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#1 Mimm

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:12 PM

I just got done having a conversation with the wife of a school teacher. As part of her husband's job as a 4th grade science teacher, he has to do experiments every week for a bunch of 4th graders. 88 pairs. The experiments are written to conform to whatever standards are handed down from on high, and are not written by him. He doesn't get to choose them. He gets a $50 budget. For the year. Total, not per kid. They are spending almost half his inadequate paycheck on supplies for these experiments. We sat there brain storming with her on how she can find deals, fund raise, get donations from local businesses, etc. But the fact of the matter is, that's such a unreasonable requirement, I'm shocked it's in any way legal. The person coming up with these experiments has no science or education background. She just knew the right people, got into this position, hands down orders that he's not allowed to disobey.

 

I asked, "What happens if he says on week two that he's already spent his budget and he needs more money?" She said, "Then next year he won't have a job." :confused1: :confused1: :confused1: 

 

Also the standards are changing so all the stuff they buy this year won't be used next year. They've already been told this.

 

She told me that the district provided 17 seats/desks for a 21 kid class. That they were required to spend money out of their own pocket to buy the other seats. She said this was normal and they've had to do this every year that he's been teaching in various school districts. That they are required to set up a reading nook in the corner of the class room but the school provides no books. That they buy tons of books every year. That sometimes the kids are required to do a project all based on the same book, but the school doesn't provide those. That scholastic runs a sale in the summer for teachers but the teachers rarely know what book will be needed for these group projects that far in advance.

 

I was outraged and she just shrugged and said that this is the norm. She just moved to this area not too long ago and before that lived in Chicago. She told me several stories from her time there that were even worse than this.

 

You always hear stories about corrupt wasteful systems, and teachers who spend a fortune of their own money. I always assumed the teachers were spending money on things like wipe off markers and decoration and organization stuff for their classrooms. Extras that make the classroom a good place to be. I didn't realize they were being REQUIRED by the school to spend huge chunks of their own money to do the basics of their jobs, or to buy DESKS AND CHAIRS for the kids. Desks and chairs the district could for sure afford if they weren't wasting it on some other stupid thing that no one needs or will use.

 

This isn't some inner city poor school either. This is a school distract people talk about being one of the better in the area.

 

I dunno, maybe this isn't news to a lot of you. I'm just surprised at how much worse it was than I even thought.


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#2 Scarlett

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:22 PM

I just got done having a conversation with the wife of a school teacher. As part of her husband's job as a 4th grade science teacher, he has to do experiments every week for a bunch of 4th graders. 88 pairs. The experiments are written to conform to whatever standards are handed down from on high, and are not written by him. He doesn't get to choose them. He gets a $50 budget. For the year. Total, not per kid. They are spending almost half his inadequate paycheck on supplies for these experiments. We sat there brain storming with her on how she can find deals, fund raise, get donations from local businesses, etc. But the fact of the matter is, that's such a unreasonable requirement, I'm shocked it's in any way legal. The person coming up with these experiments has no science or education background. She just knew the right people, got into this position, hands down orders that he's not allowed to disobey.

 

I asked, "What happens if he says on week two that he's already spent his budget and he needs more money?" She said, "Then next year he won't have a job." :confused1: :confused1: :confused1:

 

Also the standards are changing so all the stuff they buy this year won't be used next year. They've already been told this.

 

She told me that the district provided 17 seats/desks for a 21 kid class. That they were required to spend money out of their own pocket to buy the other seats. She said this was normal and they've had to do this every year that he's been teaching in various school districts. That they are required to set up a reading nook in the corner of the class room but the school provides no books. That they buy tons of books every year. That sometimes the kids are required to do a project all based on the same book, but the school doesn't provide those. That scholastic runs a sale in the summer for teachers but the teachers rarely know what book will be needed for these group projects that far in advance.

 

I was outraged and she just shrugged and said that this is the norm. She just moved to this area not too long ago and before that lived in Chicago. She told me several stories from her time there that were even worse than this.

 

You always hear stories about corrupt wasteful systems, and teachers who spend a fortune of their own money. I always assumed the teachers were spending money on things like wipe off markers and decoration and organization stuff for their classrooms. Extras that make the classroom a good place to be. I didn't realize they were being REQUIRED by the school to spend huge chunks of their own money to do the basics of their jobs, or to buy DESKS AND CHAIRS for the kids. Desks and chairs the district could for sure afford if they weren't wasting it on some other stupid thing that no one needs or will use.

