This figure, writes EPI economist Emma García in a blog post, “does not include the dollars teachers spend but are reimbursed for by their school districts …The $459-per-teacher average is for all teachers, including the small (4.9 percent) share who do not spend any of their own money on school supplies.”
Nine out of 10 educators will not be reimbursed for their back-to-school purchases, whether it’s pencils, notebooks, whiteboards, posters, even software.
García looked at data from the 2011-12 and 2015-16 Schools and Staffing Survey survey, The earlier survey was a little more useful because it included state-by-state data. The numbers in the map – adjusted for inflation – are not indicative of a post-Great Recession spike, notes García, because spending by teachers increased in subsequent years. The 2015-16 survey shows that teachers spent on average $479 on school supplies.
California educators forked over about $664 annually. Spending by North Dakota educators came in at $327.
García says these discrepancies do not suggest that educators in certain states are more altruistic or dedicated than their colleagues elsewhere.
Educators Speak Out on Buying Their Own School Supplies In 2018, NEA asked educators to share their #OutOFMyPocket stories – how much they spend annually on classroom supplies, what they purchase, and why they believe it’s necessary to dig so deep into their own paychecks.
“State-by-state spending differences are likely due to a combination of factors, including students’ needs, how schools are funded in the state, the cost of living in the state, and other factors.”
García points out that the lowest percentage of educators spending their own money on school supplies without compensation isn’t low at all – 91% in Mississippi.
“The dollar amounts and shares paint a unifying, generalized pattern of generosity across the country,” she writes.
Unsurprisingly, teachers in high-poverty schools shell out more of their own money. In 2015-16, these educators spent $523 compared to the $434 average for low-poverty schools.
While the dollar figures are too high, the fact that educators are spending their own money on school supplies isn’t “in and of itself a major problem,” says García. Teachers are excited about the new school year and want their classrooms to be enriching learning environments.
Still, reimbursed spending is another burden educators take on as other pressures continue to mount, “potentially affecting perceptions of the teaching profession, teacher recruitment, and teacher retention,” García writes.
That is why it is necessary, says Ryan Knight, a music teacher in Indiana, to call attention to the great lengths educators go for their students.
“I do these things out of love for my kids and I don’t ask for a refund from anyone. But I think the community ought to know the real amount of money teachers are putting into their classroom, school, and kids’ overall education.”
Visit Yubbler today to find out how you can help teachers! We give 50% of the profits back to your school.
As adults, we all have diverse needs and different ways of coping with stressful situations. For children, it is the same. Some children will have dealt well with restrictions and school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For others, it is challenging to cope with all the changes and uncertainty. Some children will return to school having experienced some level of stress, anxiety, isolation and grief. Some may have experienced increased violence at home.
School teachers and personnel are critical in supporting children’s transition back to in-person classroom learning, particularly after extended periods of school closure. In addition to continuing to use the different skills teachers have been using to ensure their students’ learning and emotional well-being while schools were closed, the following suggestions might be helpful when schools reopen:
1. Listen to children’s concerns
Covid-19 and school closures impacted many children and adolescents’ mental health and well-being. As teachers, it is essential to listen to students’ concerns and demonstrate understanding as well as empathy. Offer your students the opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with you to reconnect and discuss any concerns that might have arisen when their school was closed. If a child shares anything that is particularly concerning, please follow the protection or child safeguarding systems in place.
2. Check how children are doing
Before teaching new academic content to students, teachers and school personnel should take time to check how children are doing. Remember that children may have difficulty concentrating at first or may need more time to get back into the routine of learning. Provide opportunities for children to take breaks, move around, and re-connect with their friends and peers.
3. Provide children with accurate information around COVID-19
As children return to school, they may have different thoughts and questions about COVID-19. Children want and need factual information. Use child-friendly and age-appropriate resources available in your country/region that is based on scientific evidence to respond to children’s questions about COVID-19 accurately.
While it is important to acknowledge the scale of what is happening globally, make sure to emphasize all the efforts made and precautions taken to reduce risks in the school reopening plans. Do not forget to remind children of school safety protocols, including what to do in case there is a COVID-19 case detected in the classroom.
4. Seek suggestions from children on how to create a welcoming, safe and comfortable classroom
Engage children in making the classroom a welcoming, safe and comfortable space. When doing so, make sure to respect school safety procedures and use available material resources.
