The line in the learning store

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I went to The Learning Store to buy school supplies. I needed borders for my bulletin boards and a few other start-up items. The Learning Store stocks many designs, colors and styles of borders, some shiny, some not. I’ve taught long enough to know what I need to look for: Borders that set off my boards without tempting students to add details to their art. Designs in black are a great choice.


That line snaked all the way to the door. Maybe a few of those teachers were going to be reimbursed, but I’m sure the majority were pulling out their wallets and spending their own money on manipulatives, popsicle sticks, posters, art supplies, and borders. I’m lucky because I have most of what I need; I am giving away posters rather than buying them. We teachers buy what we can at Walmart and other less expensive sites, but The Learning Store helps at the start of the year.

That $250 deduction that teachers get on their taxes? A number of people undoubtedly spent the whole thing in The Learning Store that day. Most of the line looks very young. I’m sure some people in line have student loans they are paying off in addition to the hit their paycheck is taking for new classroom decorations, games, and activity packets. The new teacher I talked to in the staff lounge this week spent $20,000 on her education classes — and those are only the classes she needed specifically for teaching, extra classes added to her actual major and other regular, required college classes. My young colleagues bring lunch from home usually, since the expense of nearby fast food falls outside of their budget.

Eduhonesty: I listen to people bash teachers and I am angry. They should take a morning to go talk to some of the teachers in that teacher’s store line. They should watch the care that goes into setting up these classrooms. Teachers commonly spend a great deal of their own money to create the classrooms they want. They also buy breakfast, clothing, snacks and supplies for students, especially in poor districts.