My B+ Attempts at Being All That

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Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent

on August 6, 2016

So we started doing the school supply shopping this week. A daunting task even as the kids get older and the lists get shorter. Gone in my house are the days when the most expensive item on the list was the ever-elusive “just this size” binder. Now, we’re talking calculators that rival my electricity bill. But I sigh, watch the ads and get out there and do it. I put on my thickest armor because nothing will be just right for my kids. The kitty folders are too childish; the more mature ones are $200 apiece. Add to that the hysterical mobs crowding the $1 pencils like they were the last chance to win tickets to a 21 Pilots concert, and we have a joyfest that keeps on giving. (Insert sarcastic eye roll here). Yes, I’m frustrated.



And let’s talk about that list; shall we? I mean, who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to request that our kids purchase Expo markers in bulk or boxes of Kleenex that should be supplied already? ESPECIALLY when those might not get used by my kids? Who thinks it should be my job to bring Ziploc bags to school?



Well, I’ll tell you who.


This mom.

IMG_4505 (1)


I’m not going to buy just the one extra box of tissues because (let’s all be honest here) I can afford more than that. And “gasp” what if someone other than my precious Timmy uses them? Well, then, haven’t I done a good deed for the year for less than the cost of a coffee? We should all be interested in what will create the best learning environment for all these kids, for all these little people who will be making big decisions some day like what to do with YOUR Social Security or how to fix YOUR city infrastructure or how best to treat that cancerous mass in YOUR body.




If you don’t agree with something on the list and think it’s excessive, have a conversation with the teacher. I guarantee if it is something that will actually get used to educate your children, the teacher will be able to explain how. Yes, Expo markers are expensive. Get in a classroom and watch children solve problems at their desks (sometimes ON them) with them and really engage in the process because it all of a sudden became colorful and perhaps a little bit taboo. You think you have to buy too many glue sticks? I invite you to join a class when they do a simple sorting and gluing project that gives the kids one more opportunity to understand all the “-augh” words and their various pronunciations and watch multiple children go through half a stick just for that one project. More is more, right? And yes, the theory is that you teach them to use less, but let’s be honest: some just use what they use. Watch kids “clean” the floor at the end of the day and, in a rush to get home, throw away all the “trash” they found, which includes half used pencils and crayons that would take too long to find a home for.




So, let’s fast forward to January. The supplies are no longer new and shiny, and more than a few have met their untimely trash can demise. Used and broken crayons look better in that circular file than in pencil boxes. Glue sticks that still have some in them but are not the easiest to use just aren’t worth it anymore. Markers find new homes in backpacks. Pencils that have no erasers have lost their appeal. Dry erase markers are dried up because they have been used to solve, spell, create.


And then what happens? Supplies that were an extra $10 from you at the beginning of the year for one kid become extras in your kid’s teacher’s cart at Target during a grocery run. And forget the $10. Oh no. Multiply that sucker by – how many kids were in that classroom? Was it 20? 30? Let’s see.


Does your job ask you to shell out a couple hundred bucks to upgrade your software or buy staples? And if it’s teaching your kid how to multiply better or be able to compose a sentence without referring to spell check, isn’t that extra $10 a little worth it?




I’m frustrated by our entitlement. We act like we’re doing the schools and the teachers a favor when we fill that backpack with tissues and markers.

Umm, let’s back up a minute. Aren’t they the ones doing us the favor?

I mean, are we willing to take a step (or 200) backward and fill in gaps caused by something as silly as a distracted kid (who then distracts others) because he can’t find a glue stick to finish his project? And yes, we went through school without some of these things, but these kids are more accustomed to bright and shiny. Maybe sad, but still true. And if bright and shiny go away, attention spans shorten, and kids are more disruptive. And guess what? Kids don’t learn as well then.




I’m frustrated that we can’t see just how big a job these incredibly underpaid teachers are undertaking. So, my suggestion is to watch for sales and stock up. Buy the extra box of tissues. Do the right thing and thank that teacher for all the efforts to make our future decision-makers great ones. Be frustrated with me for the right reasons.







637 responses to “Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent

  1. Dodie Price says:

    The title for this article is HORRIBLE. It is very misleading. When I saw a friend post this, I was shocked and offended. Then I came and read the post (because I was going to give you a piece of my mind) and found it was the opposite of the title. This is called a “click and bait” article, and that’s a cheap shot. Thanks for supporting kids, teachers, and education. Please consider changing the title.


    • I thought the same thing when I read the title. I’m a teacher, and I was ready to defend my classroom. However, asking her to change the title would make the article less effective. Who wants to read “Why you need to spend more money on your child’s classroom”. No one. They’re already frustrated with having to spend the money, and they certainly don’t want to read an article about it. I think it was clever to title it this way. It got us to click, didn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

      • jess says:

        I just find it interesting that I bought everything on the supply list for a private school and every day my child comes in with a drawing in coloured pencil. I’m asling my self what happened to the supplies?? I don’t see them being used, Do they use watercloured felt tips and felt tips/markers in kindergarten?? Why did the parents have to buy them?
        Maybe theres something I don’t know. I feel like in my particular school the parents have to donate time, volunteer , pay for items, pay for field trips, donate items and, my child is just filling out worksheets every day and hasn’t come home with one single painting. They’ve been doing the same technique in basketball throwing and catching for the past 8 months, and sometimes when I ask her about PE, I’m told I did computer work today? I don’t see the benefits really parents pay the tuition and contribute more which is fine but I don’t see the kids getting the advantage. Apart from a carnival that happens once a year and even then the parents contribute by setting up and working in the carnival. Am I overreacting??