Children can provide suggestions; help decorate the walls of the classroom with colourful and welcoming messages and work in small groups so they can support each other to catch up on learning. Let them know that being supportive of each other will help them get through this together. Remember to praise children for their contributions and efforts. Teachers can foster feelings of safety and security by interacting and developing positive relationships with each student and using routines during the day to help children feel safe and secure.
5. Watch out for any warning signs of child behaviour that interferes with their ability to explore, play and learn
Be attentive to changes in children’s behaviours. If you notice significant changes in a student’s behaviour and this persists over time, preventing them from functioning or playing, please follow school protocol, and/ or seek additional support and guidance. Teachers can provide lots of support if they feel a child is struggling. However, you should seek additional support and refer children to child protection services, primary care physicians, or mental health professionals if you feel the child needs specialist help.
Continue providing learning support, as well as guidance, and provide extra support or go at a slower pace if a child is finding it difficult to learn or concentrate.
6. Encourage play and sports to promote interaction between students
In many countries children have been following strict physical distance measures and have been prevented from using playgrounds and other public spaces to play and interact with their peers. Make sure that when children return to school that they have lots of opportunities to socialize, play and interact with the peers they have missed for so long, in line with school safety protocols.
7. Model good coping behaviours for students – be calm, honest, and caring
Teachers can be positive role models for their students. Children will look at you and learn from the skills you use daily to deal with stressful situations. Be calm, honest, and caring, and demonstrate a positive attitude to children.
8. Take care of yourself and know your limits
Teaching can be an extremely stressful profession, particularly now. Make sure to protect your own physical and mental health (e.g. maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits, rest, exercise, connect with friends, family, and colleagues). Remember to seek support if you notice yourself experiencing significant feelings of distress.
Visit Yubbler.com to find out how you can give back to teachers via our school supplies program!
We all can play a role in helping schools during the school year — from donating supplies for teachers to buying an extra backpack for a student in need to signing up to volunteer.
Here are some easy ways you can help schools in your community:
Join a parent & teacher organization at your school. Joining a parent and teacher organization (PTA, PTSA, PTO) gives you the opportunity to stay up-to-date on what the school is doing throughout the year and also make suggestions based on what you think you can do to help the school.
Volunteer as often as possible. Volunteering your time for field trips, clerical work, tutoring or office help is a great way to get involved. Teachers, principals, staff and students all need help in making sure the school year is a success. Contact your school directly to see what volunteer opportunities are available.
Donate school supplies for other children. When you are purchasing school supplies for your family, reach out to your school or your child’s teacher and ask if there are supplies you can buy for them, too. Many students come to school without basic supplies like backpacks and pencils, and teachers often spend money from their own paychecks to provide supplies for their classrooms. By donating supplies, you will help your child’s school and classroom run more smoothly while ensuring all students have what they need to succeed.
Go to Back-to-School Night. This is an important opportunity to meet the teacher, make sure that you understand his or her rules and expectations for the class, and get information about the best ways to communicate with him or her. Whether your child is an academic all-star or needs a little extra TLC to make it through the school year, making the effort to go to Back-to-School night shows both your child and the teacher that you are engaged and ready to support them.
Become a “booster.” In addition to the regular PTA-style organizations, many schools have “Booster” groups, especially for non-core subjects like music and art programs which have suffered from budget cuts in recent years more than academic classes like reading and math. Boosters are parent groups that often help with fundraising for specific projects, like band uniforms, orchestra instruments, or a new scoreboard. Boosters may donate time running a concession stand at sporting events, or donate money for a scholarship.
Attend school board meetings. While meetings may not be everyone’s favorite way to spend time, school board meetings can be extremely informative. You will learn about decisions, policies and budgets that affect your child and his or her school, while also having an opportunity to share your thoughts on the need in your area.
Serve on a committee. Individual schools (and sometimes entire school districts) are often looking for members of the community to serve on committees related to specific goals (health and wellness, on-time graduation, diversity and inclusion, school safety, just to name a few). Sometimes they may be looking for people with a specific workplace skill or background, but most of the time they just need people who have a sincere interest in the topic.
Reach out. One of the simplest things you can do is just ask what you can do. Perhaps a kindergarten classroom needs snacks or a middle school needs math tutors. By asking what you can do, you’re letting your school know you want to make a difference. Needs change throughout the school year, so make a note to connect with leaders at your local school(s) and offer assistance on a regular basis.
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Getting organized can make life easier for kids with learning and thinking differences. It might take some effort in the beginning, but it’s worth it in the long run. Here are tips to help kids improve organization skills at home, at school, and beyond.
