Are there hidden costs to teaching?

Good Teachers

American educators dip into their wallets to do the jobs so important to our future. The amount of money a professional educator is shelling out varies depending on the class, district, and student needs. In years past, the IRS allowed teachers to take a deduction for money spent. The deduction was usually in the $250.00 range. Many professional educators spend much more.

School districts typically provide curriculum for teaching, the books. Teachers spend dollars out of pocket for classroom costs. They are providing things like educational classroom decorations, paper, pencils, markers and all the little things required for classroom activities. Parents used to send materials at the beginning of the school year. With the economy as it is, parents are able to send less. Educators are buying more. Some districts no longer allow asking for supplies citing what is commonly referred to as the No Child Left Behind law (IDEA). IDEA mandates all districts are to provide a “free and appropriate public education” (FAPE). Some districts and parents interpret “free” to include making material supplies that support learning optional under FAPE.

Typical American educators will have approximately 25 students per class six periods a day resulting in 150 students. Minimally, each will need one three ring binder, enough paper to produce at least one writing assignment per day, pens, colored pencils, glue sticks and scissors. Even if the teacher is a super shopper, he or she is looking to spend at least $75.00 on binders if found at the bargain basement price of $.50 each. The money they spend out of pocket for classroom costs just goes up from there. Materials don’t last and must routinely be restocked.

Caring professional educators spend out of pocket on the growing number of students that can’t afford lunch and for whatever reason, don’t or won’t qualify for free or reduced lunch. At just three students per day, the teacher is spending $4.50 daily for those students to eat. With the average price of a student lunch being $1.50, the resulting out of pocket expense is $22.50 a week. Educators further spend their dollars buying jackets and shoes for the students they know won’t get them otherwise.

Good teachers did not go into it for the paycheck, but they still have to eat. One has to wonder how long educators can afford to continue doing their jobs.

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