    • Russ says:

      Not a click bait title at all…rather a provocative and creative use of titling that encourages folks to actually read the piece. Click bait is much more devious, and usually meant to boost advertising revenue..

      Liked by 1 person

    • A Leon says:

      I think the title served its purpose considering you read the article? Chill out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sammy says:

      Dodie, while I appreciate your sentiment, this actually is not “Click Bait” at all. The article precisely reflects the title. Just because your assumption about the title was inaccurate, does not mean that this is click bat. In fact, as others would argue, the title makes this post even more effective than it might have been otherwise. Plus, the author clearly answers why she won’t buy just “one extra box” which is exactly what the title alludes to.

      As a counter example, if the author had used the same title, but then linked to an article about time shares in Bermuda, that would be Click Bait (in it’s more traditional “bait and switch” format), or, if the title had read something more like “CRAZY MOM REFUSES TO HELP KIDS – HER REASONS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND” that would be click bait (in a more contemporary style).

      This is not click bait, a clever title intended to draw page views is not per se click bait, and while there is a “curiosity gap” here which click bait does tend to rely on, there is no sensationalism or “bait and switch” aspect to this article.

      I for one think the title is well though out and deployed.


  2. 50djohnson says:

    I was a teacher for thirty years! You have no idea of the truth which you speak!!!! Kleenexes are a must especially when allergy season and flu season hit… Unbelievable how we went throught them.. I know I spent over 1,000 a year on supplies and thinkgs to make learning more fun and interesing… Sad that education isn’t a priority, in time, materials, and technology…. American kids are smart… but the biggest complaint from teachers around the nation, and what I personally think keeps us behind others countries is that our kids won’t do their homework.!!!! Teachers have theri hands tied now and parents complain there too much homework… It’s the kids job to learn. Their only job! Sorry , I got carried away!!1 but I feel strongly about the failing education in America/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Hannan says:

    I too was duped into reading this because I object to the specific nature of the lists. If a hardworking mother can buy 24 crayons for less money than the specialty box of 16, well . . .

    In reading your blog I was also distressed to see that asking the class to clean up at the end of the day means discarding broken crayons and those expensive markers that lack a cap and may therefore be dried out.

    How about this: as part of the children’s education, teachers can encourage them to value these hard-won supplies . . . Remind the child to replace the cap on that expensive marker and put it back where it belongs; keep a box of crayon fragments for other lessons . . . for example, use pieces of various lengths to learn how to measure a half, quarters and eighths of inches; line up crayon pieces to show the spectrum; using imagination, write a paragraph about how this purple crayon came to be broken; using the Internet, research what it would cost to replace the expensive marker or the box of crayons. Just chucking things because they are no longer “shiny” and new is not in the spirit of educating responsible, imaginative, and creative citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lori says:

      As a former part time teacher and now volunteer, I can attest that any and all usable supplies get saved from the trash. Crayons that gets trashed are too tiny for the most experienced artist to use and a key impossible for little fingers. Other supplies like markers and glue sticks get used up.

      Last fall our city had a failed override to raise taxes to support school projects. Why? Because the money was not going directly into the classrooms. Perhaps if parents all saved their recipes for extra supplies and them in bulk and teachers did the same, more money might be funded to the schools.

      On a side note, it’s not just stationary supplies that get replenished by teachers. I know many teachers in different towns who are required to do admittedly lovely and fun science projects. However there is limited money in the budget for supplies. Teachers spend hundreds of dollars making up the difference b

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bethany says:

      In schools I have taught in broken crayons are saved for melted crayon art projects. Nothing of value is thrown away. Most teachers do have the children pick up things on the floor. Little piece of colored paper are put in a scrape box for creative art. I put a date on markers so I can track how long they are used before they no longer work and talk to students about keeping caps on. Lots of teachers do things like this to save materials.


    • Mbf says:

      I don’t think this means that the teachers tell them to throw away the used up supplies. In my experience, the kids are the ones who throw them away. I taught a summer cooking class and the first year I chose to use reusable plastic cups, bowls and utensils. Instead of washing them in the sink, as instructed, I found scores of them in the trash. I had to fish them out of the trash and wash them myself. Needless to say, so many were “lost” that I had to resort to using disposables from then on.


    • 50djohnson says:

      I promise most teachers do everything in their power to keep the kids stuff together.. When you have 110 kids in the grade level and they switch classes and leave their stuff all over the school.. it is next to impossible!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Andy says:

    First off I want to say all that is a crock. Im a mechanic and I have to pay for all my tools for my trade. And I bet they cost more then glue sticks and tissues! Second,when I found out that in my daughters 4th grade class put all there supplies in a community bucket. I was furious at the fact I purchase some of the more expensive supplies and she never got to use most of them. I feel so bad for teachers. They teach the same crap over and over every year so I can’t imagine their job to be that hard. It also must be rough to have nearly 4 months off with pay. The only thing I am thankful to teachers is the fact thay have to put up with our snot nose kids for 8 months a year.


