Friday, August 25, 2006
The first day of school is on Monday and I spent all day today setting up. I was fortunate enough to have three friends (and two former students!) help me, and I DO NOT know what I would have done without them. We put paper up on all the many bulletin boards, set up all the desks and chairs that had been moved, moved the rug, bookcases, computers, put up all the posters, put all the supplies in the desks, made name cards, got supplies ready, organized things... Funny, when I list it, it doesn't sound like all that much but it took me all day, three other people each put in two to four hours, and I'll be going back tomorrow. And I don't tend to do things slowly. It's a LOT OF WORK. In fact, one of my friends mentioned that she had no idea what kind of hard work this would be and that she was exhausted!
At least this year, with the new contract, we get paid for one day of setup. We used to do it all on our own time. Which I'm used to, but it still infuriates me, because it's just one more way that we're taken for granted and not provided for. No one can start the school year without putting in a good chunk of time setting up, but until this year, this wasn't recognized and we had to donate our time.
I've also just come from spending yet more money at Office Max. This week, I've spent $100 at www.classroomdirect.com, $180 at Office Max, $60 at Walgreens, $60 at www.reallygoodstuff.com, and a little bit more here and there. I almost have everything I need, but not quite. And keep in mind that this is my 8th year at the same school, and my 7th teaching the same grade level. I'm only buying things that get used up. The new teachers have a lot more. Books, for example. Fun books that make kids want to read. Those don't come with the classroom. Neither do scissors. Or a great number of other things.
This is the kind of thing that makes people want to quit teaching. Part of it is having to spend all this money on supplies that are either required for our jobs or highly recommended - or just make what we need to do more effective. There's the actual panic over the money that we're spending. The rest of it is the indignation that we are expected to do so! It's just accepted, and it's not right, but if we don't do it, the only people suffering are us and the kids who we love. Some schools have PTAs and such that provide extra money for supplies, but those are generally the schools where kids come with their supplies already. Ours not only come without pencils, sharpeners, paper, and scissors - they often come without breakfast and sometimes without dinner the night before.