I have read a few articles lately about how much money teachers spend on school resources. There are many different stories from teachers around the country but it made me think about my own experiences. I have three distinct time frames of my career and the amount of my own money I spent on resources to assist me to do my job and to assist my students.
1. 2004-2008 - My first few years. When I first graduated I was thrown in to a number of different teaching roles in several schools. I taught from Grades 4 through to 9 and for a few months I even worked in three separate schools in the one day. I will never do this again and I would not recommend this to anyone - it was very stressful! I would have to use recess and lunch breaks to drive to the next school. During this time I spent literally thousands of dollars each year. I had no resources of my own and a lot of the money was used to purchase text books to inform my teaching. I don't regret spending this money as I still have many of these resources today. I remember how shocked my accountant was when I had spent over $4000 in my first year of teaching!
2. 2009-2011 During this time I worked in a challenging school with a lot of behavioural issues. As tough as it was some days I actually think it made me a better teacher, and a stronger person. I was happy to spend my own money but during this time it was more on resources for the students and things that I could use as rewards - stickers, pencils, glitter glue, etc. I also bought for myself a laminator and paper trimmer. I would have spent several hundred dollars each year and I made the conscious effort not to buy textbooks unless I absolutely had to.
3. 2012 - now Times have changed! I am much more reluctant to spend money mainly because I really don't need to as much anymore. I think very carefully about purchasing resources and only buy the things I truly need. I take receipts to the school to get reimbursed for things that the students use - I am often buying disposable cups, spoons and forks! I think my mentality has changed and I feel that those items should not come out of my pocket. I don't mean that to sound horrible at all but if there are items that will be used and thrown away then I feel that the school should pay for this, not me. Having said that though I still buy some items but it would be under $300 for the year.
I suppose it depends on where you are in your career - what resources you already have, what you need to add, what the students need. If I were to have a big change in grade or subject area then I have no doubt that I would purchase some teaching resources as I think that is just the nature of our job. Luckily in our profession there is always someone who is willing to assist or lend textbooks. For me it is the items such as disposable cups/forks/spoons, stickers, laminating pouches and things that are for the students that I would like schools to be able to cover if they can.