Twitter and Facebook Poll: What Do You Think of Teachers Spending Their Own Money on Classroom Supplies?

Posted on 08/25/2011

Cincinnati’s Taft Elementary started the school year with a major music room makeover that included décor, drums, guitars and keyboards. Presented through the Mentos Rocks program, music teacher Ms. Laura Max had been holding instruments together with packing tape and using homemade instruments like buckets instead of drums. She’s one of thousands of teachers forced to use their own cash to keep the classroom functioning. In honor of those giving teachers we wanted to know your thoughts on educators who spend their own money on supplies.


Laura MacPherson: I think it is awesome that teachers care so much about their kids that they will spend their own money on supplies. However, I also know from personal experience (my husband is a teacher) that it can put a strain on personal budgets! I think the school should pay for supplies, since they don't pay teachers very much in salary. Most teachers I know go so far above and beyond, in spending both their extra personal time in the evenings and on weekends and spending their own money on supplies--I'm proud of the teachers I know and wish education got more support!

Shana Kowalke: I think that teachers are so important! I also think that they are so underpaid! So the fact that they have to spend out of what little they make doesn't make since. I think the school system should have an allowance for their classroom supplies!

Dale Saylor: As a teacher I probably spent many thousands of dollars on classroom supplies. But as a non-teacher, who would consider this to be criminal or at least unmoral? How many people in other fields would spend this kind of money to get office supplies because their employer would not?

Patricia McCorkle Crandall: The last year I taught, I spent $2,600. Out of my pocket! It was the only way to get the students a tiny portion of what they needed! That was excluding the $250 that the state would reimburse you for office supply type items. I was famous for constant fund raisers.

Pamela Scott Frangedakis: As a teacher, I too, spend my own money on supplies for my classroom. It is worth it when I see the students using these supplies, but I also can't help but think- "How could I have used that money for myself?" It's a frustrating, but most teachers accept the fact that they must spend their own money in their classrooms.

Rebecca Vereen: When I taught, a couple of years ago, teachers in the area were given $250 at the beginning of the school year to spend on supplies. With advance planning and using that money on what was REALLY needed to learn it was generally enough. I did dig into my pocket several times, but that was my choice. Teachers can write grants from agencies like Donor's Choose, of course they are not always funded. Teachers can always send home an announcement about needing more paper, Kleenex, pencils, etc. and sometimes get a response. The teacher can ask students to send in needed items as opposed to getting the teacher Christmas gifts. Ultimately, I think it depends on what is being taught, to how expensive the supplies can be and how much a teacher would need extra $ to spend on them. Teaching science beyond the book can get expensive!


@Cimholz: When I was teaching I spent thousands of my own $ on supplies. I taught only in high poverty schools so the parents typically couldn't or wouldn't buy supplies. We got only a very minimal amount from the state 4 supplies. If we wanted anything really nice we had to pay for it ourselves.

@BresBaubles: Sad but true in this society

@JackKnipe: bc I'm at a small private school I've always bought my supplies. I'm used to it but it's sad because that leaves no legacy for the school. Should I leave, every book, poster, and stapler will come with me.

@Jim_Ferguson: I know [my wife] Kathryn often did when she was teaching, but they really shouldn't have to.

@MarkDudley19: It is one thing to ask an employee to provide themselves the tools to do their job, it is a whole new ball game asking an employee to provide enough supplies for 20-30 kids to do theirs, which is learn.

By Alison Storm

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