 

This isn't some inner city poor school either. This is a school distract people talk about being one of the better in the area.

 

I dunno, maybe this isn't news to a lot of you. I'm just surprised at how much worse it was than I even thought.

 

 

So are they independently wealthy?  How can he afford to spend half his paycheck on school supplies?

 

I just wouldn't do it.  


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#3 OrganicJen

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:31 PM

I just got done having a conversation with the wife of a school teacher. As part of her husband's job as a 4th grade science teacher, he has to do experiments every week for a bunch of 4th graders. 88 pairs. The experiments are written to conform to whatever standards are handed down from on high, and are not written by him. He doesn't get to choose them. He gets a $50 budget. For the year. Total, not per kid. They are spending almost half his inadequate paycheck on supplies for these experiments. We sat there brain storming with her on how she can find deals, fund raise, get donations from local businesses, etc. But the fact of the matter is, that's such a unreasonable requirement, I'm shocked it's in any way legal. The person coming up with these experiments has no science or education background. She just knew the right people, got into this position, hands down orders that he's not allowed to disobey.

I asked, "What happens if he says on week two that he's already spent his budget and he needs more money?" She said, "Then next year he won't have a job." :confused1: :confused1: :confused1:

Also the standards are changing so all the stuff they buy this year won't be used next year. They've already been told this.

She told me that the district provided 17 seats/desks for a 21 kid class. That they were required to spend money out of their own pocket to buy the other seats. She said this was normal and they've had to do this every year that he's been teaching in various school districts. That they are required to set up a reading nook in the corner of the class room but the school provides no books. That they buy tons of books every year. That sometimes the kids are required to do a project all based on the same book, but the school doesn't provide those. That scholastic runs a sale in the summer for teachers but the teachers rarely know what book will be needed for these group projects that far in advance.

I was outraged and she just shrugged and said that this is the norm. She just moved to this area not too long ago and before that lived in Chicago. She told me several stories from her time there that were even worse than this.

You always hear stories about corrupt wasteful systems, and teachers who spend a fortune of their own money. I always assumed the teachers were spending money on things like wipe off markers and decoration and organization stuff for their classrooms. Extras that make the classroom a good place to be. I didn't realize they were being REQUIRED by the school to spend huge chunks of their own money to do the basics of their jobs, or to buy DESKS AND CHAIRS for the kids. Desks and chairs the district could for sure afford if they weren't wasting it on some other stupid thing that no one needs or will use.

This isn't some inner city poor school either. This is a school distract people talk about being one of the better in the area.

I dunno, maybe this isn't news to a lot of you. I'm just surprised at how much worse it was than I even thought.


These are some of the type of issues that have driven a lot of people I know to homeschool. I'm jealous of countries where teachers and education as a whole are valued and respected. We are in what is supposed to be the best school district in the state but the reality is it is obismal and we had to pull our child out so that he would have the chance at an actual education. Part of me wanted to sue them but I honestly think they were doing the best they could with the issues they were dealing with, like your friend's husband is obviously doing the best he can.
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#4 Kinsa

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:34 PM

And this is why so many are fleeing from the profession. Sadly.
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#5 KungFuPanda

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:38 PM

THIS is when you bring in the local news. This is ridiculous.
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#6 Plae2009

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:43 PM

I’m a former teacher and so is my mom and my sister in law is currently a teacher. This is not the norm in any of the school districts I am acquainted with. Yes, teachers spend their one money on books and various other supplies but not seats or things that you are mentioning and certainly not half a salary. Yes, it adds up, but what your describing is insane.


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Edited by Plae2009, 06 December 2017 - 02:44 PM.

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#7 nixpix5

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:44 PM

THIS is when you bring in the local news. This is ridiculous.


