Teachers are Picking Up the Bill for Their Own Jobs
Teachers investing their own money into the classroom have become so commonplace around the country that it is now taken for granted. For years, schoolteachers have learned to accept the fact that they will spend part of their salaries on items for the classroom. New teachers entering the profession are generally aware of the situation because it is widespread and because they are told as much in college. This information is even found in some college textbooks. Studies have determined that the average teacher spends as much as $1000 yearly on necessary supplies not provided by their employers.
These out of pocket costs could add up to a major expense, especially for someone just starting a career. But, as mentioned, most teachers enter the profession knowing what is expected. New teachers are not likely choosing the career for it’s high income potential. This kind of sacrifice requires a different perspective and a willingness to take on the responsibility to do what is needed to perform the job properly.
Where is the Money Going?
The list of items purchased for the classroom by teachers is extensive. It starts with the decorations teachers use to liven up the classroom and engage their students. The colorful, educational banners, map, posters, alphabets and other learning tools that are ubiquitous in classrooms create a warm atmosphere conducive to creativity and learning. Without teachers taking on the expense, classrooms would be very different places.
As public school budgets continue to be hit, teachers find themselves having to cover even basic supplies like books, paper and pencils. Meanwhile, some have to work with decades old textbooks because they are not prioritized in schools’ budgets. Even furniture is not out of the scope of teacher spending.
In impoverished neighborhoods, it is common for teachers to spend on items unrelated to education to help their students. Teachers will pay for classroom snacks, student meals on school trips and personal items for students with the most need. It is not unheard of for teachers to pay for students’ college applications and curriculums.
Other Effects of Budget Cuts
There are other ways that educational budget cuts affect teachers. Less money means less incentive to join and stay in the profession. Here are some other effects of the lack of proper funding.
Lower Pay – This translates in to smaller paychecks, or losing a job when a school district decides to reduce class sizes.
Reduced Benefits – School district contributions to teacher benefits can be lowered when cuts need to be made somewhere.
Fewer Equipment Purchases – When money is low, schools may put off investing in technology like computers. Teachers and students suffer when they do not have up to date equipment.
Fewer Electives – A school facing budget cuts will typically cut non-core subjects from the curriculum, sometimes cutting teacher positions in the process.
Larger Class Sizes – A common response to budget cuts, bigger classes are less conducive to one-on-one instruction and cooperative learning.
As things stand now, some 20% of teachers quit the profession within the first three years. Educational budget issues do not help matters. Whether teachers accept it or not, they should not have to bear this financial burden. The BNI Foundation was started to address these sorts of issues. Our Business Voices initiative works to get business leaders involved in education by volunteering their time and talents, while our Givers Gain Grants help fund educational projects. Learn more, visit bnifoundation.org.