The impact that teachers have on our children’s lives is huge, but it often comes with a price that is funded out of their pocket. According to a 2010 study by The National School Supply and Equipment Association, classroom teachers spend almost $1000 of personal funds on instructional materials and school supplies each year. The huge sum is a big burden for one individual to shoulder, but there are many small ways that classroom parents can help to defray personal spending by teachers.
Make a wish list. Many times teachers have wish lists of items that are shared with families throughout the year. Encourage teachers to include lists in regular emails or newsletter correspondence so parents know what supplies are needed.
Email your child’s teacher. Teachers often receive more supplies than they have room for at the start of the year, but part way through the fall semester, items like hand soap, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, and tissues start to run low. If your teacher doesn't use a wish list, sending an occasional email asking if you can send in a box of tissues from home or pick up a bottle of soap when you’re running errands will be most appreciated.
Share loyalty programs. School supply retailers such as Office Depot have loyalty programs designed just for teachers to help them maximize every penny spent. The Star Teacher program provides instant discounts on ink, toner, and paper, along with copy and print services and bonus reward opportunities throughout the year. Office Depot also encourages teachers to bring in used ink and toner cartridges from classroom machines with a $2 reward for each one returned. The company also hosts Teacher Appreciation Events throughout the year.
Set up a page on AdoptAClassroom.org This national site allows individuals to adopt a classroom by entering in a teacher’s name, school, or location and help fund the purchase of resources and materials in classrooms. Donations made through AdoptAClassroom.org can be a great way for family members to support your children’s education by giving to their teacher. Plus, those who give get a nice tax deduction for their philanthropy.