This completely. I have never seen this to this extent and I know a number of teachers. I feel really bad for them. It is either part of a check or no job and no check.
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#8 happysmileylady

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:58 PM

I just got done having a conversation with the wife of a school teacher. As part of her husband's job as a 4th grade science teacher, he has to do experiments every week for a bunch of 4th graders. 88 pairs. The experiments are written to conform to whatever standards are handed down from on high, and are not written by him. He doesn't get to choose them. He gets a $50 budget. For the year. Total, not per kid. They are spending almost half his inadequate paycheck on supplies for these experiments. We sat there brain storming with her on how she can find deals, fund raise, get donations from local businesses, etc. But the fact of the matter is, that's such a unreasonable requirement, I'm shocked it's in any way legal. The person coming up with these experiments has no science or education background. She just knew the right people, got into this position, hands down orders that he's not allowed to disobey.

 

I asked, "What happens if he says on week two that he's already spent his budget and he needs more money?" She said, "Then next year he won't have a job." :confused1: :confused1: :confused1:

 

Also the standards are changing so all the stuff they buy this year won't be used next year. They've already been told this.

 

She told me that the district provided 17 seats/desks for a 21 kid class. That they were required to spend money out of their own pocket to buy the other seats. She said this was normal and they've had to do this every year that he's been teaching in various school districts. That they are required to set up a reading nook in the corner of the class room but the school provides no books. That they buy tons of books every year. That sometimes the kids are required to do a project all based on the same book, but the school doesn't provide those. That scholastic runs a sale in the summer for teachers but the teachers rarely know what book will be needed for these group projects that far in advance.

 

I was outraged and she just shrugged and said that this is the norm. She just moved to this area not too long ago and before that lived in Chicago. She told me several stories from her time there that were even worse than this.

 

You always hear stories about corrupt wasteful systems, and teachers who spend a fortune of their own money. I always assumed the teachers were spending money on things like wipe off markers and decoration and organization stuff for their classrooms. Extras that make the classroom a good place to be. I didn't realize they were being REQUIRED by the school to spend huge chunks of their own money to do the basics of their jobs, or to buy DESKS AND CHAIRS for the kids. Desks and chairs the district could for sure afford if they weren't wasting it on some other stupid thing that no one needs or will use.

 

This isn't some inner city poor school either. This is a school distract people talk about being one of the better in the area.

 

I dunno, maybe this isn't news to a lot of you. I'm just surprised at how much worse it was than I even thought.

 

You mentioned they were in Chicago before, is this district that this is currently happening in also in Illinois?

 

I ask because my aunt teaches in the Chicago area and tells me similar stories.  Not quite to the extreme of having to go buy desks, but the craziness surrounding the curriculum and what they are supposed to teach sounds very similar. 



#9 Mimm

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:01 PM

So are they independently wealthy?  How can he afford to spend half his paycheck on school supplies?

 

I just wouldn't do it.  

 

She may have been somewhat exaggerating, I don't know. But I know they are spending a lot and it is hurting them.

 

They do live rent free on his inlaw's farm. Their expenses are much less since relocating. But their income is too because she no longer works.



#10 Mimm

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:03 PM

You mentioned they were in Chicago before, is this district that this is currently happening in also in Illinois?

 

I ask because my aunt teaches in the Chicago area and tells me similar stories.  Not quite to the extreme of having to go buy desks, but the craziness surrounding the curriculum and what they are supposed to teach sounds very similar. 

 

This current situation isn't is Illinois.



#11 HeatherL

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:07 PM

I'm a former teacher and still sub in our local districts.  I've NEVER heard of anything like this.  Yes I've bought some supplies out of pocket, but nothing was ever required and if it was furniture it was for myself like bookshelves or storage and I took when I left.


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#12 Arcadia

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:10 PM

My local elementary schools rarely do science except for the annual 5th grade science fair. So definitely very low cost for science.

All desks and chairs are paid by my school district. It might be hard to squeeze 35 tables and chairs in a classroom intended originally for 25 students but it gets done. It is a state regulation actually that there are enough tables and chairs for the students to be supplied by the district. Curriculum per student is also paid by the district. My kids former public school teachers had to pay for whiteboard markers out of their own pockets as they were given $100 annually for classroom stationery. Parents contributed most of the stationery and story books though so teachers were not out that much locally.

#13 City Mouse

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:19 PM

I have never heard of anyone having to buy basic furniture for a classroom; however, many teachers I know do provide additional furniture for reading nook or other special areas. I did choose to bring in a computer description at a school where teachers were only supplied with a table as a desk.
It is not unusual for teachers to provide books for extra reading, but those can be reused from year to year.
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#14 Patty Joanna

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:21 PM

She may have been somewhat exaggerating, I don't know. But I know they are spending a lot and it is hurting them.

