The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do parents really not know?

A friend of mine on Facebook made a comment today that really got my goat. She said she "hates when teachers play the 'poor us' card. There isn't enough paper for the kids so she made copies on the backs of real estate brochures. Really??"

I cannot tell you how insulting I find this. I am not trying to say "poor us," but why not use recycled paper? She was talking about her son's teacher, not me, but I make copies on the back of fliers and brochures all the time. I have a couple of close friends who work for companies who are totally willing to give me one-sided copies and I love having them to use. I only get like 5000 sheets a year from the school. I have 130 English students and 41 drama students. Even if you just count the English students, that is like 38 pages per student per year. There are 180 days in the school year. Give me a break. If I didn't get recycled paper, I would be buying it all the time. Besides that, we do things like "Thinking Maps" all the time at our school, and the students like having the unlined paper to write on. They couldn't care less that there is an advertisement for a basketball tournament on the back.

Again, I am not trying to say "poor teachers," because in many ways we get a sweet deal with getting a lot of days off, but I also am at work almost 12 hours every day, and then at home working on stuff until all hours of the night about 20% of the school year. Being a good teacher involves a lot of creative supplies. You think kids like just learning from a textbook? They don't. Creative projects involve supplies. These supplies require things that the school doesn't always pay for, and I actually work for a really great school who provides a lot in the way of creative supplies, but still there are things we just end up buying. Last week I spent like $30 just on envelopes for the letter project. I knew a teacher last year who was going to be doing a dissection project in biology and she almost had to buy her own paper towels for the kids to clean up because they would only give her two packs. Luckily, our awesome principal stepped in and made sure she got them, but this is just the kind of thing that I am talking about.

Parents expect so much of us... your child is getting copies. How can you complain about what they are on?

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