    • Shannon says:

      Wow, first off Iet me address “putting up with your kids” I do not put up with my students. Last year one of my students asked me who my favorite student was and I told them one of the joys and secrets of teaching is finding something I like in each of them. So no I do not put up with them, I actually enjoy teaching them and learning about them as unique individuals. Next, I do not know what state you are from but in mine I am only paid for the days I work. My district takes the days I work and divides them into 24 equal pay checks which really means I do not get paid for my time until long after my job is done for the year. Now you also mentioned teaching the same thing every year. Let me ask you this has your job or tools changed in the last 20 years? Mine has. Teachers constantly update our knowledge of not only the subjects we teach but the delivery as well. Now as far as school supplies go, yes we often create a shared supply bucket realizing that some of our parents just are not able to do as much as others. I want to thank you for helping those other students in your daughters class not having to feel left out or looked down on by their peers. I think one of the hardest things in my job is having students who have no money for a coat let alone school supplies. Your daughter is so lucky to have a father like you. So to some all this up, I love my job. I believe I have the best job in the world. I know every day my parents send me their best. I am grateful for any and all help that parents can provide because buying those supplies does not enrich me but the people I work for my students and their parents and families.Thank you for sending me your best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark says:

        A simple “as well”: Tools used in a business can be fully depreciated regardless of cost. Teacher are limited, by ta law, to $500. I never spent less than $500 in any year I taught. And, in many schools, that includes paper for the copier after the school budget is gone!. As, that 4 months off is a bold lie. My year is never 8 on 4 off. Never in my 44+ years of teaching


      • Jess Someguy says:

        All I can say is I hope you don’t teach English


      • Skully says:

        With all due respect, I’m kinda tired of the “underpaid, under appreciated school teacher” bit. You willing accepted the job, with the pay stated up front. Can’t make ends meet? Try something else.
        I would GLADLY have my yearly earnings divided equally for the summer off. I would love to have a pension plan. But you see, I get paid by the hour. I only have a 401K. That’s the job I chose. I’m not complaining. I buy my own tools. I’m not complaining.
        And with all due respect…teaching isn’t what it used to be. Our area has teachers of 10+ yrs getting canned because they can’t pass a proficiency test. These teachers have been teaching my child slang and broken English for years…how they skated by this long amazes me. The supposed answer? “Pay them more, and you’ll get better”. Sounds like ransom to me. Where I work, if you can’t cut it…you’re gone the first week (or not hired in the first place). But alas, I live in the real world.


    • jd says:

      yes we have a few months off from the children, but we still continue to build on our knowledge and skills on providing the best skills for your child to learn. Yes, you paid for your tools for your trade but do you HAVE TO share your tools of your trade with your co-workers (or is this an option) for teachers this is not an option. Also if people would be willing to provide more money for the school systems maybe we can stop asking parents to be part of their child’s education. yes we do receive our salary for the months off the summer but it is not extra money it is just our salary split for 12 months instead of 10 months. You could also ask your teacher for the more expensive supplies back that your purchased for your child, that is always an option.


      • Jess Someguy says:

        I can tell you I would be more than willing to provide more money for the school systems if I knew the money went to teaching and not everywhere else. They tried to pass more millage in my town for schools but it was voted down. Same as a new gas tax. I think the biggest problems with requests for more taxes is we never seem to pay enough. No matter how many times taxes are raised, there still isn’t enough for schools, roads, police, fire, etc. but there always seems to be enough for the politicians.
        P.S. I prefer spending extra for supplies that I know are going directly to the schools(regardless of who’s kid is using them) than paying higher taxes. Maybe that’s a way schools should look to get more help? Reduce taxes and let me pay for supplies, books, etc. directly.


    • berryhij1 says:

      Wow, I feel awful for your daughter’s teachers. Yes, you purchase your own tools but you are the one using them. Plus, they last a lot longer than school supplies so I don’t think it’s a good comparison. You should try to volunteer at your daughter’s school. It’s not as easy as you think is.


    • Tonya Moulton says:

      Wow are you kidding me with this attitude? Tgayswhat you think of your children? What’s wrong with you man? I am so annoyed by people with your attitude towards educators. I am thankful for the “crap” they teach my kids every year. Maybe next time you’re reading the parts box to make sure you have the right part for the poor unsuspecting person letting you work on their car or you’re counting the money when they pay you maybe you should stop and thank a teaching for taking time to teach you crap!


    • Tammy Hemp says:

      I’m curious, when tax time comes, do you get to write off the total amount you spend on the tools for your job as a mechanic and the professional development that you have to do to keep your certification? If you do, I’m very happy for you because you should be able to write off all that you spend on tools and professional development for your job. If your employer pays for your classes, that’s wonderful because they should. Teachers only get to write off $250 of what they spend on their job. The only way they are able to write off more than that, is if they spend 2% of their income. Then they can write off the 2%. Most teachers spend well over the $250, but not enough to make up 2% of their income. So for example, if a teacher who makes $50,000, and spends $950 on his/her classroom and professional development, he/she still only gets to write off $250. Also, teachers don’t “own” most of the materials they buy because they are consumed by the students in the classroom.

      I’m sorry for your children that you refer to them in a group of “snot nose kids”. Even though our government would like us to look at our students as a business and something off of an assembly line (because every child has to meet specific guidelines by the end of each grade, usually developed by someone whom has never stepped foot in a classroom), I refuse to and will never refer to any of my students as a “product” on an assembly line, a “customer”, and nor will I ever refer to any of them as “snot nosed kids”. They are human beings, with their own thoughts and proclivities and should be treated and respected.

      I won’t judge your job as a father and mechanic as I don’t think I have a right to judge you. Please don’t think you have the right to judge teachers. You speak of teachers who “recycle” their lesson plans year after year, and have four months off with pay. First of all, I think perhaps you might be thinking of the teachers who taught you, and those who taught years ago. Fortunately for your children, education has evolved since then.

      Perhaps, before being so quick to judge teachers as lazy and entitled, you should walk in their shoes and see just what the job of a teacher entails. It is one of the hardest jobs, and one that most people would not be able to do. I would not for one minute judge you as a mechanic, because I know that you work very hard with little or no recognition, and I’m sure a lot of pressure if you are working for someone else. My brother is a mechanic and works in the body shop at a car dealership, so I understand that it is a difficult job. I have seen how tired he comes home after work and how taxing it is on his body. He just had to have surgery on both of his feet and had to miss eight weeks of work. I know that I could not do his job or yours.