 

They do live rent free on his inlaw's farm. Their expenses are much less since relocating. But their income is too because she no longer works.

 

It doesn't matter what their rent situation is.  This should not be required of him.  Where is the union?


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#15 alisoncooks

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:25 PM

I've been out of the classroom since oldest child was born, but the situation described in the OP is bizarre.  I'd be livid if I were that teacher.

I did buy (small) things out of my own paycheck when I taught (books or craft supplies or decorations for my room).  I bought a stool and paint and stuff to make it my own...but I cannot imagine being required to buy STUDENT DESKS.  Just...no.  

 

I'd be doing some serious fundraising for my classroom, as well as hitting up local businesses for donations.  (But imagine if EVERY teacher in a school/system was having to do that?!  The businesses and parents would have to draw a line somewhere.)

 

IDK... wow.


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#16 8circles

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:32 PM

Your example is extreme, but the premise isn't unusual from my experience. My SIL teaches in the inner-city public schools and she spends a lot of her own money on things that should really be covered by the district. No, nobody technically tells her she has to pay for it herself, but they are things required for her to teach her students and they refuse to pay for it. So, she pays for it so she can teach her students - i.e. do her job. 

 

I didn't know until my oldest was in K that the teachers - at least in my state - have to supply their own classroom books. Which I guess isn't that big of a deal since the teacher owns them and then can take them back when they move, but it would be quite a burden for teachers that move to a different grade level. I know several teachers who have taught several grades and they don't really get to choose.


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#17 Patty Joanna

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:48 PM

Your example is extreme, but the premise isn't unusual from my experience. My SIL teaches in the inner-city public schools and she spends a lot of her own money on things that should really be covered by the district. No, nobody technically tells her she has to pay for it herself, but they are things required for her to teach her students and they refuse to pay for it. So, she pays for it so she can teach her students - i.e. do her job. 

 

I didn't know until my oldest was in K that the teachers - at least in my state - have to supply their own classroom books. Which I guess isn't that big of a deal since the teacher owns them and then can take them back when they move, but it would be quite a burden for teachers that move to a different grade level. I know several teachers who have taught several grades and they don't really get to choose.

 

I bought books from used bookstores because while the district mandated the teaching of certain books in certain high school classes, they never had a set of more than 15 of them.  And this was in a *wealthy* school district.  And yes, I paid out of pocket. I will add that a wonderful used bookstore owner cut me a good deal and he also kept an eye out for the books on my list and just gave them to me if they were given to him.  But yeah, I spent my own money on books and on some supplies that any business would supply to their employees...markers, overhead slides, that sort of thing.  

 

But nothing like what the OP has said here.  That is extortion, plain and simple, and it is also a reduction in the union-negotiated salary, and I don't know where the union is in all this.  They ought to be doing something about it for all the money they collect from members.  

 

And parents ought to be howling, too, at the district and not at the teacher, for the things they are required to buy for classrooms...tissues, hand-sanitizer, those "group" things that everyone uses.  Or just buy them and realize that if they don't, the teacher will have to...but at any rate, quit griping at the teacher.



#18 Mimm

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:59 PM

It doesn't matter what their rent situation is.  This should not be required of him.  Where is the union?

 

I agree and I I have no idea. She mentioned that she can't keep doing this and is going to be writing letters to Powers That Be. Her husband is rethinking his career right now so the schools will probably be losing another teacher.

 

She mentioned some of the stuff they were demanding he have for experiments. Like those large rubbermaid container lids (just the lids...) or matchbox cars. She said there was no way they were buy 80+ matchbox cars and she got people from her church to donate their kids old cars. But like I said, he doesn't write the experiments so he can't change them up.



#19 Callie

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:13 PM

I’m a former teacher and so is my mom and my sister in law is currently a teacher. This is not the norm in any of the school districts I am acquainted with. Yes, teachers spend their one money on books and various other supplies but not seats or things that you are mentioning and certainly not half a salary. Yes, it adds up, but what your describing is insane.


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My mom,sil,several aunts and friends are teachers. Not normal
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#20 AmandaVT

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:22 PM

I agree - time to call the news and his union rep. My friend teaches at an inner-city school and buys a lot of supplies for her students, but nothing like desks or a full year of science supplies. Schools here don't offer science in elementary school. There are a couple of local parent groups that do nature studies every month or so, but that's about it.


