Having spent the past four days snowed in and stir crazy, I decided to sit down and work on my taxes yesterday. In the process, I started digging through all of the receipts I’ve saved for items that I bought for my classroom.

Grand total for 2013: $1,300.

That number actually caught me by surprise simply because (1). I’ve made a systematic effort to buy LESS for my classroom this year simply because my family is broke and (2). I’ve had a TON of support from the parents of my students, who rally to the call anytime that I share a list of needed supplies with them.

Here are some highlights from my spending:

Most expensive purchases:  $159 for a subscription to Commoncraft — a tool that makes engaging video production possible, $110 on plants for a lab on plant anatomy, and $84 on a Brother scanner for digitizing student work.

Most common purchases:  Materials for use in my science labs, including $84 on consumables like marshmallows and spaghetti,  $25 for magnets and $12.50 for Pyrex test tubes.

Most important purchases:  $105 for a new winter jacket and backpack for a student living in poverty, $100 worth of gift cards to a local grocery store to provide Thanksgiving meals for families living in poverty and $47 for a webcam to Skype a homebound student into our classroom.

Purchases that my students liked the best:  $135 for new books for my classroom bookshelf.

Cheapest purchase:  $4.13 for replacement light bulbs for flashlights used in our light lab.

Now, I know full well that some of these purchases aren’t TOTALLY essential.

My kids could have lived without a Commoncraft subscription and it’s definitely not my responsibility to buy winter jackets and/or food for struggling students.  What’s more, I could probably have gotten some of these items purchased by the school if I had gone through the proper paperwork channels months before I needed them.

But that doesn’t change the fact that our schools are underfunded and our teachers — no matter what horrible things underinformed legislators want to say about them — are making up for that shortfall by pulling cash out of their own pockets.

Are we REALLY okay with that?





Related Radical Reads:

What Kinds of Things DO Teachers Buy for their Classrooms?

More on the Kinds of Things Teachers Buy for their Classrooms

Three Reasons Why North Carolina’s Plan for Paying Teachers is a REALLY Bad Idea

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