      Just like there are mediocre and bad doctors, mechanics, lawyers, sanitation workers, etc. there are also the same in the teaching profession. Is it right? No, but life is not perfect. Unfortunately, since our government and media have vilified teachers and the education profession, teachers not only have to do their jobs, but they have to use time and energy to try to defend what they do. No other profession that I’m aware of has to do that.

      I’m not going to get into all of the politics, testing requirements, other job requirements that teachers have to handle. Nor will I get into all of the specifics about working with all children on an individual basis and what that requires. I am also not going to into the specifics of what teachers try to do for the children who come to school hungry, under dressed for the weather (etc.), and not ready to learn. There is not enough room or time here to do that. Suffice to say, that I respect the job that you do. Please try to consider what I have said here and I hope you might have tiny better understanding of what teachers really do and at times sacrifice.

      People have to stop listening to the government and media, because as always there is two sides to every issue and the truth is somewhere in between. Before jumping to judge teachers as lazy and entitled, please try to walk in their shoes first.

      If you or anyone else has taken the time to read through to the end of this reply, I thank you.


      • Lori says:

        First of all if it were not for our teachers we wouldn’t have doctors , lawyers, presidents, mechanics, plumbers, or just other professions ( TEACHERS) !!!! our teachers should make more than any of those listed professions!!!! And as far as our government being involved with our schools ( our teachers are forced to teach just what these government issued tests say and only that which is the stupidest thing I have ever seen and not only that , these kids are being told if they don’t pass these tests with flying colors that they are failing there school and their schools won’t make money because let’s face it it all falls in them and it’s way too much pressure on them ( I know children who actually get sick from all the stress of pressure, they have trash xans sitting at their desks because they xans control the fear of it all and UT literally makes them sick!!) That’s just crazy!!!) And if our school systems would look into the future if schools ( like what how much the schools will grow within let’s say 10 years instead of just now, when they propose a new bond for a new school it would make more since on our taxes and in between those years then maybe there would be enough money somewhere to give teachers more and we as a whole wouldn’t mind paying more for supplies or helping out more) in my district where I live we seem to have a new bond so for either new schools ( and then leave empty buildings ) or having to add on to existing structures to provide space for a larger group of kids ( if we would look ahead (future of 10 or more years ) then having our taxes only increase over a 10 or more year spand then we could have smaller bonds to increase pay for our teachers iron provide more for our students!!! I wish the government would stay out of the picture and let our teachers do their jobs and be creative in learning and teach our kids basics of life skills such as measurements , cursive writing, just everyday basics of life and then more preparation would follow that for life ( not saying that they don’t need to be tested for knowledge because if we don’t challenge them with tests that’s how they fall through the cracks but our own districts should come up with there own tests and not from our government who have tests drawn up from other states that have know idea of what our children need or what they do, every child is different that’s what makes us all human, so I am sorry I have went on and on but our teachers deserve to make more than a doctor,lawyer, president because without our teachers we wouldn’t even have those things!!!!!! And as far as for the time off in summer, they need a break from kids just like parents do so shut up about that and in reality they dont get that much time off they stay weeks after kids are out and go back neatly a month before our kids go back and they also have to attend x amount of work shops!!!!) I am not a teacher nor do I volunteer but I do pay attention and from where I stand I couldn’t do there job nor would I want to so I commend them!!! Thank you for listening and it’s my opinion and I am not judging anyone just an observation!!!!!!!


    • Mbf says:

      Many times I do purchase the tools (my own computer, printer, professional development and books) for my profession with my own money, as you do. However, if you need motor oil to do an oil change, you pass on the cost to the customer. If I need new glue sticks to do a project, should I expect to pay for that? No, but I do.


    • 50djohnson says:

      I would suggest you substitue teach for a week… and then say it’s a crock! You have no idea what you are talking about! In Texas , the teacher’s get off June 3 or 4 and report back to duty August 11th. Show me the school that gets off 4 months and I’ll move there!! During the 1/2 months they are off they have to take mandated state reguired classes. They might have three weeks for themselves then they go back a week before school really starts to set up their room because the school district doesn’t give them time when school starts. They have to sit in inservice classes and their rooms just get magically ready for the students.If you worked with children for 9 months out of the year I gaurantee you’d need three weeks to rest phsically and mentally…Lastly, most teachers teach because they LOVE students and want the very best for them to become all that god created them to be , they do not just put up with snot nose kids… You wouldn’t last two days!!


  5. Anonymous says:

    I am really grateful for the comments on this blog post because I could NOT for the life of me figure out what it was about!!!! The title says “why I won’t buy that extra box” but the post is all about BUYING the extra box and I couldn’t figure out if the title was being sarcastic or the post or what.

    I’m still not entirely sure how the two are related or what the box of Kleenex has to do with anything. I’ve gathered that the author is in support of parents buying supplies…I think.

    Really, the little sense I’ve made of this post is thanks to the comments. >_<


  6. Skully says:

    All that is being taught is lessons in consumerism. You can’t draw without new crayons. You can’t glue without a new glue stick. Markers for kids??? My day saw crayons in “blocks” that would last years. Jars of paste which cost a fraction of glue sticks (and tasted good). Brown (recycled) paper towels, not wet wipes or tissues. Water based paint in quart jars….and guess what? All was provided by the school at minimal cost. Why in the world would anyone think a couple hundred dollars of disposable supplies is more conducive to learning than $5 of comparable but less fancy disposable supplies? What next? Certain model smart phones? And before you jump the gun…I’m not THAT old. The consumer aspect of schooling has been ever mounting for the last 20 years.