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#21 Annie G

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:39 PM

If that happened here the teacher showing up to speak at the school board meeting would get the facts out. The board would know, the newspaper would know, and parents in attendance would know.  That might be a start. 


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#22 Sadie

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:40 PM

I've never known a public primary school teacher who didn't spend her own money on class in some way. However, it's madness for them to be spending so much. 

 

I'd look up budget science ideas. The same concept can be presented in less expensive ways. If these are demonstrations, rather than experiements, as they probably are, can he show a couple on screen rather than in the class ? Have a group do a demonstration and the other students observe and take notes/sketches (swapping the groups around, obv, so everyone gets a turn at a different demonstration ?)

 

Draw and talk through some demonstrations on a white board ? Send a note home to parents asking for common household supplies to be used in demonstrations ?

 

 


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#23 Sadie

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:43 PM

I mean, of course it's unethical to ask a teacher to provide science supplies out of his wages...supplies over which he has no discretion.

 

I've just never heard it be any different - all the teachers in my family have worked in low income schools, and they are always shelling out for stuff. Public schools don't do terribly because the teachers are incompetent or the kids are stupid - they just have to deal with this cr*p. 

 

One of my aunties had to buy toilet paper for the kids from her own money. No money in the budget. 


Edited by Sadie, 06 December 2017 - 04:46 PM.

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#24 maize

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:47 PM

I mean, of course it's unethical to ask a teacher to provide science supplies out of his wages...supplies over which he has no discretion.

I've just never heard it be any different - all the teachers in my family have worked in low income schools, and they are always shelling out for stuff. Public schools don't do terribly because the teachers are incompetent or the kids are stupid - they just have to deal with this cr*p.

Because as a society (multiple societies since we're crossing international borders here) we just plain don't value children because they are not economic producers.

This is why child rearing, child care, child teaching, etc. are not respected or well compensated occupations. Children in school are regularly subjected to conditions that most adults would consider intolerable.

But they're just kids so it's OK.

Edited by maize, 06 December 2017 - 04:47 PM.

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#25 Sadie

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 04:57 PM

Because as a society (multiple societies since we're crossing international borders here) we just plain don't value children because they are not economic producers.

This is why child rearing, child care, child teaching, etc. are not respected or well compensated occupations. Children in school are regularly subjected to conditions that most adults would consider intolerable.

But they're just kids so it's OK.

 

Yep. Sadly.


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#26 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:04 PM

If I were a teacher who wanted to pull off a super dramatic swan song on my way out, I'd buy benches, slates, vintage textbooks, a dictionary, a flag, two maps and a globe, set up my room like a one room schoolhouse, and call the local news.

"This is what your school will be if teachers have to provide desks, books, and school supplies from their meager salaries. If you want more for your children, tell your legislators that current methods of funding are not working. Tell your school board that up to date textbooks and computers and adequate seating are more important than football stadiums or the padding of administrators' pockets."
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#27 Mimm

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:05 PM

I just can't believe the district is micromanaging so much that they come up with the science experiments/demonstrations. Why isn't the teacher given a list of concepts to introduce, and told he must do X number of experiments/hands on type things per year, and then he can come up with them himself. His wife was going to go home and use spray adhesive and sand to make fake sandpaper so they didn't have to buy a bunch of it.


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#28 dmmetler

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:09 PM

I spent a lot out of pocket as an elementary school music teacher and wrote a lot of grants, but technically I could have done my job with what was provided (one set of books per grade level, CD’s, a CD player, an out of tune piano, a chalkboard, and a motley assortment of instruments). I wouldn’t have done a choir or a band class, nor would it have been much of an orff class (this was in a district with one of the top Orff programs in the country, but with no booster club and, initially, a principal with no respect for the arts), but I could have taught basic singing and music reading. With a new principal, some support from a district coordinator, and writing a ton of grants, I built up the music infrastructure at that school to about 100k/Worth, including a full band program, in the decade I was there, but that first year, well, I was asking for hand drums and glockenspiels for Christmas so I could use them with my students. DH’s boss let me come into the office and print/photocopy there, and provided trade show folders and pencils for my kids.

