The public school teacher subsidizes.


A teacher friend was reflecting on a problem in her classroom.

So, she crowd-sourced the problem on Facebook.

Retired nearly seven years, I envied her the ability to do that.

She teaches young ones and this year they come in to her room from lunch all wired. She was looking for suggestions on how she could calm things down before heading into the first lesson of the afternoon.

Lunch rooms are loud places that are near perfectly designed with acoustics that turn a whisper into a scream. And nobody is whispering.

My friend got tons of suggestions.

That is so great.

As a retired Art teacher, I suggested making sketch books and supplying how-to-draw books.

The how-to-draw books might raise an eyebrow or two from Art teacher colleagues of mine who think they are too restrictive and prescriptive.

But over the years I bought hundreds of them for students who finished up early on a classroom project. They would grab their sketch book and a book by Ed Emberley or some other one and I didn’t have to worry about a thing.

My students loved it.

Someone else commented on the thread that she cut the books up so that they were turned into individual pages and then she put them in a 3-ring binder.

It is a brilliant idea to prevent arguments over who got which how-to book.

I will use that brilliant idea in my next teaching life.

My collection of how-to-draw books, collected, shredded and ripped up, used up and repurchased must have exceeded  hundreds, all kept in plastic bins.

I purchased them all out of pocket. Literally thousands of dollars over the years.  I was able to deduct $250 from federal taxes. I received a $75 check each year from the parent group. But I spent – oh, I have no specific dollar amount.  – on art supplies and stuff for my room.

No way was I unique.

Some have tried to estimate how much the average teacher spends of their own money on classroom supplies for their students. They have come up with a $500 a year amount.

That’s crazy low.

Who keeps count?

Keep receipts for money that was not going to be reimbursed?

What for?

Some have estimated a billion dollars a year is spent by teachers on supplies for their own classrooms. I think that is lowballing it.

But even that low figure is a billion dollar a year teacher subsidy to public schools.

And that is true in red states and blue.

Just something to keep in mind as teachers bargain raises again this year.



5 thoughts on “The public school teacher subsidizes.

  1. I kept track for over ten years, with receipts. Legitimate annual average was $2500. I laugh when I hear the “oh wow, $500” comments. Plus shopping at garage sales and thrift stores. And Trump’s people need government cars to drive home!

  2. My classroom contributions were nearer to the $1500-2000/year. That amount because it included money toward field trips and things that were sent home to families. Right after I began teaching, as a very young woman, I came home and said to my husband that my classroom and the families would be our charity. I wanted to make sure I could simply get what was needed without worry or having to discuss it.

  3. In addition to the items already mentioned, many teachers are now having to buy soap, TP, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. These are items that used to be supplied when school employees did the custodial work. Many districts have thrown their custodians under the bus, hiring outside contractors to “save money”. The result is often dirty classrooms, toilets without toilet paper, sinks without paper towels, and soap dispensers filled with water. Meanwhile the administrators who outsourced the custodial services are rewarded with a large raises by the school boards. The teachers are not REQUIRED to buy these supplies, supposedly the contractor furnishes the supplies. The contractors hire custodians at minimum wage, and then send a fraction of supplies needed, and allow a fraction of the hours needed to clean and re-stock washrooms, (that’s how they “save money”). Some of these custodians try to buy supplies out of their own pocket, but they are very limited by their low wages. The bottom line ends up being, if a teacher wants clean, sanitary conditions in their classroom, they buy the supplies themselves.

  4. What a shame…we live in a wealthy country dominated by a greed based system that spends our people’s tax monies( by the billions) on war machinery designed to blow humans beings into pieces of torn flesh and bone fragments…while simultaneously opting to deny school supplies to the children of those same tax payers…and causing Teachers to foot the bill…Shame on Capitalism…a rapacious and cannibalistic System…Is any other system available?…I often wonder?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s