Here is a list of items teachers often supply themselves:
1) Classroom Furniture
Once the school year starts, our children often spend more time in their classrooms than their own living rooms. Teachers provide the extras to make the children's home-away-from-home as inviting as possible with wall decorations, pillows and rugs for chill-out corners, bookshelves for classroom libraries and more. Some teachers also buy their own room clocks and fans. Excluding desks, chairs, tables and computer equipment, most of the decor in our children's classrooms are largely paid for by our teachers.
2) Classroom Storage
Teaching is a tactile profession. Papers, booklets, game pieces and instructional materials all need to be stored somewhere. Storage bins and shelving are yet another hidden expense shouldered by the teachers.
3) Classroom Supplies
Tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes are essentials for keeping a healthy classroom, especially when cold and flu season starts. Parents are asked at the beginning of the school year to donate these items but donations often run out as the school year progresses. Teachers fill in the holes.
4) School Supplies
Most parents dutifully stock up on the required school supplies for the beginning of the year but not all families can afford to purchase the entire list and many supplies are exhausted as the school year goes on. Glue sticks, pencils, erasers and dry-erase markers are common items that need to be replenished throughout the year. Teachers fill this need with their own money.
5) Student Needs
Teachers buy snacks for students who skipped breakfast, kick in money for field trips when the students can't pay the required contribution and give students money to participate in PTA events like Holiday Shoppe and Book Fair. The PTA pays a $4 per student subsidy for field trips, has a $500 counselor fund for economic needs and can be creative when calculating the bill at Holiday Shoppe but there is still always a need and the teachers know that need first-hand.
6) Educational Materials
If your child comes home talking about planting sunflower seeds, doing jell-o experiments, or other hands-on lessons, then there is a good chance that their teacher paid for the supplies out of pocket. In some cases, teachers will ask parents for donations for special projects because extra funds aren't provided through the school system.
7) Teacher Reference Materials
Teachers who want to be fully prepared to implement new curriculum often have to purchase their own reference books.
8) Books for the Classroom Library
Every classroom is supposed to have a library so that students have productive activities for indoor recess or after completing an assignment.
9) Student Rewards
Small prizes and rewards help motivate students to succeed. It is a well-regarded teaching technique without a budget line item.
10) Record-keeping Supplies
Teaching is a data-driven profession, in which student achievement is tracked and scored. Teachers purchase their own supplies, like binders and folders, for keeping paper records.