You may not be a fan of spending money on school supplies for your child every year. But imagine doing it for 19 students.
Yasmin Gonzalez, a first grade teacher in Lakewood, is grateful for the monies given each year by the district to purchase materials for the classroom and bulletin board.
But she already had to use her own money this summer to buy crayons and colored pencils before the 9th September launch date. And now she has an active Amazon wish list so friends and family can help her afford prizes that reward her students for good behavior.
“They love Pop Its, they like fidgeters, and they like to work towards something,” Gonzalez told New Jersey 101.5. “When you have a vision, you sometimes have to dig into your own pocket to bring it to life.”
Also on the wish list are dry-erase markers and a whiteboard cleaner.
Gonzalez isn’t the only teacher to have made her needs public through online platforms – it happens regularly every year before Labor Day weekend in New Jersey.
There are several active New Jersey listings on the Donors Choose website, created by teachers looking for anything from multiple copies of the same book to specific student seating.
“It is often said that teachers are the only professionals who steal office supplies from home to take to work,” said Steve Baker, communications director for the New Jersey Education Association. “Of course we advocate that the districts provide more of these supplies.”
According to the union, public school educators spend an average of hundreds of their own dollars on materials annually.
In many districts, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association, teachers request certain items from the school administration for a set amount that they can “spend” and then the materials are made available to the teacher.
It is common, the association said, for teachers to spend some of their own money on materials. Teachers can claim the deduction of teacher expenses, which is available on federal income tax returns, the association said.
Contact the reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]