    • Guest says:

      It sounds like overuse of supplies to me, too. Especially if you know the families you teach can’t afford it. Be creative in your teaching instead of relying on 1,000 glue sticks. There were no glue sticks when I went to school, and we still learned to spell and do math. If you can afford the glue sticks, cool – do those paste activities. If you can’t, find another way.


      • Skully says:

        Our lists here are crazy. Some items on our 2nd grade list:

        In bold print, 3 boxes 24 count CRAYOLA crayons (NOT jumbo).
        Not the off-brand Walmart has for 50 cents, or the kind that won’t break easy.

        Plastic folders with brads. NOT the cardboard ones on sale for 19 cents.

        Highlighters (for 2nd graders). We must highlight “see dick run” for quick future reference.

        4 bottles of Elmers glue 4 oz. Again, not the larger off brand economical size.

        Dry erase markers. (I guess chalk boards are old-skool).

        4 spiral 70 page notebooks. Why? 200 count filler paper and the folders to keep it in are already on the list.

        6 glue sticks. Combined with the Elmers above, what are they planning on gluing?

        I once was sent home a note with my child stating I needed to purchase 2 more boxes of Crayons, even though my child said she was still on the 1st box of 4 purchased at the beginning of the year. And similar notes continued through out the year. When I called and asked if ALL the parents were being sent the same notes…they magically stopped. (The administrator I talked with on the phone was clueless to this happening). Evidently the parents of kids who brought everything on their lists at the beginning of the year were targeted to cover for those who didn’t.

        I provide for my children…if they need something for school, they get it-Pronto. I don’t understand why they need some (or so many of) items on the list, and I just don’t dig providing for the kids that have no money for crayons, or lunch, but walk around with an IPhone…. and don’t get me started on allowing smart phones in grade school…

        Liked by 1 person

      • pculliton says:

        I’m not even sure what plastic folders with brads ARE.


  7. What the hell is wrong with some people, donating supplies to help the children and teachers is not going to break the bank. Also you are teaching your children to either help mankind or be a selfish me first society. This sickens me. Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you. Isn’t there any compassion left in this world. Teachers are molding your child’s future especially for parents who are to busy to teach their own children morals. Shame Shame Shame

    Liked by 1 person

  8. scott says:

    What about all of the parents who can afford the supplies but choose not to buy them.I am all for helping out but some people use the system year after year. Parents should not expect yearly supplies like those who abuse welfare and unemployment benefits. That is why a lot of people don’t send extra supplies.


  9. Danielle Shipman says:

    I for one am a parent of 3 school aged children and when my kids came home from school yesterday with their list I was frustrated y? Because I do t thing 4 boxes of crayons is ok for 1 student then add all the students up and times it by 4 which u require them to have. That’s bullshit. The folders and notebooks ok I can see them but 2 siccior nah 10 glue sticks 2 boxes of pencils and 3 pks of notebook paper. I’m beginning to think this is a joke. I live in a low income neighborhood and me and my children’s father work but be realist WHAT IS MY CHILD GOING TO USE???? I am NOT paying for other kids to use his supplies they say they use bowls to put them in so all kids use them. Hahaha not fair at all is it cheaper to home school your child? Just by the price of uniforms and supplies it kinda feels like it.


    • Conductor of the A+ Train says:

      Unless you can afford to not work, stay home with your children, purchase all the same supplies plus textbooks and electronic educational materials, then provide them transportation, tutoring, and access to a certified home-school program once they’ve surpassed your ability to educate them, no, it’s not more economical to homeschool children. Schooling provides benefits that often aren’t thought about: it’s socialization for children, it’s the ability to learn individualized skills, it’s a safe and nurturing environment, and yes, if it’s public, it is free. Paying for school supplies SUCKS. Supplies are expensive and often teachers ask for specific things, and multiple of them – this is not unusual. They’ve been in the classroom and they’ve watched children pick through the crayons and markers and withdraw the Crayolas, use them past the point of viability, and still leave the untouched Walmart brand to rot. Yes, the Walmart brand is $0.89 cheaper. But it won’t be used, and the teacher is going to need to stock up on the Crayola brand come January. They want to be prepared for that, so yes, if every child brings four boxes – they might make it to April. Will your child realistically use four boxes of markers in a year? At home, with a single set, where you can watch them closely and remind them to “fully close each cap, please, return them to the box, please”, probably not. But in a classroom, using them every single day, often not snapping the lid fully back into place because they’re in a rush to line up for lunch and recess, or leaving them in random places or accidentally stashing them in pencil pouches, not the community marker tray? Yeah, it’s more likely than you’d think.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Marilyn says:

    My husband is a school teacher. He teaches in a very poor school district. No supply lists go home. NONE. The families of the students, quite honestly, can’t afford supply lists. They are required to provide uniforms for the students (polo shirts and khakis).

    He provides crayons, markers, scissors, rulers, pencils, paper towels, facial tissue, loose leaf paper, copy paper, folders, hand soap, lysol, etc. He regularly visits our local library to purchase used books for his classroom library. I stalk the local thrift shop for “uniform approved” sweaters and sweatshirts.

    Our daughter is in her first year of teaching in the same district. So far she has spent $500 on supplies and school hasn’t started yet.

    To be fair, when our kids were in school, I was involved with the PTA. After lots of discussion and argument, we convinced them to NOT require each student to bring in the same stuff at the same time, but to split it. (I.e., last names: A-L needs to bring in 1 box of 24 crayons, 1 regular size box of tissues (and yes, some parents would send in those small purse size tissues) and a hand sanitizer. Those with last names M-Z, bring in paper towels, loose leaf paper and markers.)

