Teachers Spend for Classrooms, NEA Pays Them Back

A teacher spends on average $356 a year out of his or her own pocket on classroom supplies. The items run the gamut from hands-on activities to improve learning to school supplies for students.

The spending can be particularly heavy for teachers at lower-income schools, where students often show up for school without the most basic supplies, such as pens and paper.

NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign is rewarding the generosity of teachers everywhere with a new contest designed to help five lucky teachers recover some of the money they spent this year on classroom supplies. At 5 p.m. each weekday next week, the Priority Schools Campaign will randomly draw a winner for a $100 Staples gift card.

Educators from across the country are participating by visiting the Priority Schools Campaign Facebook page and sharing some of the items they purchased for their classrooms this year.

Jessica Brown, a special education teacher from Woodbridge, N.J., writes: “Where do I start? I have bought a printer for my classroom, ink, chalk, notebooks for my students, posters, paper, bulletin board paper, cleaning supplies, folders, markers, tape, scissors, glue… and the list goes on!”

Boston, Mass., vice-principal Zach Galvin has seen the costly scenario unfold all too often.

“For too many years I have witnessed teachers buying paper, tape, pencils, pens, markers, poster paper, dvds, compact discs, books on recording, snacks for students who have no breakfast or lunch, Kleenex for the winter months, fans for the classrooms and the list goes on and on,” Galvin writes. “Our educators work too hard for their earnings to bear the brunt of outfitting their classrooms as well.”

Photo: Brandi Korte