My district also has a teacher “store” where companies send their surplus office supplies, and I went there regularly to see what I could glean that was useful. Printed napkins from someone’s big trade show make decent substitutes for tissues and paper towels.

Edited by dmmetler, 06 December 2017 - 05:10 PM.

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#29 mamakelly

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:13 PM

I have many teacher friends. They do spend their own money on supplies, but nothing like this. He needs to call the school board and his union rep.
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#30 luuknam

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:15 PM

I haven't read the thread. But I'm pretty sure that's something to take up with the union, and to organize a strike.

 

I simply wouldn't do it, and send notes home to the kids' parents explaining why 4 of the kids don't have seats and why the planned experiments aren't happening (I'd do cheap experiments that fit into the $50 budget), along with the phone number, address, email address, etc of the school board. And I'd probably write some letters to the local newspaper etc. 

 

ETA: to be clear, I'd rotate who doesn't have a seat, or alternatively, have everyone sit on the floor all the time. 


Edited by luuknam, 06 December 2017 - 05:22 PM.

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#31 happysmileylady

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:29 PM

I agree and I I have no idea. She mentioned that she can't keep doing this and is going to be writing letters to Powers That Be. Her husband is rethinking his career right now so the schools will probably be losing another teacher.

 

She mentioned some of the stuff they were demanding he have for experiments. Like those large rubbermaid container lids (just the lids...) or matchbox cars. She said there was no way they were buy 80+ matchbox cars and she got people from her church to donate their kids old cars. But like I said, he doesn't write the experiments so he can't change them up.

 

Now, I will say, when I was in school, something like that would have been a request made of parents.  As in "next week, we will doing an experiment with matchbox/hot wheels cars.  We need everyone to bring in a single matchbox or hot wheels car.  They can be found at XYZ store for $1.xx.  Or any other matchbox or hot wheels car you have at home will do.  Also, if anyone has extras they would like to donate or loan our class in case some students are unable to get their cars in time, please contact me at XXX-XXXX" 


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#32 Where's Toto?

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 06:09 PM

I bought books from used bookstores because while the district mandated the teaching of certain books in certain high school classes, they never had a set of more than 15 of them.  And this was in a *wealthy* school district.  And yes, I paid out of pocket. I will add that a wonderful used bookstore owner cut me a good deal and he also kept an eye out for the books on my list and just gave them to me if they were given to him.  But yeah, I spent my own money on books and on some supplies that any business would supply to their employees...markers, overhead slides, that sort of thing.  

 

But nothing like what the OP has said here.  That is extortion, plain and simple, and it is also a reduction in the union-negotiated salary, and I don't know where the union is in all this.  They ought to be doing something about it for all the money they collect from members.  

 

And parents ought to be howling, too, at the district and not at the teacher, for the things they are required to buy for classrooms...tissues, hand-sanitizer, those "group" things that everyone uses.  Or just buy them and realize that if they don't, the teacher will have to...but at any rate, quit griping at the teacher.

 

This is what I was thinking - unless it's in his contract that they gave him a larger salary and he needed to supply the materials out of that, it doesn't seem like they could REQUIRE he purchase all these items.


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#33 Patty Joanna

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 06:55 PM

I just can't believe the district is micromanaging so much that they come up with the science experiments/demonstrations. Why isn't the teacher given a list of concepts to introduce, and told he must do X number of experiments/hands on type things per year, and then he can come up with them himself. His wife was going to go home and use spray adhesive and sand to make fake sandpaper so they didn't have to buy a bunch of it.

 

This right here is one of the major reasons teachers are dissatisfied, and a reason they leave...to go to administration, or to the district headquarters where they get to write the lesson plans that the classroom teachers are supposed to deliver like a bunch of automatons.  And make more money for doing it.

 

It's bad enough that you have zero say in what books you will teach, but it is positively demeaning to be handed a script and told what to say, or to be told what activities or experiments to do on any given day in the course of teaching the students from the book you already hate.  

 

There was a big stink about this in our local school district a few years ago and the teachers walked out.  It wasn't about the money.  It's about being treated like an automaton.  With a bottomless wallet, apparently.


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#34 creekland

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 07:11 PM

I’m a former teacher and so is my mom and my sister in law is currently a teacher. This is not the norm in any of the school districts I am acquainted with. Yes, teachers spend their one money on books and various other supplies but not seats or things that you are mentioning and certainly not half a salary. Yes, it adds up, but what your describing is insane.

