I've been on both sides. When my children were little I remember looking at that long list of school supplies and thinking, "What on earth are they going to do with all these items? This is going to cost me a fortune!"

Then when I started teaching I saw things from a different perspective. Here are heartfelt words from teacher friends who will be pouring their lives into East Texas students this year.

School Supplies Aren't For the Teacher

I remember once my daughter came home later in the school year and said she was out of supplies. I asked her what happened to the mountain of things we sent at the beginning of the year, and she had no idea. I was irritated because I wondered if the items I paid for had gone into a school supply closet used by everyone or replenished teacher stores. That's not the case.

One common misconception is that whiteboard markers are only used by teachers. Here's a teacher response.

"The Expo markers on the school supply list are not 'teacher supplies.' Each student has their own expo markers that are used for daily practice in handwriting, phonics, math, etc. We use them ALL the time. I once overheard some shoppers at Wal-Mart aggravated at the endless list of necessary supplies say, 'Oh no, we don't need to buy Expo markers, those are for the teacher and she can get her own!' If only they knew how many I personally buy every year for the kids."    -B Pagitt (Kindergarten teacher)

"I wish parents realized that school supplies are for their child's education," another teacher echoed. "It's an investment. The supplies are not for the teacher."

"Stations keep a child engaged daily...supplies that I request (colored pencils, expo markers, spirals) are needed to aid the success of each station."   -R Diaz

Teachers Spend Their Money on Classroom Supplies

Teachers know some parents can't afford everything on the list. Rather than students going without, they dig into their own pockets.

"I always wished parents knew we asked for the things on the list because the kids need them. If they didn't buy them, I would have to."    -A Grimes (2nd Grade Teacher)

Parents Can Save by Teaching Students to Conserve

One way to avoid the frustration of having to replace supplies halfway through the year is to teach students to be responsible consumers.

"I wish parents knew that I spend so much money on glue sticks and dry erase markers because kids do not put the lids on right every time. It only takes one time for the lid to be off all night before the whole thing is ruined." - Sara H

Teachers are Deeply Grateful for What You Send

One kindergarten teacher said she wished parents knew they understand some parents can't afford everything on the list. "I also wish parents knew how grateful I am when they send extra supplies," she said.

"The kids are so proud, so excited when they bring their supplies the first day," another teacher commented. "We unpack it all, and with each child, I realize someone at home took the time to make sure they had what they needed for the year ahead. They want their child to be successful, and school supplies are one of the ways they express their love."

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