    Then when school returned in January, the teachers took stock and sent home a revised list of what they needed to replenish. Often the only thing that needed to replenished was tissue. Go figure

    And, by the way, the IRS will allow every teacher to take a whooping $250 credit on their taxes for the school supplies they purchase for their classrooms.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. IAmThatIAm says:

    … a clever headline, although it is dishonest. What happened to teaching children responsibility for their own supplies and the concept of responsible ownership and voluntary sharing, (not being rude) rather than the expectation of sharing, (entitlement factor) all having been dumped into a ‘community pot’??

    Being the Mom of a teacher, and a substitute teacher myself, I realize that teachers spend a good deal on equipping their classrooms and students which is why I don’t mind donating supplies to the teacher and her/his classroom upon being made aware of the need, but I do mind the automatic ‘expectation’ and the resulting entrenching of the ‘community property’ and resulting ‘entitlement’ mindset in our children. Whatever happened to teaching children to share (as an individual) with those whose parents may not be able to afford such supplies and teaching gratitude for others who sacrifice something to help provide? We are now raising an ever increasing rude generation of children by embedding the entitlement mindset in their brain and culture from the start.


  12. wildcat 67 says:

    I attended school in the 50’s and 60’s and just don’t remember my parents having to buy all of these things in in multiples and the more expensive ones rather than what my parents could afford. I don’t recall having to furnish several boxes of tissues, etc. etc. It seemed that we always had what we needed. There was no “community pot”..If someone needed a pencil or paper, etc., we did what we called, “shared”. We had very dedicated and caring teachers who we respected. I grew up in a small town…I believe many have gotten too big for their britches!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hayley Smith says:

      You know what? It’s not the 50s or 60s any more. Times and requirements change. I went to school in the 70s. We always had to bring in Kleenex and a couple of other shared supplies. People didn’t whine about it. They just did it. At least where I live the teachers are very caring and dedicated. They aren’t “too big for their britches”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Professor says:

      I attended at the same time. We had to have a few supplies of our own, and our schools had ample budgets to pay for practically everything else. That’s when taxpayers realized the importance of education instead of damning teachers and schools and refusing to pay for the education of our children. We didn’t have computers or calculators since they hadn’t been invented yet. Today’s kids MUST be able to use these technologies and they MUST be current. Ten year old computers and software won’t do the job. We, as a nation, have to stop being cheap. We underpay teachers, require them to pay for advanced education as well as school supplies. We don’t recognize all the work they do away from their schools, and then complain our children have to buy pencils. It is time we, as a nation, wake up and willingly and happily pay for the education necessary for these kids to be able to keep the economy going strong when we are retired and in need of the programs they will be paying for.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy says:

    I agree that students need supplies to do their work, and hear the same thing every year about how much teachers spend on school supplies. I worked in the school system for many years, not as a teacher, but in the class room enough to observe the students. Many of the same students receiving “free” lunches AND breakfasts, also have cell phones, but when they come to class ask for a pencil and paper. This is in a Jr. High, so either the student came unprepared or was too lazy to go to his/her locker to get the supplies needed for the class. I can tell you if they are that hard up, they could probably find a pencil in the halls between classes…..that’s the way I collected pencils for my classroom. Plus, we had to go through lockers at the end of the school year( after they were supposedly cleaned out and checked) and we would find full boxes of colored pencils, notebook paper, spiral notebooks, pencils, the list goes on. So I guess they are not valuable enough to keep for next year, and besides the teachers ( unfortunately) and other parents will just give them what they need. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know for the last month, there were many stores with school supplies on sale for so low( $.17 for notebooks, $.50 for a 24 box of crayons(Crayola, not the cheap brand), folders for pennies, most of the items on any list could be purchased for less than a few dollars.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pculliton says:

    Well, I have been following this conversation for a while now. I have been teaching English in grades 9-12 since 1983. The only thing I require students to have is a 3-ring binder and something to write with, which I will lend them if need be. If they choose certain projects as assessments, they may also need to bring in supplies for these, but there is always the plain old essay as a choice of assessment. I have no idea where this idea of donating all sorts of supplies to a common came from. I went to school back in the day, too. I don’t remember bringing much or providing supplies for anyone else’s use.


  15. Hillary says:

    So, if we don’t help the teachers buy these things then they have to buy them out of their already underpaid salaries. Because Lord knows the $15K a year in property taxes I pay for my kids to go to the public schools they attend is apparently not going to cover it and why should the teacher be responsible for that expense. If a box of Kleenex will help, so be it. You really should be ashamed of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • End the Entitlements says:

      If you are paying 15K per year in property taxes that tells me you live in a upper middle class neighborhood with a home valued at about $500,000 or more. You can afford to yank the spawn of your loins out of the public schools and into a better school of your choosing. I’m sick and tired of hearing about teachers not getting the salaries they deserve. Why don’t you examine the largest expense of any school district. Once you pick your gaping jaw off the floor you will realize why there is no money in a school district’s budget for school supplies. Teachers are public employees. They are represented by unions. Unions aren’t cheap. The teachers pay union dues and the school district pays, too. Teachers contribute to their respective state’s TERS (Teacher Retirement System). The teacher contributes roughly 8% or more out of their gross pay. The school district ponies up to 22% of a teacher’s gross pay with 5% or so of that going as a cash contribution toward the teachers retirement and the other 17% funds medical care and other expenses for current retirees. That 17% is sort of like a pyramid scheme. Those still teaching are funding the non-cash portions (medical insurance) of a retired teacher’s pension. So before anyone spouts off about teachers, take a long hard look at the biggest expense of any school district: salaries, pensions, unions, and payroll taxes. There needs to be reform in the teacher retirement system before any real results trickle down to our children. Teachers should just say “NO” to buying school supplies. For every teacher that buys school supplies to “spare the feelings” of little Johnny who lives in a low socio-economic neighborhood reinforces the notion of entitlement. Oh, I’m poor, my parent (s) can’t afford to buy school supplies but my teacher will. Those little acts eventually contribute to later in life when poor little Johnny grows up and doesn’t want to work. Oh, I’ll just get on Supplemental Security and sit home all day. Meanwhile little Johnny spawns his own children and without a parent willing to set examples for growth, the cycle of a sense of entitlement continues.


