Work Together!: How Parents Can Help Teachers Start the School Year With Everything They Need
Work Together!: How Parents Can Help Teachers Start the School Year With Everything They Need
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 by Andilynn Feddeler

As those long supply lists are coming out for the upcoming school year, teachers across the country are preparing to spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets for materials students’ families may not be able to provide. Parents often complain about having to spend so much money on very specific items for the classroom—supplies their own child may not even use—but a little extra help can make a teacher’s job somewhat less overwhelming. Teachers put in endless hours, money, and energy into making sure every student has a great school year, and thinking about having enough notebooks to go around should be the last of their worries. So, if possible, try to obtain every item asked of you. It may seem like a waste of money, or like it’s pointless to get one brand of pencil over the other, but cooperating with the list makes a teacher’s job slightly easier.

It’s no secret that teachers, on average, supply more than half of the materials needed for their classrooms, and spend money they may not have on supplies students don’t (and sometimes aren’t asked to) bring in. For families that don’t have the resources to buy everything asked of them, there are multiple organizations and charities that offer free or discounted supplies, and teachers are often very willing to work out a plan to make sure everyone gets what they need.

It’s important to keep in mind that although spending over a hundred dollars for your kid’s school supplies seems crazy, teachers have the same responsibility—multiplied by 20, more or less. They also have to decorate their classrooms, mostly with their own money, in order to keep kids engaged and learning as effectively as possible. Teachers who work with low-income, gifted, and special needs students also often have to supply even more of their own materials for individualized lessons, and to ensure that no child is left out of the learning process.

Thank teachers for the endless work they put into our students by going an extra mile, if you can, to provide the classroom supplies they kindly ask for every year. Let your children know that their education is worth the effort. If you can’t afford to supply everything on the list, communicate with your teachers and let them know that they are appreciated. And, if you are able and feeling generous, consider donating to teachers and classrooms that need a bit of extra help at DonorsChoose.org. There, you can browse different projects that still need funding for the upcoming school year.