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Really Jaw-dropping


Senior Member
People DO NOT believe that teachers spend their own money and buy personal effects for the classroom to function!!!!!

I mentioned that teachers get maybe $200 supply money for everything for the whole year.

I mentioned that when you walk into a classroom, generally most of the items you see are the teacher's personal effects. I was asked, "Such as?" My answer: charts, books, furniture, file cabinents, educational resources... Teachers also spend a lot of money on projects and other items to support curriculum and educate the students, appropriately.

The response by this person was that "There is a whole library of books to use for reading. Use those." I answered that the library serves a different function than the classroom. He asked, "Why would teachers have to buy their own books? Why would a teacher need a file cabinent? Teachers just need to get down to teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic." This was on the radio with a talk show host, so many were listening.

ANY COMMENTS? What resources does your school give, and what have you personally added to your classroom?


if a person can't understand why teachers need to buy their own things for their classroom then they are pretty dense. The radio host sounds ignorant of schools, teaching, and education, kind of like politicians.


Senior Member

I got nothing again this year-that's $0. I spend between $800-1200 of my own money every year. I thought this was a well-known fact. Those people must not have anything to do with education/schools.



is the most expensive job I've ever had. I spend a FORTUNE on my classroom--probably hundreds of dollars a year. I work for a poor district. There's no money there.


Senior Member
The comment that got me was...

I can't believe they actually asked why a teacher would need a filing cabinet or books!

Very ignorant.


Senior Member

I am always amazed at how stupid people can be about the teaching profession. Apparently, anyone can do our job, they can do it better than we do, and they can do it without resources! That's ridiculous! My filing cabinet is really full, and so are my bookshelves. Pretty much everything in my room belongs to me, except my desk, cabinet, filing cabinet, and one bookshelf. Oh, and I have a few tables that belong to the school. I don't spend as much as some people on here do, but I spend enough for it to be a large expense. Our school gives us $100 - that's it! Some stuff I get from donations (private school), but I buy a lot of it myself.


Senior Member
have bought a lot

I have about 700 classroom library books, file cabinet, desk chair, extra desk for computer, carpet/beanbag/etc. for reading corner, lights, all bulletin board items, games, inflatable cubes I use for reading, posters, my own laminator, personal teaching resource books, plants, stuffed animals, extra glue/crayons/markers, and stuff I can't probably think of right now. That doesn't include the extra little things I may get for my students. It's insane.
Oh yeah...and I've only been teaching since January! :-) I started my classroom library while I was in college and it was ready to go when I graduated and started working. In fact, right now I'm going through supply books to actually complete my first district-paid order for things for my room next year!

cincy teacher

Full Member
If only...

they understood. I think everyone should have to experience a day in the life of a teacher. We would get more respect and people would understand.
Don't they need supplies, file cabinets and shelves at their place of employment? What a stupid question!
We get $275 each in general supply money and our parent board gives us $375 each. We can also go to the parent board with other purchase requests ~things that are not consumable and that will benefit future students that we teach.


we need to buy paper

Several times this year our supply of paper dried up. If we wanted to copy anything we needed to buy paper. This happened as early as October. Do I invest the same as all the above posters? Yes, and I have a ready supply of my own lined paper and copy paper too.


Senior Member
money and supplies

Our PTA gives us $100 each year to buy things of our choice for the classroom. When you consider what teacher resources cost, that really doesn't go far. I have spent my own money on rewards, although sometimes the parents provide them. I have also spent my money on stickers, supplies (such as pens, pencils, Sharpie markers, etc.) for my personal use. The IRS says we can deduct $200 per year for spending (as teachers), so at least somebody realizes that yes, we do buy stuff that isn't paid for. I am figuring that I am spending that, easily.

Alicia G

Senior Member
Alicia G

Parents don't know because ... they just don't know. They think that the stuff just appears there, and why should they think differently if nobody told them...

You can do a little parent education at the beginning of the year or even before Christmas time (who needs another cutesy mug???). Go ahead and state what you plan on purchasing. Maybe write a letter like this:

As we start this year, there are several things I plan on purchasing with my own money in the next few weeks to make our classroom better. In past years, after I have purchased something often I learned that a family had the same item collecting dust at home or perhaps a way to get the same item at a big discount. I thought I'd share the list with you. If you are able to provide any of the following please let me know or send it in with your student:

1. A computer desk
2. An electric pencil sharpener
3. Dry erase markers
4. Kleenex
5. Alcohol based hand cleaner in a pump bottle.
6. Gift certificate to the local teacher store so you can buy certain things.

Mrs. Teach

I think that parents would be more supportive if they just KNEW it was coming out of your own bank account and I think that you might even be surprised to find that a family has an old file cabinet, an old desk, even a home computer (lots of people upgrade every few years) that they can donate. Others are happy to go out and buy an electric pencil sharpener, some markers, etc. Be specific on brands that you want so that you are not disappointed. Wait a few weeks and then go buy what wasn't provided. You might even want to mention other big things (computer, furniture) that your teacher-friends need. Maybe you don't need a desk but Mrs. Smith does.

If you find after Christmas that you need a ream of paper or some new white board markers, go ahead and mention that (or send a letter home before Christmas saying you prefer a handmade card to you and a gift to the classroom). Hey, if brides and new mommies can register for things they need, so should you!

