“Low on Supplies Already” Tuesday January 10, 2017


Our school does not have a color copier. There is a color printer in the main office, but we’re discouraged from using it. Our school has one large copy machine. Which is incredibly frustrating because…

a) if there’s a line (which there commonly is) then you have to wait

b) it’s constantly running out of toner which is kept locked up and can only be changed by an administrator. (Who the fuck is stealing toner?)

c) if you send things to print to that copier they are often mixed in with other people’s copies or set aside and eventually lost

I often use my own personal printer to print out entire class sets. This really sucks because ink is more expensive than printers. Seriously, it actually would cost me less to buy a new printer that comes with ink than to buy cartridges of ink.

That said, paper is a necessity for a teacher. Our children are not working on laptops or tablets. They work with paper and pencil. Each child was expected to bring a box of pencils to school with them at the beginning of the year. I think 14 of my students actually did. 12 of them had brought in the shittiest, dollar store pencils that I’ve ever used. They broke instantly and fell apart if you tried to sharpen them.

Those pencils ran out after a month. I’ve been buying and bringing in my own pencils all year.

a03-4_2However, paper was always supplied by the school. And we had a nice variety of colors other than white. We had pink, goldenrod, blue, and green. All in light shades that were great. I used white for all of the classwork and I was a fan of blue for tests and goldenrod for homework. I also use pink for notes home. See, I had a system. It kept me organized. Made my copies easy to sort and I think it helped my students with their take-home folders.

Today, I couldn’t find anymore goldenrod paper. Our limited supply shelves where the goldenrod is kept was bare. And I thought about it; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the colored paper replenished. Or any of the colors. I asked the other teacher politely waiting behind me if she knew if there was anymore goldenrod paper.

She said, “We’re all out. They buy a couple boxes of each color at the beginning of the year and when it runs out, that’s it.” Then she whispered to me, “People usually hide the good colors in their rooms.”

Seriously? Why buy us colored paper at all? And is colored paper really that more expensive than white paper? And if it is more expensive, why can’t my school afford it? It’s paper!

We can’t make colored copies, we should at least have colored paper. Colored paper is easier on the eyes and it makes sorting types of copies a lot easier.

Never mind that I don’t have enough tissue boxes, dry-erase markers, hanging folders, or pencils. Never mind that I have to buy my own books for my library. Buy my own supplies. My own bulletin boards, word wall words, clip charts, calendars, clocks, schedules, pointers, games, labels, rugs, binders, book bins, and everything else that they sell at teacher supply stores because schools don’t provide them.

I always thought that at least the school provided options for paper. Yes, I do get a stipend to buy supplies. But it’s only $200 for the year and that isn’t enough. And it comes in the form of a reimbursement after I show a valid receipt. And, sure, I could probably write supplies off on my taxes but I don’t know how to do that.

Basically, I think it’s a shame that my school is so poor and that I have to work so hard for so little.


I guess it could be worse…


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