 

Not the norm here either.  Teachers buy some things (like softer tissues) often, but not anywhere near what the OP mentioned.

 

With science experiments, it's common to have groups work sequentially rather than all together for things that need more "stuff."  This means we can have stations with different experiments at the stations and groups rotate through them.  It's also not uncommon to have half the group doing the experiments and the other half at their desks doing something else, then rotate.  This way fewer reusable supplies are needed.


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#35 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:11 AM

That's crazy.  I don't understand that at all.

 

 


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#36 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:24 AM

For $50 though you can't even demonstrate stuff.  That's just stupid.

 

I don't particularly care for these sorts of "experiments" anyway, but you can't mandate something and not fund it.  That's just crazy.

 

 



#37 happi duck

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:25 AM

I have never heard of *required* spending.

I hope these teachers fight back because it sets a bad precedent.

#38 Scoutermom

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:28 AM

It's not the norm here. Teachers do spend money but not for seats and certainly not to the tune of 50% of take home pay.

If he has the experiment list in advance, he should go through it and send a list of needed supplies home to the parents. He can do this at the beginning of the term and then send weekly reminders for next week's needs. This would help reduce his cost and give parents a heads up.

 

Hello parents~

This year we'll be conducting experiments in yada, yada, yada and will need the following supplies from home....... Please be on a lookout for these items. I'll send notices home the week before they are needed in class. If you have any questions, contact (The person who created the experiments).

 

-

Hello parents~

Net week we'll be conducting an experiment on electricity. Please send a potato and a small lightbulb with your child (these can be picked up at the dollar store). We'll be providing the wire.



#39 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:31 AM

It's not the norm here. Teachers do spend money but not for seats and certainly not to the tune of 50% of take home pay.

If he has the experiment list in advance, he should go through it and send a list of needed supplies home to the parents. He can do this at the beginning of the term and then send weekly reminders for next week's needs. This would help reduce his cost and give parents a heads up.

 

Hello parents~

This year we'll be conducting experiments in yada, yada, yada and will need the following supplies from home....... Please be on a lookout for these items. I'll send notices home the week before they are needed in class. If you have any questions, contact (The person who created the experiments).

 

-

Hello parents~

Net week we'll be conducting an experiment on electricity. Please send a potato and a small lightbulb with your child (these can be picked up at the dollar store). We'll be providing the wire.

 

Yeah, that would definitely not fly here. 



#40 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:36 AM

Ok and I googled around about this.  There are some states that have specific laws that do not allow schools to require certain supplies (and/or there are limits to this). 

 

So this might not even be allowable by law. 


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#41 Scoutermom

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:37 AM

Yeah, that would definitely not fly here. 

But it would let parents know the situation and put the onus back on to the person who required the experiments. No teacher should be funding mandated coursework.



#42 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:39 AM

But it would let parents know the situation and put the onus back on to the person who required the experiments. No teacher should be funding mandated coursework.

 

Something like 75% of the students here qualify for free lunch.  They have programs where they send food home on the weekend.  I'm guessing a lot of parents don't have money for random crap for crappy "experiments". 

 

I agree that no teacher should be funding coursework!


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#43 Scoutermom

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:46 AM

Something like 75% of the students here qualify for free lunch.  They have programs where they send food home on the weekend.  I'm guessing a lot of parents don't have money for random crap for crappy "experiments". 

 

I agree that no teacher should be funding coursework!

Here too. It's a shame. 

 

But if the other 25% could participate that reduces the pressure on the teacher.

 

I'm just thinking out loud. I really have no idea how this would work IRL.



#44 Happy2BaMom

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:58 AM

An acquaintance of mine recently made a FB post about her situation in OK. Spending per pupil has dropped 27% since 2008, many schools are operating on a 4-day-week, and she had to purchase 100% of all supplies for her classroom. She left & instantly found a job (in OK, no less) that paid her $20,000 a year more. Which tells you about what she was making. Every single one of her students was on the free-and-reduced lunch program.

 

 


Edited by Happy2BaMom, 07 December 2017 - 12:12 PM.


#45 KaleSprouts

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:32 AM

Assuming that this teacher is not exaggerating, I hope that this teacher is documenting EVERYTHING! 

