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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

School spending: Parents and teachers

July 23, 2008

Molly, Anna, and I went shopping for school supplies yesterday. It's always a bit of a giddy shopping trip; choosing which color for the composition book, 16 or 24 box of crayons, Elmer's or Rose's glue…getting to buy colored pencils…oh my! We were there for at least an hour.

Total cost: $47.00 for two kids.

The trip reminded me of my own teaching days when I'd make my late August trip to the teacher's supply store. I really liked these certain desk name tags that had a number line along the bottom and the alphabet across the top. I always needed clear contact paper to cover the name tags and various other stickers, notes, and supplies. Teaching was expensive!

Just how expensive? According to Administrator magazine, K-12 teachers spend an average of $475 per year on materials for the classroom. Elementary teachers spend a significantly higher amount ($539) compared with middle ($393) and high ($427) school teachers.

iLoveSchools.com, reports that teachers spend over $650 of their own money to buy classroom materials. To ease the burden, iLoveSchools offers a donor-matching service for education. School teachers build wish lists of equipment, materials and supplies. Donors locate teachers a search and offer their donations of new or used items or the cost of the teacher's wish list.

How much are your school supplies this year? And, if you're a teacher, how much of your own money do you plan to spend on classroom materials? Tell us here, and then join a national survey at Edutopia about how much of their own money teachers spend on their classrooms each year.

This is a topic I'll be revisiting throughout the year. My local PTO is trying to figure out just how we can better support our teachers with expenses like this; we do give teachers money at the beginning of the school year, but it's clearly not sufficient! I'll let you know what solutions we come up with.

Comments

I'm not a classroom teacher, but I did earn a teaching certificate with my undergraduate program. I'm well aware of the out of pocket expenses for teachers, so it's been a mission of mine to stock up on bargain school supplies and drop them off at local schools in need. There have been some great deals at national office supply stores lately, so I have bags full of pencils, glue, rulers, etc - and I didn't even spend $5! Most teachers I know are more than happy to buy the supplies their students need, but I know they all spend too much. I'm happy to do my part.

I'm not a classroom teacher, but I did earn a teaching certificate with my undergraduate program. I'm well aware of the out of pocket expenses for teachers, so it's been a mission of mine to stock up on bargain school supplies and drop them off at local schools in need. There have been some great deals at national office supply stores lately, so I have bags full of pencils, glue, rulers, etc - and I didn't even spend $5! Good books are harder to come by at a good discount, but I keep my eye out for those as well.Most teachers I know are more than happy to buy the supplies their students need, but I know they all spend too much. I'm happy to do my part.

I usually spend anywhere between $2000 and $4000 per year on materials for projects; books for the classroom; and additional training.

Oh my gosh! That's a LOT of money! Are you able to deduct those expenses from your taxes? You might want to look into that iLoveSchools site I wrote about.

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