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First Year Teacher Self-Study Course

First Year Teacher is a self-paced professional development course for novice K-3 teachers, developed by Reading Rockets. The program provides teachers with an in-depth knowledge of reading so they are prepared to guide their students into becoming skilled and enthusiastic readers.

Photo of teacher and students

Week 18

Ka-ching!

Teaching is a very rewarding profession. Watching your students learn new concepts and academically progress are reasons why people stay in the field. Teaching, however, can also be a very expensive profession. The academic success students achieve comes mostly from district-bought items. Many other resources, however, also help them, but they come out of the wallets of the teachers.

There are many items that are needed for a classroom. Word walls, file folder games, supplemental worksheets, crafts, calendars and games are all important to have in a first grade class, even though they are not required, and therefore, not purchased by the district. True, many of these items can be made, but there are just not enough hours in the day to make everything. To try and save time, I have been buying various materials and supplements throughout the year.

This week, I again went to Bosland’s teaching store. The cashier knows me by now. I no longer even need to show her my discount card. I went in there just to get calendar dates, promising myself I could only get what I really needed. I left, however, with two shopping bags, costing me about $100. While I was there, I kept finding things I knew I could use, like a reproducible winter stories book, a digraph game and short vowel poster, just to name a few purchases. To encourage positive reinforcement, I give out lots of stickers in my class. As a result, I also bought more stickers: some winter ones, some smelly ones, and even some for Valentine’s Day. Then, to help organize all of these items, I needed to go to Staples and buy more baskets and containers. Just when I think I could have everything I need, I find myself at the store, buying more things that I still need for the classroom.

Seasoned teachers have developed archives of resources. I, however, am starting from scratch. I know these additional items benefit the students, that is why I make as many purchases as I do. And it’s true, I like to shop, whether it is for me, my wardrobe or my classroom. But I think of teaching as one of the few professions where so much of what is in the classroom is from the teacher, not a company card or a petty cash fund. Every day I get catalogs in the mail advertising additional classroom materials that I can buy. All of them seem so wonderful; I wish I could buy them all. Hopefully through the years I will be able to control my purchases and have a nice sized library of extra resources. But for now, I will make sure to use all of my teacher discount cards wherever they are accepted.

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943