      • 50djohnson says:

        You obviously have never been in a classroom and had to teach children with no supplies,.. They can’t do the assignments without paper and pencils and the supplies the teachers need for the whole year!! Have a heart and go visit your local elementary school for a week. Volunteer to subsitute and see how long you could keep control of a classroom in which half of them don’t have what they need! Sheesh


  16. deahh says:

    From a former teacher, now librarian: thank you, and thank you to all the parents, aunts, uncles, etc who contribute to schools or to a teacher standing in line at Walmart. It would be great if all parents could provide for their own children, but sadly, that is just not the case. So again, thank you to everyone who pitches in and helps out.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jess Someguy says:

    I find it hilarious that everyone here is complaining about paying for supplies for “someone else’s kid”. I don’t know about anyone else who has posted this comment or something similar, but I personally have been working for 25+ years and paying taxes every week. I have been paying for “someone else’s kids” for 20 years. Get real people. Everyone needs an education and we have to pay for it somehow. Would you rather rely on government to make sure the schools get the supplies they need OR, put the supplies directly into the hands of the teachers who need them.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. kstoy31392 says:

    As a teacher, I thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Keri Johnson says:

    I can’t agree with this more. I volunteer in my kids classes and when I am there I see how much glue a 5 yo uses on a project. Can we supervise this at home and limit the use? Yes, of course! We are working one on one with our kids most of the time. Do you know how hard it is to get a group of 5 year olds to listen to directions let alone monitor their use of these school supplies?
    I always thought it seems excessive to buy 4 boxes of tissues per kid… Then you go into the classroom and you see that when one kid asks to blow their nose, you than have 8 others that have suddenly come down with a cold and also need to blow their nose. Yes, school supplies are expensive. Look for the deals, plan ahead and make sure your kids have what they need to get the best education they can.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. jctotheh says:

    I love this post. Well done with the title, too. I was ready to comment about all the reasons why you should, but you did that in the text. Tricky … in the good kid of way! I’m not rich but I can certainly afford extras for the kids who can’t or have parents who don’t, and so the teachers don’t have to. The thought of my kids’ teachers spending their own money kills me. Their focus should not be on lack of supplies, rather on lesson plans and kids. I also make a point to buy and donate supplies to the local after-school program too (with the help of my kids). It costs maybe $10-$15 to buy everything on the want list. That’s one Starbucks drink and pastry. Memories of hating being one of the few kids who had the generic crayons and markers in school also means I buy the Ticonderoga pencils and Crayola markers for kids in need. They don’t need another reminder of how they have less than other kids do. Great post. Thank you!


  21. McCourt says:

    Just wanted to say I love your Name “My B+ Attempts at Being All that”


  22. Schools still send out the community supply list? The last few years of elementary my school district has been asking for a $25 check. I’m assuming this makes it a little more difficult for the teacher to have to purchase the supplies, but I bet in the end more parent’s are supplying the checks. I think when we get that list we feel a little more entitled, with each item that we check off list, is another item that doesn’t go into our supply closet. Not that I agree with this way of thinking… I’m just saying I think adopting the check request is a lot smarter, and educators should encourage their school district to do so.


  23. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. So many people do not understand. Even as I read comments on this post, they just don’t get it.

    I am fairly newly married. I am a second year teacher (got my first job right out of college). My husband and I have just begun our lives. Yet, most of our money goes to my classroom. I do work in a very poor population of families. I get it. Some people cannot afford school supplies. This is why when we have to sit down every year and make our supply lists, we realize, not every family will be going and even picking up a list. We have to decide what is the most necessary for the students to LEARN.

    But the bigger picture here is not that we just teach academics. I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with 56 children who are looking at me for what to do. How much influence do people really think we have? That’s much more than just academics. Supplies that are asked are not just for academics. We have to teach children how to care for themselves such as hygeine, what to do when they fall on the playground and get hurt, how to treat that “boo-boo”, etc. (we only have a school nurse 1x per week. and have to provide band-aids, and everything). We teach them how to respect other people’s property. How to treat things that do not belong to them, even when we are envious of what they have.

    Not every child comes from a home that teaches these things. Thank you for putting a parental perspective on this!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. joanopoly says:

    Thank you, so many times, from a teacher who just bought her 3rd CASE of Kleenex this year, with her money earned from teaching.


  25. Sarah Story says:

    I am both a proud special education parent and teacher. If it is your intention to imply, or overtly state, that those of us who can afford extra supplies (and I can) should not purchase them, then shame on you. For each of the 15 years I have taught, and each of the 12 years I have been a special needs parent (adopted my first from a special needs student of mine), I have made the effort to buy every supply and volunteer at every opportunity my budget and time would allow. How about you attack with your vote?#notmypresident #downwithbrownback Will I buy supplies for the underprivileged child/family? Yes, gladly. Will I provide for underpaid teachers when you are unwilling? Yes, I will. #standinthegap


  26. Joann says:

    We put enough glue, pencils, and crayons on our supply list to put away a bunch until each new semester begins and then we break out the new stuff! Kids do love the new stuff! Thank you from the teacher embarrassed every year to ask for Kleenex!


