First, we want to thank you for everything that you do. You delight in our children on their good days and stand beside them through the challenging ones. You put their needs before your own. You gauge your own personal success on our children’s accomplishments. There is no way to put into words the gratitude that we feel for all of the love, caring, and effort that you put into helping us raise our children to be successful, contributing members of society.
With back to school looming, we know that you are digging into your own pocket and cringing as you pay for the supplies to outfit your classroom. We are feeling the same pain. Many of us struggle to find money in the budget to fill the $100+ supply lists that come home, especially at middle school level. With multiple teachers all having similar requests, our school supply shopping receipts add up quickly.
We understand that there are items that our children simply must have in order to complete the lesson plans that you have so carefully laid out for the year. And we are more than willing to supply these items. But we would love it if you could streamline the beginning of the year requests to make it easier on our budgets.
Here are some ideas that could help:
- Touch base with other teachers on your team. If there are supplies that can be used throughout different classes, work together to create a central supply list, rather than sending home extensive, individual lists per teacher.
- Revisit your current supply list and make sure that it’s up to date. If you’ve been sending home the same list, but have changed some of your teaching techniques, there may be items that are no longer useful.
- Consider splitting the list up by quarters or semesters. If you won’t be using that pack of index cards, graphing notebook, or tri-fold board until the second half of the year, wait to request it. Ask for a smaller number of writing utensils, packs of paper, and other things that may need to be replenished, then send home a mid-year supply list to restock.
- Set up an Amazon Wish List for parents in your classroom to purchase additional supplies for your room, outside of the basics. Donor’s Choose projects are also a great way to ask for supplies you need for the classroom, too. You can send a welcome email to all parents at the beginning of the year with the link, then respectfully suggest giving item from that list or a donation to the project for holiday and teacher appreciation gifts. We know you don’t REALLY want another mug, but many of us struggle to think of something you would like. It’s a win-win!
- Share affordable ways for parents to bundle together the supplies their children need. For instance, this writing bundle on Amazon has many of the frequently requested items on back to school lists, but is far less expensive than purchasing name brand items individually. Here are a few other supply bundles to consider:
- Find out what your students’ parents do for a living and see if there are opportunities for corporate donations. You might find some connections that can help furnish your classroom with supplies that you need without putting extra financial strain on the parents.
We understand how hard you work and want you to know that we appreciate what you do. It is important to all of us that our children have the tools that they need to succeed in the classroom. Let’s work together to find ways to ensure that parents can afford to do their part in keeping your classroom running smoothly.
Thank you again for all that you do.
A working parent who wants the best for her children
***This letter was written by the mom of two very active children, one in elementary and one in middle school. While she remains anonymous she speaks for many parents that have spoken out over the years who struggle to make sure their students have everything they need to start the new year right. If you want to help others see that it’s not only teachers who struggle by spending money on their classroom, consider sharing this to social media so that we can make a change for some better funding for school supplies in our classrooms.