Monday, October 4, 2010

The Hidden Costs of Teaching

From Scholastic Instructor:
What other profession expects employees to spend their own money to furnish their workplace?
By Megan Kaesshaefer

You want your students to get the best education possible, even if it means dishing out your own money to help make it happen. 97 percent of teachers do just that and more (case and point below), and with budgets tightening, spending for students is on the rise. We asked Instructor readers how much they sacrifice each year.

"I am in a high-poverty district where supplies and contributions are limited. I spend hundreds of dollars of own money buying supplies for 25 students, but when I see where they live and that they have so little, I know it will make for a more successful school year." -Amanda Graham, via Facebook

"I teach in the city, and students rarely bring in anything. Teachers are not given supplies, so I spend between $1,000 and $1,500 per year." -Lisa Haley Berardini, Rochester, NY

"I spent $800 last year. This year, I began with practically nothing, and have had to beg, borrow, and buy to make a functional classroom." -Jola Sulaiman, via Facebook

"My mom, a retired teacher, volunteers in my classroom, and between the two of us we spend $100 a month. It's not just on supplies, it's food, too!" -Marjie DeWilde, Nixa, MO

"I teach in an inner city school with over 900 free-or reduced-lunch enrolled. I help pay for field trips for kids, buy socks and underwear, and granola bars to keep in my closet at the beginning of the year for needy kids. It's not just teaching supplies; it's life supplies!" -Mary Anne Feller, Evansville, IN

The Truth About Teacher-Spending:
More than half of teachers aren't equipped with the basic everyday classroom supplies they need, and in a job that pays less than the big bucks, we know you feel the strain. Here's the truth about teacher spending.

  • $623. Amount the average teacher spends for classroom supplies out of pocket
  • 79% of teachers say they need more school supplies or better equipment for their classrooms
  • 70% of teachers claim their schools do not provide them with the necessary tools needed to effectively teach students
  • 28% of teachers say they have to cut-back on spending for their own families in order to use the money for their classroom
  • 65% of teachers think that most parents don't know educators spend their own money on supplies for their kids
  • 32% of teachers say they would give up two vacation days if it meant their students' learning environment could improve
Source: National Teaching Realities Survey, Kelton Research, 2010

About the Author:
Megan Kaesshaefer is Assistant Editor of Scholastic Instructor.

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