A teacher who spent over $4,000 of her own money to outfit her classroom explains why funding from schools for supplies just isn’t enough – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

A teacher who spent over $4,000 of her own money to outfit her classroom explains why funding from schools for supplies just isn’t enough

Nicole, a third-grade teacher, has spent $4,000 in the last four years on supplies and materials for her classroom.

Courtesy of Nicole

Teachers like Nicole buy items for their classrooms; she has spent at least $400 this year.
Nicole, a third-grade teacher, believes teachers need more money from schools for supplies and materials.
If teachers only spent what they were given, Nicole said it would make educators’ lives even harder.

Nicole, a third-grade teacher in New York, has bought learning worksheets and activities, multiple bins for her classroom library, flashlights for reading time, and her computer chair for her classroom over the last few years. The money for those purchases largely came out of her own pocket.

Based on documentation shared with Insider, Nicole had spent a minimum of $4,000 of her own money on classroom materials and supplies since 2019. She has spent at least $400 this year on things like a letter tray, worksheets, and bulletin board kits.

“When you first start, you have desks, you have chairs, and maybe a couple bookshelves, and that’s really it,” Nicole, who began to teach in 2019 after being a substitute, told Insider.

Nicole’s last name is known to Insider but withheld for privacy reasons.

Nicole is not alone in her out-of-pocket purchases, as many teachers spend their own money for supplies and teaching materials amid insufficient funding for those expenses. A teacher survey from AdoptAClassroom.org this year found the average out-of-pocket spending amount on supplies was $860.

That average is hundreds of dollars more than the median budget they said they got for this past school year. “Teachers said the median classroom school supply budget during the 2022-2023 school year was $200,” a post about the results on AdoptAClassroom.org said. “Additionally, 47% of teachers said their classroom budget does not go as far due to inflation.”

While Nicole has spent thousands of her own money so far, she also has received donations, some money from the school, and a small reimbursement from the school’s PTA. Students also bring in school supplies they may need. She also makes videos about being a teacher on her TikTok, and she said she has received items for her classroom through company partnerships.

Nicole thinks there needs to be more investment into teachers’ supplies.

“We don’t ask other professions to try to do their job without the materials they need,” she said. “I feel like a lot of teachers are expected to do their job without materials that they have or that they need.”

Nicole’s shopping cart, which includes bins for her classroom.

Courtesy of Nicole

Another issue for teachers is low pay: A report from Sylvia Allegretto, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, found the pay penalty for teachers and comparable college graduates who are working was at a record large gap in 2022 — a pay penalty of 26.4%.

“Low pay makes recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers difficult,” Allegretto wrote. “A lack of well-qualified teachers means we cannot equip future tech innovators, researchers, and educators with the training they need to emerge as leaders.”

Nicole said that the purchases she made were needed  “to make my students interested and engaged and making them feel like they’re in a warm, safe environment” — given how much time is spent a day and across an entire school year in the same room.

“They don’t want to be in a room that’s just four walls and chairs,” Nicole said. “That’s not going to motivate them or make them feel excited to learn. So all those extra things are essential to help them learn.”

Some of the items Nicole has bought over the past few years include books, card stock, and sharpeners. She has also bought flash cards, stickers, and markers.

“It’s just little things that add up,” she said.

Nicole said that if teachers only spent the money given to them, “it would make our lives very difficult.” If she didn’t spend her own money, “I would probably feel like I didn’t have the tools I needed to teach my students properly.”

“I think based on the amount of money teachers spend each year on supplies, resources, etc., school districts should provide teachers with more money,” Nicole told Insider.

While Nicole said her classroom could be considered “a little extra” given all the different decor and items she has, she said that “I definitely do think that it makes a difference in my students’ engagement and how my classroom runs.”

How much have you spent as a teacher or in a different job position? Share with this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider
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