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?
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