. I even got an oversized file cabinet by acting pathetic when we moved buildings and mine was left behind. It was nearly new! Making friends with the custodian (and supplying with treats is one way) is the most important thing you can do in a school building.
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Other resources...
Old 08-21-2017, 01:26 PM
 
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Once you see what is already available, you might join a Freecycle.org group in your area. It is an online recycling group, and it's all free. I've gotten shelves from my group.

If you work for a public school. DonorsChoose.org is an among resource! You sign up for a free account and post projects. People are very generous. Just be aware that items funded belong to the school.

Congratulations on your new job! Have a wonderful year!
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:06 PM
 
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I would go with what we tell our students "ask 3 before me" before asking your principal. I would definitely start with the custodian. They know where excess is kept. next would be your mentor teacher or school secretary, principal last. This shows you try to solve problems on your own.

I know my P called me today inquiring about some missing furniture that I have no idea what happened to. I told her I would be there tomorrow and would help the new teacher find what was needed and had some items I could share. I know what it's like to be the new person with the empty room so I'll do what I can to help. I was wondering if you were that teacher but I think not. If you are, I have a chair for you!
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:)
Old 08-22-2017, 12:08 PM
 
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I don't think it's me, but it's very nice of you to help the new teacher out!
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:10 PM
 
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I ended up just emailing the principal as she was out of the building today! I'm glad I did... she said to let her know anything I needed and told me the appropriate place to request things from the district! So hopefully everything works out and I can get all the furniture I need without spending money I don't have!
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Ask and you shall receive.
Old 08-22-2017, 04:36 PM
 
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Definitely ask. It may have just been overlooked. When I first moved into my current room after transferring. The room didn't have a teacher desk, teacher chair, or bookshelves! I definitely did not buy any of those things. I actually love to make a game out of putting together a nice classroom without spending my own money. This year, I haven't spent a dime on set up and I received so many compliments at Back to School night about my room. Anyways, I just asked my P for bookshelves and he found a bunch in a storage room and they worked out perfectly. I did not need the teacher desk/chair so I didn't bother to follow up with that.
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