Blog/ Parent-hood

What’s Up with the Back-to-School Supplies

first day of kindergarden

Five-years ago I gave birth to my first kid, Ziana Eliz. Fast-forward to today and she’s finally attending school. Sure, she attended Pre-k last year, but lets face it– Pre-k is play school. This is the first year it’s going to be a bit more towards what the rest of her years ahead are going to look like in school. It was also the first year I had to encounter a back-to-school supplies list! Sure, I grew up with them, but didn’t put much thought into it because it wasn’t my money. Now, that it’s our money, I started to think what the hell were all these items for?

The hassle of back-to-school lists

I know I’m not the only parent out there who questions the the back-to-school list, moans about it and doesn’t fully understand why there’s a list. However, I got down to the nitty gritty of it all by speaking to a friend who is a teacher– who explained why these lists are important for not just our children, but the teachers as well. No, the items aren’t for their own use– I seriously thought ‘okay they’re taking some of these things home.’ Who needs 2 rolls of paper towels and gallon/sandwich bags from each student? Who asks for play-doh, hand-santizer, four packets of pencils?!

They will all be used, all those colored coordinated folders, glue sticks, wipes and crayons will be used by the students, lost by the students, broken by the students and taken home by the students aka our devilish children. My teacher friend commenting on the pencils says, “Something so simple as pencils you run through them so fast! I go through 100 pencils a year. Easy! And I only have 12 kids.” Imagine for a classroom that has 20 kids like my daughter will be in?

Why do teachers rely on the lists?

For us in New York City we are fully aware that the school systems are one of the worst in the country, but I honestly couldn’t fathom that many teachers have very little budget to get some school supplies or NO BUDGET at all. I was informed that in her first year of being a teacher Carmen spent about $500 out of her own pocket to get school supplies which was on top of the $50 budget the school gave her. Thankfully, this year the school budget was $250 which still is not enough, but it’s something.

Now, get ready for this– we now know that some teachers get no budget so they’re stuck having to buy all school supplies like copy paper, staplers, tape dispensers, wall paper and much, much more. It’s probably the only profession in the world where the employees have to buy supplies for their own students. As if our teachers who educate our students get paid enough to do that! They’re taking money out of their own pockets that take away from paying their bills, their family, their lives to help out their students. That’s another issue all in itself.

Another factor on how much a teacher spend is the teacher themselves. “I know some that don’t spend anything and they use whatever they have. I like things to be organized and look a certain way. Plus I buy my kids snacks to feed them almost every day.” You buy them food? WHAT? That’s called being committed and going above and beyond for her kids.

All in all, school lists are a pain just because we aren’t going to be using them directly, but our children and teachers literally live on this! See some sales after the whole back-to-school shenanigans? Grab a few packets of pencils, paper towels and whatever else you see to help another human out. Think of it as your one good thing a month to make you feel all good inside.


what supplies to get for school

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