1. Break tasks into chunks.
Help kids break school projects or household chores into smaller, more manageable steps. This will show them that each project has a beginning, middle, and end, which can make projects feel less overwhelming. For example, if your child’s nightly chore is to clear the table, explain: First, scrape any food scraps into the garbage. Then load the dishes into the dishwasher. Then wipe the counters.
2. Make checklists and to-do lists.
Once kids know all the steps involved with a particular task, help them add it to an overall to-do list. Include regular homework and chores on the list. Encourage kids to keep the list in a place where they’ll see it often and can check off accomplishments as they go. Some kids might create their list using a smartphone app. Others may write it on a dry-erase board in their bedroom or print out a list to carry around throughout the day.
3. Teach calendar and time management skills.
Encourage kids to write down important tasks on a calendar (digital or paper). Then help them estimate how much time each task will take. After they complete a task, ask whether the time estimate was accurate or not. If needed, suggest adjustments for next time. It may also help to have kids write the due date directly on school assignments.
4. Establish daily routines.
Creating a regular schedule can help kids learn what to expect throughout the day. Use picture schedules, clocks, and other time management strategies.
5. Introduce idea organizers.
Show kids how to use outlines, graphic organizers, or concept webs to organize ideas for school projects. Encourage them to take class notes in two columns , using a narrow column on the left for main ideas or questions and a wide column on the right for all the details. Later, when they’re studying for a test, they can look at what’s in the narrow column to review the big ideas and see if they can remember the details.
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6. Use color-coding.
Assign colors to each school subject. For example, green folders and notebooks may be for English and blue for math. Use brightly colored pocket folders for items that need to be signed and returned. Suggest using pens of different colors to help kids shift from the role of writer to the role of self-checker and editor.
7. Create fun memory aids.
Show kids how to create their own silly sentences, songs, acronyms, or cartoons to remember information. (One popular mnemonic, “Never Eat Soggy Waffles,” helps kids remember north, east, south, and west.) They can use these memory aids for anything from preparing for an exam to recalling a locker combination.
8. Create an organized work space.
Set aside spaces at home where each child can work without interruption. It might work best if this is somewhere near you for times when they need your assistance. Keep school supplies and technology such as calculators, tablets, or laptops nearby.
When the weather is too frightful to play outside, stay cozy indoors and make one of these crafts with your kids.MEGAN FORGEY • DECEMBER 30, 2021
Let’s face it, winter days (although shorter) can seem to drag on and on when it’s too cold for kids to go outside and play. Before you hear the dreaded “I’m bored” groans, stock your craft drawer with supplies that’ll keep kids entertained (without screens) during long stretches at home. Crafts are a great hands-on activity to occupy kids during school days off, frigid weekends, and after-school play dates. Here are 10 crafts to make with kiddos this winter, many of which use items you already have around the house.
Do you wanna build a snowman? You don’t need snow pants and gloves, or even snow on the ground to make these frosty guys.
Visit www.yubbler.com and check out our Arts & Crafts section. Stock up to keep the kids busy all winter! The best part? Choose your school at checkout and it will receive 50% of the profits from your order!
Did you know you can now buy office supplies for a profit via Yubbler? For years Yubbler has given back to schools through their back-to-school supplies program; now we are offering the same opportunity for small businesses. It works much like our school program: send a list of your most frequently purchased supplies and we’ll set up your account with your preferred discounted office supplies. If your small business orders office supplies, why not give back to the community? It’s a win/win! For every purchase we’ll donate 50% of the profits back to the nonprofit or charity of your choice. Now more than ever it’s important to give back! Get started today at www.yubbler.com or email info@yubbler for more information!
Karina Rude, a teacher at Phoenix Elementary School, was quite surprised when she learned she would be receiving a fish tank for her special education classroom.
Rude had asked for the tank in response to an email from the school’s principal, inviting teachers to record items they want for their classrooms on a “wish list” set up by Katie Edwards.
Later, “when I got the note (from Edwards) saying it’s on its way, I thought, oh, my goodness, I can’t believe it,” Rude remembered.
Edwards had arranged for the 10-gallon tank to be installed in Rude’s classroom. The tank, the fish, chemicals, rocks and all the necessary supplies were donated by the PetSmart store managers in Grand Forks.
Rude uses the fish tank to teach her students “self-understanding” and as an incentive to help them learn positive behavior. For example, if they meet certain daily goals, their reward may be they get to feed the fish or add a decoration to the tank.
