The small budgets awarded to invidivual teachers don't last long, but for many teachers, that doesn't stop them from purchasing what they need. Or, in other cases, purchasing extra items for their classrooms that will add warmth, organization, or a decorative touch.
The average teacher spends more than $500 of their own money on school and classroom supplies, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association. Only 23% of school supplies in their classrooms are covered, on average, by their districts.
"I'm still buying books," said Marcie Rush, a first-grade teacher at Sherman Elementary School in the Rush-Henrietta District. "Things catch my eye at the bookstore."
Rush spent much of her summer exploring ways to make her classroom more welcoming, and her instruction more effective. She's willing to spend her own dollars.
"Whether I'm at a garage sale or at the store, I'm always thinking of the kids," she explained. "I'm always thinking, 'I could use this!'" She described shelves, baskets, and various other organizers that filled out her classroom.
A visit to fouth-grade teacher Marcy Mooney's classroom reveals the same obsession.
"You do spend a lot of money, but in the long run it pays off, because your classroom is more organized and it looks cute," she said. One favorite spot: Michael's, a craft store that allows Mooney to be creative in how she lays out her classroom.
It won't be long before my son heads off for his first day of school. It's nice to know that teachers are willing to spend their time -- and sometimes their own money -- making the learning environment as efficient and relaxing as possible.