As a student, the best times during the school year are vacations! You get to relax, sleep, cut off from daily homework or have some fun outside. Sometimes you are stuck with vacation homework and often try to cram it in order to finish before the break. Maybe you think of your teacher and how they’re probably grading school work. Hmm… your teacher… what could they be doing during vacation?
Some teachers across the nation are not always relaxing or having fun during vacation. Kind of sad, right? While you’re enjoying your time off, some teachers may be working an extra job just to buy supplies for their classrooms. Amira Abdakhallaq, an alegbra teacher at John D. O’Bryant, usually shops at Dollar Tree or Walmart for school supplies. Her budget used to be $200, though now it’s reduced to $100.
According to a Department of Education survey, 94% of American public school teachers reported paying for school supplies out of their own pocket in the 2014-15 school year. Those teachers spent an average of $479. Reports also show that teachers of younger students such as in daycare, preschool or kindergarten have to pay more than teachers of older students do, because of things like diapers and toys.
And that’s not just it. Broken school supplies affect teachers too, even schools. For instance, broken computers. Though most school computers are funded, according to The Save Project, the cost estimate of one computer is about $200, and that doesn’t include other things like chargers. So imagine the cost to repair multiple of them!
Danielle Traniello, a physical education teacher at John D. O’Bryant, explained that the birdies students use are a consumable, meaning that they are easily ruined and need to be replaced often. And a combination of badminton rackets and pickle balls cost $240! In the context of school supplies, she states that physical education supplies are usually down the chain due to the demand of gym supplies and equipment, yet they can get ruined easily.
Some may think, Why can’t the school pay for the supplies? According to school districts like Boston Public Schools, the districts have made “research-backed investments” on things like “…teacher salaries, maintaining our teachers’ salaries so that they are the highest paid professionals in Massachusetts and among the highest paid across the country.” They also state, “We look at the expected number of students who will attend the school next year and the needs of those students — for instance if they are in a special education classroom — and allocate dollars accordingly.” We can assume from this that though school districts like BPS don’t directly pay for school supplies, they intend to pay teachers enough to afford those school supplies. Based on this, Massachusetts teachers are paid at least enough to provide school supplies for their classes.
Now, I’m not saying you need to feel compassion for your teacher, though they do deserve it. You may not like a teacher, or see them always in a bad mood, but the best way to help them out is to donate supplies. You don’t have to spend money for new supplies, but you can gather unused items such as crayons, markers or pencils in your house. This way, you’re not only helping the teacher, or your classmates, but you’re helping yourself have a better learning experience at school as well.