By Teachers, For Teachers
As budgets keep shrinking and class sizes continue to increase, teachers find themselves paying for school supplies out of their own pockets.
In “The 2010 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study,” it was revealed that teachers spend an average of $356 of their own money on teaching materials per year, and the expectation of teachers to do more with less isn’t going away.
While the ideal solution to this predicament is more public funding, here are some ideas to increase your budget and stretch precious pennies in the meanwhile.
Parents who are willing to donate some of their time are easily the best free resource at hand. Petition parents to chip in a couple hours, whether for a special presentation, as a recess supervisor, or a classroom aid. As the saying goes, time is money, and the extra set of hands will allow for each student to receive more individual attention, while allowing you the occasional five second breather.
In some districts, parents are willing and able to make donations to support the education of their children. In other districts, it is not this simple. One creative way to raise classroom cash is to hold a fundraiser on the website www.biddingforgood.com. The average proceeds from an online auction with BiddingForGood are $14,500, with a 9% cut going to the company. Naturally, this means collecting donations for auction from local businesses and advertising the auction to prospective bidders. Luckily, the Internet can make this process both free and effective through platforms like Facebook.
One of the greatest costs in a classroom is paper. Some teachers have switched to reusable whiteboards and chalk for each student to cut this expense. While it may cost more in the short term, it will definitely save money in the long run.
Have students save egg crates, old newspapers, magazines and the like for art projects and lessons in reading, writing, and social studies. Multimedia is an incredible, paper-free resource for education as well. Get the students into the computer lab at every available moment and give them electronic tests and homework assignments in place of paper. Not only are these tips good for your budget, they are good for the environment.
The bottom line is creativity. The only way to succeed on a small budget is to exercise your innovative skills and use what is available to you in the unique situation of your classroom. Try not to get frustrated and instead think positively. That positivity will spread to your students, their parents, and your colleagues, helping to make the school a better learning environment for free.
How do you make the most of your classroom budget? Share in the comments section!