  27. foodforyourstomachandsoul says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. As a teacher who taught in a title 1 school with 100% free and reduced lunch,, I understand the struggle that is getting parents to send in school supplies and having to supply some of the extra things that don’t get supplied. This year, I had a parent call and chew me out (and call and complain to the superintendent) because I was “giving her son’s school supplies sassy”. Who knew one child needed a few boxes of kleenexes, 48 #2 pencils, 3 boxes of assorted baggies, huge bottles of hand sanitizer, and lots and lots of glue sticks all to himself? Not me!! So I sent every single thing that had his name on it back home. I wish THOSE parents would read this and understand.


  28. Molly says:

    there is so much assumption about what goes on across different professions that we start to move to us vs them camps. FWIW, I work at home for a small business. I provide all my own supplies – laptop, mobile phone, internet, printer, paper, ect. On my taxes I can take a fraction of the total cost of work related expenses because working at home, all the things I use for work could, in theory, also be used for personal use. (Some are, some aren’t.) I layout more money than I get covered. I don’t say this to discount the school supply list or to downplay the out of pocket teachers may layout. I am saying, don’t make your case by trying to say someone else has it better. I just picked up a stash of supplies for a donation drive to support students in our district that won’t be able to afford their own. I’m happy to do it. That said, requiring specific brands on a school list is ridiculous – a brand of pencils that cost $3 a pack vs the $1 for the same size of store brand? Those more expensive pencils don’t help a child learn more efficiently, Those require,nets, however, begin to add up to a big bill for families that may be stretched by it — for what? Also, the Implication in this piece that we need to supply shiny and new because today’s kids have expectations is a problem in and of itself. We all like shiny and new, we just know we can’t always have it, we ought to be teaching our kids about budgets and costs of items and being wise stewards of our resources. Saying, “we are sorry your crayons are broken…they don’t look pretty so even though they still work we need to replace them” sends the wrong message. How about we teach our kids to not be sucked into consumerism.


  29. TeacherJodi says:

    Thank you. ♡


  30. Kathleen Dillon-Dowd says:

    Thank you. As a 30+ year veteran of the classroom, still at it, I could retire on what I spend on school supplies. Parents don’t realize that most of us buy in bulk, every item on the list, to give to children who don’t have supplies. One thing that does hurt, though, is the children who deliberately break the supplies. I also make trips through the hall after dismissal to pick up dropped items to use, and yes, I do take them out of the garbage. I do appreciate your article.


  31. Gwen says:

    I completely agree! A couple of years ago I felt like I was supplying the entire fourth grade with glue sticks. BUT, I work full time so I can’t be the classroom mom or the PTA president and I can’t chaperone every field trips, but I can by a 12 pack of glue sticks every time my son says they are out. My mom and I usually stock pile when they are on sale during Back to School sales.


  32. Cherries on the Web says:

    I am a former Title I teacher and while I empathize with the plight of teachers, I think we as taxpayers and lottery players should be looking to the all levels of government in the United States to fund classroom supplies.

    Where is all that lottery money going? How are we able to fund schools and all their supplies in the Middle East? Eliminate some of that dead weight at the top of the education system, you know the ones who never actually see a child and spend some of their overblown salaries to supply the basics to our classrooms. As the mother of two and a teacher I know that every year I supplied the items requested. Those items were collected by my children’s teachers and given to the 80% of students who did not bring in anything on the list The students who are so poor that they are on free lunch…..the same children who manage to bring money to school each and every day for extra snacks and whose spending allowance on field trips was a crisp $100 bill. Those poor children wore $100 sneakers and brand name clothes, while I shopped at yard sales and thrift stores, could not afford to send snack money but once a week and packed lunches. And when my child’s supplies broke or ran out, I was still on the hook to go buy more because while I sent in a entire packs of supplies at the beginning of the year, they had all been used by the class as a whole.

    Thanks for the clever read, but the pitch falls short in the logic department. Redistribute tax dollars not school supplies. If your kid is sick, send them in with tissues in their backpack. If you are a germaphobe buy a little bottle of Purrell. Let the teacher’s union fight for more dry erase markers and bigger classroom budget for each school year. It is the employer’s responsibility to supply the tools for the job, not the parents’ job.

    Funny, I don’t remember my parents (both school teachers) wanting for school supplies or ever being asked to buy $100 calculators or erasers. Somehow America could afford to fund classrooms back in the day. We should be asking ourselves what has changed?


  33. Anj says:

    I don’t think parents should have to pay for teacher supplies and if there is a project coming up maybe ask parents to get there kids the supplies needed for that class project but honestly all that stuff I never used in my classes im a 90’s kid. When I had projects I would use whatever I had or recycled stuff and always got A’s for creativity. If I had a runny nose I would go to the restroom or use a sleeve maybe shirt eeeww I know. I think having each kid bring thier own items teaches them responsibility and if another kid needs items and cannot afford them ask parents to donate or have kids share which teaches them kindness and maybe make a new friend socialize. There is a lot more to teaching then the tools we use I only needed 1 pencil an earser, pen and paper if I needed a highlighter I would just box the word with pencil. Teachers have credit for there needs in supplies they should also learn to budget. If you ask parents for supplies at least let it be cheap stuff stop asking for expensive things you arlready are asking them to pay more out of there pocket for things they do not know are needed and involving parents onto what projects or class assignments they will be doing is a nice gesture to help them understand. Times are tough for everyone not just teachers.


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