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Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:12 AM

'I am a scavenger': The desperate things teachers do to get the classroom supplies they need


Like nearly all teachers in America, Becky Cranson spends her own money to buy supplies for her students. Working in a rural school district in Michigan, where 70 percent of her middle-school students come from low-income families, she shells out at least $1,000 a year for pencils, books, journals, glue sticks, tissues and much more.

But opening her wallet without reimbursement is only a small part of what she — and many others in America’s corps of 3.2 million teachers — do to secure classroom supplies they can’t get from their schools or from students’ families.

“I am a scavenger,” said Cranson, who teaches English at Bronson Jr./Sr. High School in Bronson, Mich. “My friend who works in the Michigan [Department of Natural Resources] office gives me their used binders, and my husband brings me furniture and supplies that the hospital he works at is throwing away.”


‘In most professions, you steal office supplies from work to bring home. But teachers steal office supplies from home to bring to work.’

Federal data show that more than 9 in 10 educators spend an average of nearly $500 a year on supplies, but The Post review revealed that the problem is deeper, with teachers going to great lengths to secure resources for their classrooms.

Some say they “politely beg” friends and relatives for help, posting wish lists for benevolent strangers to fill on DonorsChoose and other websites. They hold fundraisers, scour garage sales, look for items at Goodwill stores. Some write grants and attend supply giveaways by companies that get tax benefits for being philanthropic.


They told similar stories about their search for supplies: paper and pencils and pens, erasers, markers and notebooks, tissue, furniture, books, menstrual pads, clothes, shoes, musical instruments, paint and clay, crayons, books, scissors, bulletin boards, food.

This year, Laura Estes-Swilley, who has taught English for 20 years in Florida’s Hillsborough County Public Schools, said she bought “the most unusual and disturbing” supplies: a magnetic curtain rod and blackout curtain in the event a shooter targeted her school.

“I also have toilet paper in case of extended lockdown and wasp spray for an intruder’s eyes” she said. “I am still looking for some affordable baseball bats to lock in my cabinet — also in case of intruder. My students need books, to be honest. But my money is on ‘protection’ first.”

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Reply 'I am a scavenger': The desperate things teachers do to get the classroom supplies they need (Original post)
Demovictory9 Nov 10 OP
demtenjeep Nov 10 #1
Igel Nov 10 #2
Hermit-The-Prog Nov 10 #3

Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 11:34 AM

1. yes-we are

I have spent over 500 so far this year and it is only November

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Response to demtenjeep (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 01:55 PM

2. I overspent last year.

Have stacks of stuff I'm working through. It's high school, so things are a bit different.

I teach science, and while I used to buy stuff this year I don't. I'm in contact with more upper-echelon folk.

"How's it going?"

"We did this really exciting lab in which we handed them two columns of numbers involving sea floor spreading and told them to plot them, and then use what they learned to draw conclusions. It even included magnetic field data on rock samples collected in the '60s!" (Get stares from bosses.)

"That's not much of a lab."

"It's all the lab equipment our budget allows for, so it's the lab the district provided the resources for. Any chance we can spring for sea floor samples and the instruments for measuring their magnetic field direction?" And the administrators suddenly realize there was something important they had to do.

Then there's the teacher who does two labs once a week in a single class period. She takes them outside and has them measure their shadows, so that after doing this for 25 weeks they can conclude that the Sun's lower in the winter than in the summer. Since that takes them a good 30 minutes or more she also has them measure the direction the Sun moves during that interval. Then they can conclude--she says to some students' surprise--that the sun moves from east to west.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:24 PM

3. the GOP plan to destroy public education is working

The strongest resisters to GOP's plan are the teachers.

They are growing battle-weary and need our help -- GOTV and vote blue!

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