If you teach in an affluent school, you should be able to scare up a few things. Perhaps if you teach in a poor school (many on this board do, I know), then maybe a local charity would be willing to pick up some of the slack if you banded together with other teachers and approach them. By local charities I mean things like the Junior League, the Jaycees, Exchange Club, etc. Do you know any members of these clubs from your church or neighborhood friends?

I think that parents just often don't know. Educate them!


New Member
I miss the good ole' days

I used to teach in a school where each teacher was given $100 per child annually for supplies. You heard it right. 30 kids = $3000. That bought reinforcers, art supplies, field trip fees, library books, etc. Also that was in the day and age where parents sent ALL school supplies with the child when it came to paper, pencils, tissue, crayons, etc.

Imagine a business office where a secretary was expected to pay for her own copy paper and her own pens!!!


Senior Member
I think parents ought to send supplies to the school as well. I always send stuff to my kids' teachers. I include such things as zip bags, kleenex, paper towels and such. We get 50 dollars to buy office supplies and then we have a budget that we split among the department teachers. It also pays the lease for our computers. But I too spend a good bit of my own money for things that I want to use that is not paid for by the budget. I CAN get a lot of the things I want through budget, but sometimes time is of the essence. Plus, when I buy it, it's mine and I don't have to share it or give it back.


Junior Member
buying supplies

This is my first year and I have found myself buying extra supplies for my music classes and my band classes. Sometimes it is just easier to buy them then to go throught the whole paper work process and explain why I need them to the principle! I have bought everything from Books to cds, instruments, percussion equiptment, filing systems, etc. I have spent money to help organize myself, becuase the more organized I am the more time I save!
It is amazing how much teachers do to help students and the community. We do so much for other people and rarely think of ourselves. We spend hours upon hours working with students with very little pay and use our money for the students education!!! Ignore the ignorant people out there........they are not worth our time nor our worries!


Senior Member
A BIG question mark in my mind

A local superintendent just said that she "wished people who have bought land would build bigger houses than they are building." The result would be more tax revenues for the school. She's sitting with her $120,000 a year salary and needs a reality check.

If you look at a school building, and think that on average teachers are funneling $500 a year of their own after-tax money back into their classroom, then there would be $10,000 extra going into a school that had 20 classrooms. This is double-taxing low salaried teachers who are buying said supplies to supplement classrooms, making them a comfortable, adequate academic environment.

The principal is worth a couple of teachers, a super maybe worth 4 teachers' salaries in a year. On one hand, we quietly buy the supplies and do what it takes to make it work. I don't mind so much, but on the other hand, it's a big question mark to me why administrators are paid so much, complain about low tax revenues, and the teachers have to be double-taxed to make the academic classrooms be adequate. Hmmm....


Senior Member
Spending money

I spent close to $2,000 of my own money my first year teaching. The previous teacher did not leave much in the room. I was so excited about getting a job that I didn't care about the spending. I would always buy incentives and rewards for my students, as well as small gifts for the holidays. A few years ago I realized that the pencils and other incentives were carelessly left on the floor or broken. I realized that it was not worth buying these items for the students when they don't really care about them. Now, I put together a Wish List for the Winter Holidays. I send a letter home to the parents and students that although I appreciate the personal gifts of candles, and perfumes, and in the spirit of the holidays, I would rather have supplies for the students. The students and I create a list together. We ask for resource books, crayons, paint sets, stencils, etc. The students wrap the gifts at home and we open them together. The students love this (as well as the parents). They all get to open gifts. Instead of giving them a small item, I buy something for the classroom. This year I bought tangram sets, geometric folding shapes, and a Highlights game. The students enjoy using these over the rest of the year and I feel so much about about spending money.


Linda M, I love it!

What a great solution! I'm gonna do it! Thanks!

BTW--consider that the previous teacher didn't leave much, because it was all stuff she'd paid for, therefore, it was hers. My room is full of books, posters, resources, etc., but when I go, it's mine--so it's going with me, for sure. So the teacher who comes in after me someday will probably also be saying that I didn't leave much. :-)


Senior Member
You're right...when I leave, I will take all of the stuff I bought with me. I mentored a new teacher last year and told her before she bought supplies for her room to check to see what I have and I am not using. Then when she was ready and knew what she REALLY needed, she should go out and buy things. And thank goodness for Walmart and dollar stores. They are a life saver!


Junior Member
Don't Even Get Me Started!!!

I still (after 10 years of teaching) have a hard time dealing with the ignorance of so many people. These are the same people that think teachers work 8-3, Mon-Fri, and get 3 months off in the summer! On top of those people also thinking that we have everything supplied for us in the classroom! I personally spend way over $1500 a year in my classroom- not just for classroom library books, resource books, literacy center games/activities, but also for the paper towels, soap, brooms, mops, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies that the school does not supply. We also have to provide our own copy paper and things like ink refills for our printers and pencils, crayons, and notebook paper for the students whose parents choose not to send in their supplies because why should they...they know that a teacher wouldn't let thier child go without! We get $50 in supply money at the beginning of each year and we get $20 from PTA at Christmas time to help pay for any classroom party we choose to do before christmas break. Also, if WE (The teachers) run a PTA carnival booth in the spring, we get 10 cents for each ticket our booth earns. Some people are just IGNORANT...but do I bat an eyelash at spending hundreds of dollars at the local teachers store? NOPE!!! Have a wonderful "3 month vacation"!