Right, especially when it’s MY money. Our district was giving each teacher $200.00 debit cards to spend on their classes. That went away with the economy this past year. I don’t know how much I’ve spent this year, I know I spent a bunch at the National kindergarten Conference. Yesterday between my wife and I, we spent close to $500.00 and most of that was for my class. The thing that bothered me the most while in the Lakeshore store (I think it’s criminal to have one of those within 10 miles of your house…..) was overhearing another teacher say, “Well, at least I still have a job.” (as she’s spending her OWN money for materials to DO that job) There’s just something wrong with that picture, and it’s not just the bad economy. They expect us to do miracles, and put us down and demean us when the test scores aren’t the way they want them, but they won’t pay us what the job is really worth. (our district is WAY down the list in how much is spent per teacher for salaries, and it’s not just salaries, per pupil spending isn’t the highest either, not even close) One of the kindergarten teachers at my school commented that if they thought we were being paid too much, she would be happy to just be paid for each kid what it costs per kid for daycare. For that matter, besides the daycare, we have to actually TEACH, they could at least require the same child/adult ratios as they do in daycare, at least in kindergarten. I’m projected at over 30 kids in my all day kindergarten class this year.
I complain because it’s wrong. But for my wife and myself, we will spend what we need to have the things that will make our jobs easier, or more satisfying. I’m not going to spend hours upon hours (usually of my own time) making literacy centers for my class, when I can go out and buy literacy centers. Right now, my time is worth more to me than some money. We are in a financial position to do so though. The brand new, single teacher, teaching next door to me, isn’t. I almost feel bad for her. I get all the things I want to teach my class, she has to make do with what the district will provide. It’s adequate, but not nearly as fun. At least not for me.
My principal the other day wanted to know why I needed her signature on two sets of reportcards. Her position was that I should have got her signature on the first set, then photocopied that set for the second set (one for the parents, one for the cum. folder). I don’t know why she was complaining anyway, we use a signature stamp for her signature, and I wasn’t even asking her to do it. I told her I didn’t do copy machines. She looked at me like she didn’t understand how that could be. I asked her if I could use the office copy machine to run off all my papers. She said, “NO.” I said, “Well, then I don’t make copies on copy machines at this school.” We have 4 other copy machines scattered throughout the school. But on any given day, at least three of them are broken. Why would I want to go on that scavenger hunt every day? If it’s not broken, then there is a line, and the copies are going to be crappy. They are all old and worn out machines.
So, I have a scanner, I scan all the sheets I need to make copies of. I keep the files in nice little organised folders on my laptop, (mine, not the schools) and I use the printer in my room to run off all my copies. It’s a pretty heavy duty laser printer. If it breaks, they will fix it. I don’t pay for toner. And on the off chance that that printer develops a problem, I have my own laser printer that I got on sale at Office Max for a very good deal, as a backup. I print EVERYTHING this way.