The Challenges Teachers Face

If you think teaching is easy, you clearly haven’t spent the day in a K-12 classroom in a very long time. When many of us were young enough to be students ourselves, the classroom environment was very different than it is today. Teachers feel the weight of these changes every day, doing anything and everything they can just to get by.

In the first two articles, we focused on the many unpaid overtime hours teachers work and the mental, physical, and sexual abuse teachers face at the hands of students. In this final article, we will discuss the out-of-pocket expenses that teachers’ pay to help their students. 

Poor pay for the teaching profession is a well-known fact. Teaching wages have been stagnant for many decades.   The requirements to become a teacher, including continued CE credit requirements to renew a teaching license, have continued to grow.  For many it has become cost-prohibitive to enter, or continue, in the profession.

What is often not known is how much teachers pay out of their pocket to take care of students in need.

Teachers spend an average of $511 each year for school supplies.  Approximately one out of four teachers spend more than $750 a year on things like books, paper, pencils, markers, crayons, and tissues.

Many school districts provide a very small stipend for classroom supplies, while others provide zero funds.  Approximately 45% of teachers receive no supplies for students from parents,  This means, if the student is to do the work in class, the teacher foots the bill for pens, pencils, paper, etc.   

While $511 or $750 a year may not seem like a lot of money remember that teacher’s salaries are low, in comparison to other careers.  With the increase in health care benefits, having to contribute more to retirement plans, and the cost of required continuing education programs, having to personally buy supplies for their job is an extra financial burden.  Many teachers will buy clothing, coats, shoes, backpacks, sanitary products, food and other things for students in need.  These purchases are in addition to the school supplies. 

In no other profession does anyone pay for the supplies needed to do the job.  They certainly don’t come to work expecting to pay for personal care products, clothing and food for others.  Yet many teachers unselfishly buys students those things that will make them successful.  

There’s no one like a teacher.  They deserve more than they get.  Respect, support, better pay, better working conditions are areas that need to be viewed, reviewed and improved.