Teachers need more money for the class. Here’s how I’d spend it (Opinion)

Maybe in December you saw several South Dakota teachers scraping the classroommoney-for-the-classroom-heres-how-i-would-spend-it/2022/#icon-file”/>provide money on the rink of a hockey stadium. Stories of teachers struggling to find money for their classrooms are becoming more common. Take a district that sends its dollars to charter schools, add a recession, a little inflation, and we use the front, back, and margins of all our lined sheets of paper, my friends.

The end result for me, a 5th grade teacher in San Diego, is a $350 personal annual budget from my district that must include my printer ink, photocopy paper, pencils, student notebooks, and my lined or construction paper for the whole school year—and, God forbid, I should want to write something on a board or use a brightly colored marker. Soccer balls? You’re kidding !

According to fundraising platform AdoptAClassroom.org, teachers in 2020-21 spent $750 of their own money on their classrooms, the highest amount ever. Meanwhile, school districts across the country are figuring out how to spend COVIDrelief fund. Although children need more support for a lot of things related to pandemic relief, I would like to suggest that districts use some of the relief funds for school supplies.

What if teachers were given a school supply budget of $3,000? This far exceeds the few hundred dollars we currently receive, but it would still be well below what is typically budgeted by the district or state. What would happen?

Let’s start with yours truly.

The first thing I would do would be to allocate about $600 to buy the books my students want. Can’t find a book you want in class? I will buy it for you. Teachers know how expensive it is to keep up to date with the latest trending reading. Providing students with motivational, engaging, and high-quality literature should always be the foundation of any elementary school classroom.

I would spend $600 more just on school supplies, from glue to construction paper, from copy paper to crayons. (Trust me, that would barely cover what we would use.) School supplies keep my class standards and expectations high. When a classroom has the right basic materials and media to work with, students have the potential to create high-quality work. Why does it seem impossible for those who create school budget allocations to see that when a teacher cannot afford paper, a teacher cannot expect children to complete a homework written on a sheet of paper? And, please, let’s not talk about shifting all the work to “virtual discounts”. I think we tried that, didn’t we?

What if teachers were given a $3,000 school supplies budget to spend on school supplies and materials?

With an additional $600, my colleagues and I would stock up on materials for physical and social interaction, as well as resources for a school garden where students could grow ingredients to cook healthy meals in a nutrition class. Physical and health education does not exist in an appropriate form without the material it requires. Students would play tetherball, basketball, soccer and square with more than enough equipment for everyone.

With the next $600, I would buy a study program. Now, you could say, teachers get all that anyway, don’t they? Wrong. We are barely provided with textbooks. Sometimes we are provided with disposable exercise books for a subject. But with those extra dollars, I would buy a rich curriculum with which I would spend much of my summer vacation reading, reworking, and adapting to meet my students’ needs for the new school year, and I would share the curriculum with my class-level team. But if I could, I would also buy costumes for the readers’ theater, so that the students could practice reading fluently while playing the story; my science cabinet would be stocked with chemistry supplies and finally there would be terrariums and life science equipment available to me.

And finally, with my last $600, I would continue to incentivize and reward students by hosting engaging events that bring parents, community members, children, and staff together once it is safe to do so. To do. The reality is that making inroads into the community I serve is only possible with a reasonable amount of money. I would buy telescopes as prizes for my annual Star Night and Science Fair event. I would buy ice cream for all the families at my annual Malcolm X Library and Ice Cream Night. At the end of the year, we commemorate our hard work at Mr. Courtney’s Year-End Barbecue and Fishing Celebration.

What would giving teachers a budget for their own supplies do? In short, it would help them plan fabulous lessons and buy materials that stimulate the mind and activate engagement – ​​the very kinds of things that bring rich social-emotional school learning to life.

Imagine a classroom filled to the brim with the raw materials you want your children to have. Imagine a classroom where the teacher and students get what they need because your tax money ultimately goes to the best person to buy it for them. This is the kind of learning environment I want for my students.

About Christopher Rodgers

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