He needs a file that has the required lesson plan and any written correspondence that requires him to use it as written, and a list of the supplies where he notes whether the items needed were available at the school, he purchased from classroom budget, bought himself, or sought donations.  Keep any receipts for spending with the documentation for that lesson.  Then he needs to make a list of people that he sends this to after each lesson (like the school board members).  

 

I would also suggest that he start preparing ahead of time and sending lists home with the kids for items he needs donated for the experiments.  Parents who are getting many requests to send things to the school might start to get curious about what's going on and that could be helpful. 

 

If he's not getting appropriate assistance from the union / school board, then he should make an appointment with his state representative and take his file of documentation and share what is happening.  If the state representatives have a Public Education Committee or something like that (they most likely do) then I would send each of those members a personal note describing what is happening.  Then, I'd add them to the list that I send the documentation about how much I'm spending to.  

 

 


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#46 vonfirmath

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:07 PM

Not the norm here either.  Teachers buy some things (like softer tissues) often, but not anywhere near what the OP mentioned.

 

With science experiments, it's common to have groups work sequentially rather than all together for things that need more "stuff."  This means we can have stations with different experiments at the stations and groups rotate through them.  It's also not uncommon to have half the group doing the experiments and the other half at their desks doing something else, then rotate.  This way fewer reusable supplies are needed.

 

This is the way my son's class works for reading books too. They split the room up into groups with 4 or 5 kids per group and each group reads a different book then discusses it among themselves. The books are switched out as they finish one.


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#47 cera2

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:38 PM

I am teaching now and my experience has been nothing like this.  We certainly aren't provided with a lot but we are provided with necessary supplies.  I have purchased things on my own but I also have no problem telling my department head no and while she will occasionally express her displeasure I have not had to worry about having a job.   

 

I will be leaving the profession as soon as my kids finish high school and I no longer want summers off though.  The overall atmosphere (testing, unrealistic expectations while not being allowed to hold kids accountable, etc) isn't worth dealing with.


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#48 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:34 PM

Here too. It's a shame. 

 

But if the other 25% could participate that reduces the pressure on the teacher.

 

I'm just thinking out loud. I really have no idea how this would work IRL.

 

Really so the small number of students should fund the supplies for the entire class?  Nah...I would not be amused.  If the district can't afford it then I dunno maybe one way to deal with is to watch videos of experiments?  I don't think it's fair to deal with it by asking someone to squeeze blood out of a rock...


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#49 justasque

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:42 PM

Lots of good suggestions here.  In addition to talking to the person dictating these experiments etc., he should be talking to his principal and his union and documenting every single thing he buys (and the routes he took before buying to find the resource in other ways).  Then going up the chain of command - to the school board, then if he can take the risk, the parents, press, and city/state reps.

In the meantime, he should also be networking with other teachers, in his school and other schools in the district.  Many non-consumable supplies are in storage for most of the year.  If six classrooms across town are doing the matchbox experiment, there's no need for all six to have a full kit of supplies; they can coordinate and use just one.  (Having done a lot of co-op classes, I have both borrowed and lent supplies like this to a teacher in my district; win-win.)

In addition, he should be looking at the experiments and seeing if substitutions can be made.  While rubbermaid lids can make a nice ramp, so can cereal boxes, pieces of cardboard, books, etc.  The "rubbermaid lids" item may have just been a suggestion of something that a teacher might have on hand, and not intended to be a set-in-stone requirement.

Classroom books are useful, but again connections can help.  Simply asking the parent-teacher group to ask parents to donate outgrown books can help.  (You would get the best books from parents whose kids are several grades higher up.)  

All that said, what the OP describes is an extreme situation; it's not normal and the teacher would be right to make a fuss about it.  The UNION is probably the best way to move up the chain of command without risking one's job.  That's what unions are for.


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#50 Scoutermom

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:46 PM

Really so the small number of students should fund the supplies for the entire class?  Nah...I would not be amused.  If the district can't afford it then I dunno maybe one way to deal with is to watch videos of experiments?  I don't think it's fair to deal with it by asking someone to squeeze blood out of a rock...

No, I meant they could provide the items for their own child. That would remove some of the burden from the teacher. 

 

I'm only talking about this particular circumstance where the teacher is stated to be spending 50% of his income on supplies. I would be trying to get donations from any available resource.