“Boy, it made a difference,” Rude said of the new feature in her classroom. “(Students) can see what they have to work for.”
“The students love it,” she said. For some, watching the fish is “a transition time” from a regular classroom to her special education classroom. “It gets them ready to work.”
The fish tank “is useful in a lot of ways,” she said, noting that, using the fish as an example, she teaches about “different behaviors, emotions and how we treat others.”
For some students, watching the fish has a “calming effect” and provides a good break in their routine, she said. “If you think back as a kid, it was fun to have something a little different.”
It’s all part of a program that Edwards started to provide Grand Forks public elementary school teachers with items not covered by their school supply budget. She asked principals to invite their teachers to place items on wish lists, which can be found at https://wishlist.com/l/8J1eLB or visit the Facebook page, search @gfteacherwishlist.
People who view the lists may donate the items, new or used, or contribute funds so Edwards can purchase them.
The idea for the teacher wish list sprang from conversations Edwards, the mother of a Discovery Elementary student, had with a couple of moms as they reviewed the school supply lists distributed before the start of school last fall.
“We wished we could do more for (the teachers) – and not just the teachers, but also the specialists,” such as gym teachers, librarians and speech therapists, because “they don’t get to put out a supply list at the beginning of the year; so they start with nothing,” Edwards said. “They don’t even get the tissues the other teachers get at the beginning of the year.”
Nationwide, teachers spent an average of $750 out-of-pocket on school supplies during the ‘20-21 school year – the highest amount ever, according to the 2021 AdoptAClassroom.org survey of 5,400 U.S. teachers. About 30% of teachers spent $1,000 or more on school supplies.
Teacher spending has increased 25% since AdoptAClassroom.org began surveying teachers in 2015.
Another survey by Savings.com found that teachers spent an overall average of $511 per year on school supplies without reimbursement.
The Grand Forks Education Association, which represents the district’s 779 teachers, has never surveyed its members on the amount of money they spend purchasing items for their work, said the association’s president, Melissa Buchhop, but “I am guessing we fall in line with the national numbers.”
“I think it is pretty safe to say a majority of us spend a couple hundred (dollars), if not more, each year on our classrooms,” Buchhop said.
Rude, the special education teacher at Phoenix, is among those who buy things for their classrooms, she said. “The amount each year depends on how much I want to change the classroom. I’m thrifty; I go to garage sales.”
The number of requests she’s received for the wish list was “overwhelming,” said Edwards, who enlisted her daughter’s Girls Scout troop in the project. “It almost brought me to tears, because it’s so sad. The things they’re requesting are so simple, and (are) easy things for us to provide for them.”
When she contacts teachers to clarify their requests, it’s common for Edwards to get responses such as: “I can’t believe you emailed me,” “I can’t believe you’re a real person” and “Are you a real person?,” she said. “They were, like, is this for real?”
Many teachers’ requests are for items “you wouldn’t even think of, like, laminating sheets,” she said, which “are expensive, and they have to buy multiples of them.”
She’s had requests for cardstock paper, white board erasers, fidget devices, and clipboards for doing work around the classroom, she said. “And lots and lots of books.”
A few teachers have requested things that make the classroom more inviting, she said, such as “string lights, so they can turn the harsh fluorescent lights off during the day and have a calmer (setting). Or board games and puzzles for days when it’s too cold for kids to go outside for recess.”
If she receives multiple requests for the same item, she chooses the recipient using a lottery.
“My heart goes out to (teachers) because they do make such an amazing environment for our kids – and especially this year with ArtWise being cut,” Edwards said. Teachers have asked for art supplies, such as oil pastels and watercolor paints.
“Those kinds of things aren’t provided any more because of the budget cuts,” she said.
In recent years, funds for classroom supplies have diminished, as school district officials search for ways to trim spending and achieve a balanced budget.
As part of the $4 million budget reductions implemented for this school year, the budget for districtwide supplies was reduced by 10% – from $252,000 last year to $228,000 this year, Berge said.
The budget was $250,000 in 2018-19 and $248,000 in 2019-20, he said.
Donors who give items for teachers on her wish list – or provide funds to purchase them – make their contributions anonymously, Edwards said. Donors do not know who specifically receives their gifts, and the recipients don’t know who gave them.
Edwards maintains anonymity “so all of the schools could benefit from it,” she said, noting that she also wanted “equity” across the district because parent involvement and donation vary among schools. Some schools already have wish lists, but teachers at those schools may also request items on hers, she said.
