I have never known a parent who actually liked having to buy the supplies. Some are just resigned to the necessity, while others were either irritated or even openly hostile to the idea. I have personally never liked buying the supplies for my own children because they never seem to need anywhere near the amount that I have purchased. Paying forty or fifty dollars for supplies and then writing a check for twenty-five dollars per child can really start to sting. I have seen parents angry that they will spend money on supplies that they know will be for the whole class because other parents won’t send them in. I have also seen parents angry because they had to pay for long lists of supplies for every single child. These lists include things like markers, plastic zip lunch bags, pencils, ear buds, erasers, 2″ binders, hand soap, sanitizer, glue sticks, tissues, sanitizing wipes, composition books, and loose leaf paper. It seems like a small amount, but it adds up. To be clear, it doesn’t bother me when parents dislike buying items on the supply list. It bothers me that school systems don’t provide the funding for many of the things on them. Things like wipes and tissues should be considered essential to the school (not the teachers!).
I don’t actually send out a list. The reason is because my school district supplies most of what I need in the way of consumable supplies like crayons, paper, glue, and such. When parents ask me what they should buy, I tell them to buy whatever their kids like in the way of special crayons or markers that the school might not supply. We only have basic stuff. If kids like neon colors or glitter crayons… that’s the kind of stuff our school district doesn’t have.
I don’t think I had a single parent refuse to buy the supplies, but I did have parents either forget or couldn’t afford to buy the supplies. For those students, I always kept spares in class that I quietly handed to them. But . . . I was bothered by students who used me as their personal provider of tissues. Although I did ask for donations of tissue boxes, I never made it a requirement; consequently, my supply was a bit sketchy. So, I bought most of the tissues in class — that’s quite a few boxes each year with 150–160 students per day passing through my room, but it’s better than listening to stereophonic slurping. We went through a lot, especially during the cold, flu, and allergy seasons. During the course of the school year at parent meetings or on my classroom webpage, I would put out requests for tissue donations. It worked sometimes, but haphazardly.
Yes it does, it’s frustrating. It’s not forthe use of the teachers. Their own child suffers the consequences. Those items are much needed tools for development and learning. How frustrating is it for an adult who needs special tools in order to be productive within their work space and management does not buy and or hire it . Now for a child it can feel exactly the same .
Does it bother me? No. Honestly, I don’t have the time or the energy to let it bother me. Does it frustrate me? It depends on the situation. I’ve already bought extra supplies at the beginning of the year knowing that a few probably won’t turn up with any supplies as their families simply can’t afford it. I’m understanding of that and prepare for it because I was that kid once. Life happens, oftentimes for the worse, and I’m not going to throw salt into anyone’s wounds. What frustrates me is the parents who send their child to school with a letter of defiance, insisting that I have to pay for their child’s supplies, and should for everyone else, for no other reason than the fact that it’s apparently my job to keep a fully-stocked OfficeDepot under my classroom. I spend plenty of my own money on my classroom/students: about $600 a year, probably more. It did not come stocked with posters, sticky tack, speakers, or even a working printer. I do not get a stipend to offer incentives, give Christmas gifts, or throw achievement parties. My room came stocked with a stapler and a tape dispenser. I have to buy the staples.
Not particularly. Working at a low income school, some parents can’t afford to buy school supplies. I also have students that bring in extra school supplies. Like with expo dry erase markers. Kids would come in with packs of 10. That’s way too many to keep in their desk. So the first day I have a talk with them. They can keep 4 of their favorite colors with them to use throughout the year. Then they can choose to take the extras home or put them in the marker bin. Most chose to put the extras in the bin. Leaving our classroom with about 40 markers. I did the same thing with all of the other supplies (only need 3 notebooks, extras take home or go to the front. Pencils, only keep 10 unsharpened, the rest go in the bin. Sticky notes only keep 2 packs, the rest in the bin, etc) This leaves enough extra supplies to cover the few students who don’t bring in anything, and the rest of the class throughout the year. What does get under my skin is when they choose not to buy school supplies but could afford it. Donny came in the first day with nothing. But he was wearing $300 shoes and all new clothes and brought lunchables, a full can of Pringles, and a giant Gatorade for lunch every day. Mom showed up in a brand new Mercedes for parent teacher night. Throughout the year mom went on to show she had no interest in Donny’s success at school. He told me he wanted to drop out and was refusing to do his work. After many attempts at contact, when I finally talked to her, she said “who cares?” Long story short, not buying school supplies because the budget is tight that’s fine. Not buying school supplies because you don’t care about your child’s education, that is a disgrace.
Over the summer I buy enough supplies for all kids and put the binders together (dividers, pouch with glue, colored pencils, eraser, mechanical pencils etc.). I send out the list of materials they need for my class and at the same time I am telling them that they can just get a complete binder from me for $10 reimbursement. And throughout the entire school year I give them free refills on pencils, erasers, and glue sticks. 95% of the parents gladly send the ten bucks, save the time of going through the store to find everything and know that heir kids have all they need to stay organized. And all that at a really good price because I buy it in bulk and of course, I don’t make a penny on it. Fair for all and everybody is happy. For those who can’t afford I fix up a “previously loved” binder from the school year before. Problem solved.
The big push in my school is that we do not want to have anyone stand out for the wrong reasons. So we make the request to all parents knowing in some cases only a few will send anything in. So we plan on what we thing we will need, let the administration know, and cover what we will need as we go. It goes into the planning we do. If we have what we asked for we can do these things in this way. If not this is how we go around not having certain items. Do we wonder why? After a short amount of time as a teacher you realize there are things you will never know or even if you did wouldn’t change anything. So why let it bother you there are bigger and more pressing matters.
When a parent opts out of purchasing supplies, it falls to either the school or the individual teacher. I’ve had kids come for weeks without books; I send notes home, email and so forth, and yet..it can take weeks. A few times I’ve had copies made. A few times the school made hem. They’re quite cheap here but still it pisses me off. Do not shift your parental responsibilities onto anyone else.
I teach at a Title one school, which means a high percentage of the students are affected by poverty. So no, it doesn’t bother me. It bothers me that in the United States, schools are funded so poorly that we expect families to subsidize their children’s education.