Supplying the supplies – Adopt a Classroom


Image: DepositPhotos

It’s the first of August which means that the Back to School sales have been in full force for about three weeks now.

For parents of school-aged kids this means they are busy filling the Back to School lists that teachers have sent home; some even have supply lists from the teachers. For teachers this means getting into our classrooms and making lists. Oh the lists.

I work in an urban school district with a population that is largely considered “at risk” due to low-income/poverty. We don’t send home lists because the families in our district can’t afford what would be on the list. And we definitely do not ask for supplies for our own classroom.

Last year was the first year in over a decade that I was able to put in an order through school for glue sticks and markers. Before that (and in addition to that) everything comes out-of-pocket.

This week I stood in my classroom and made my annual wish list knowing I probably wasn’t going to be able to afford everything on it:

  • notebooks for each of my 150 students (for journalling)
  • binders for the seniors for portfolios
  • scissors (to replace my dwindling supply)
  • markers and crayons
  • poster board (for all the many projects we do)
  • rulers (again to replace the dwindling supply)
  • loose lined paper
  • construction paper
  • pencils and pens
  • dry erase markers and a new eraser
  • a lesson plan book (because I am old school and I need to hand-write my stuff)
  • A desk calendar
  • Post-it’s
  • pencil erasers
  • tissues

And the list could really go on and on. The added bonus? This year my classroom was part of a vandalism spree just a couple weeks ago. School will replace things like my broken computer monitor and missing keyboard, but all the personal picture frames, my clicker for presentations, my CD player, the posters from the walls, and any of the other decor I had to make my room feel inviting is on me to replace. And we just can’t afford those things on top of my other supply list (that will largely go unfilled as well).

I’m not begging, mind you. This is just my situation, and it’s not a very unique situation. Teachers all over the country are busy trying to figure classroom supplies into their family budgets.

Many, like myself, have part-time jobs on the side to help deflect the costs, but it still piles up.

This past weekend I went to BlogHer, the largest blogging conference in the world, and I talked about this topic with some fellow bloggers whose children go to school in districts far more affluent than mine. One blogger told me how she bought her daughter’s teacher around $200 in supplies (everything on the suggested supply list the teacher mailed home) and then gave her a gift card to buy the other things she might need. The teacher burst into tears. The blogger told me she couldn’t believe how thankful the teacher was.

But I believe it. Just $100 could go so far in my classroom. Shoot, I would raid the penny sales at Target and Office Max and Office Depot and Staples with $25!

This school year, consider donating a couple bucks or a few classroom supplies to your child’s teacher.

Don’t have a child in school or maybe your school is not as needy as others? Search for a school on Adopt A Classroom. It’s tax deductible and you can see where the money goes…totally transparent. It’s also really easy!

I have an Adopt a Classroom account for my classroom as well.


  1. My sister teaches in a college here in Malaysia, and she goes out-of-pocket for a lot of stuff too, so I can feel your pain. I do love the Adopt a Classroom idea. I hope you get what you need for your students!

  2. I love this idea. A few times last year my younger kids’ elementary school teacher asked that we donate items or money to another school. She’d won a pretty substantial gift card to Staples and was sharing inside the school with other teachers. When we visited the other school we could see why she’d suggested it. It hurts my heart to know that students aren’t in comfortable rooms with the items they need. I wish I could do more.