Should I Spend My Money on the Classroom?

No. NO! NOOOOOO! Ok, sometimes. As a Substitute Teacher, the only time I’m tempted to spend my own money is when I’m covering a longer leave. (Teaching is the only profession where anyone is tempted to give their money to the employer. Imagine people working at the Ford plant going out to buy their own paint for the cars!) When I was younger, I often used my own money to buy classroom supplies. Now that I have more experience (notice I didn’t say, “older”), I realized how little I knew then. There’s usually ways around spending my own money – “borrowing” supplies from other teachers (they know they won’t get it back!), asking students to bring things in from home, begging the principal for permission to buy some glue, even though the classroom teacher has overspent her budget by $200 this year, or finding equipment or activities you can substitute for the one you had planned. (You are after all, a Substitute Teacher.)

Nowadays, I plan my activities around what’s already in the classroom. Usually the only exception to this is Science. I find that Science is much more exciting with the hands on activities and it often requires things not in the classroom. If I’ve exhausted all the other options, I do sometimes buy something for a Science lesson – however I still try to spend as little as possible. The truth is, we shouldn’t have to spend our own money. But the truth is, teachers who care often do.

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