Her goal was to allow all elementary teachers to “ask for things without anybody knowing who was asking, and then you could just help, and you don’t know who you’re helping but you know it’s going to a local school.”
“It’s been really great,” she said. “The things that I have brought to the teachers, they are just so appreciative. … You just want to do everything for them, as hard they’ve had to work, especially these last few years.”
As part of her work with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, drop-off boxes are also being set up again at local Bully Brew locations to collect donated items for teachers, she said.
Edwards hopes to expand her wish list program into East Grand Forks, as well as to middle and high school teachers, she said.
“It’s been so rewarding. I hope I can do more for them.”
Looking for a way to raise funds for your school? Visit Yubbler today to set up your virtual fundraiser and give back to the teachers who need your help more than ever!
Zoom fatigue is prevalent due to so many of our social encounters now moving online. While this type of video conferencing has been a lifeline for many, it also can be quite draining. Communication has never been easier, but people are relying on Zoom for work, school, and extra-curricular activities instead of getting together in person. The on-screen relationships do not provide the positive social stimulation and energy that you obtain from being together in person.
This is especially true for teachers and students. Novice and experienced teachers know that students learn best while being directly involved in the learning process. Teachers cannot read body language as they would in a face-to-face setting, and this is a disadvantage to video conferencing. By not being able to look into students’ eyes or picking up on social cues, this allows disengagement, fatigue, and loss of participation. Students are also young people, and they need consistent interaction and involvement while paying attention to the length and duration of online learning assignments.
While there are obvious reasons why Zoom fatigue is real, there are also scientific reasons as well that explain why we feel exhausted. According to Lee (2020), audio has been proposed as the main reason that video meetings are tiring. The millisecond delays negatively affect our interpersonal perceptions. This is without any technical issues or delays. Zoom meetings are here to stay in some capacity. In speaking with various educators, some have Zoom meetings most of their day. It is vital to find ways to combat Zoom fatigue and make it more engaging.
Tips to Prevent Zoom Fatigue
One of the simplest ways to fight Zoom fatigue is to turn on the camera to be more present and engaged. While sometimes this is not an option, being on camera allows everyone to be more involved and on target. Fatigue sets in during long periods of time on video conferencing, and below are ideas to combat the mental exhaustion from Zoom meetings:
Create Breakout Rooms when Applicable
This is a great way to simulate the traditional breakout or small-group sessions that many are used to when meeting in person. Many classes or meeting are generalized, and people lose interest if they are not directly involved in the discussion. Breakout rooms or breaking things down into smaller discussions can be more engaging for the people involved in the meeting. Teachers can use this in a myriad of ways for small-group learning. An example of this would be to work with a group of students that are on the same reading level, or work with students in an upper-level middle-school classroom on their math skills.
Build in Interaction
This is an effective way to allow students and teachers to listen intently and provide meaningful discussion within a Zoom meeting. Just as teachers realize that students will learn more when they are directly involved in the learning process, the same rule applies to teachers. Meeting participants will learn more when they are directly involved in the discussion in a Zoom meeting. Preparing specific questions or allowing students to question others is an effective example of how this creates positive interaction in a class meeting.
Set a Theme for the Zoom Meeting
Sometimes class meetings have information for the whole group and there is no way to break things down for a smaller group. Implementing a theme such as a tropical destination or something that everyone enjoys would be a neat twist on the traditional meetings. This can be as simple as changing the background or everyone wearing a themed top and something on their faces such as sunglasses, hats, or similar. These types of interactions are especially enjoyable for students. Another great idea would be to allow the students to decide on what theme to implement.
Implement Surveys During the Meeting and Utilize Feedback
These can be provided within the Zoom meetings to get immediate feedback from students. They can be distributed to students, parents, and other teachers. It is important to utilize the feedback to make necessary improvements. Feedback and ideas from fellow teaching colleagues, students, and parents is an amazingly effective measure in continual improvement and engagement in online learning.
Utilize pre-recorded videos where applicable so students can view this on their own time. Students have different levels of engagement and attention spans. Pre-recorded videos allow students and parents to complete the assignments on their own time. Providing a variety of assignments is also important in that one format is not always the only way to demonstrate a lesson. This perception goes back to teaching to different learning styles. While teachers are more limited in what can be done, they can still provide a variety of options when completing online lessons. Videos, written work, and allowing students to decide the best option are all ways to fight the arduousness of online learning.
References Lee, Jena (2020.) A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue. Psychiatric Times.