Supply Lists

posted in: Blog | 3

The supply list asks for 6 packages of sharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencils with erasers (shared) Yes, Ticonderoga is in bold print to emphasize the brand name.

Pencil tips

Supply lists send me into a panic since our financial situation shifted. Back to school season has my stomach in knots.

About I week ago I dug out the lists and started taking inventory. Always on the lookout for a sale,I picked up a few things here and there over the course of the summer. I mean, who can say no to 25 cent notebooks?

I remember a similar supply list when Lucie was in this grade a few years ago — the rest of the list isn’t too terrible with the exception of the 3 boxes of crayons and 5 packs of glue sticks. I recognize where the teachers are coming from. They want to make sure the classroom is stocked, especially since they like to have their students share supplies. Plus, crayons are dirt cheap right now so it is better to buy a few boxes now, then to have to replenish the supply boxes over winter break.

Still, I just can’t wrap my head around the 6 boxes of Ticonderoga pencils. I had no intention of making this purchase when I headed out to the office supply store, but I seek out the Ticonderoga brand to figure out the cost difference.

After visiting a few stores, I found out you can buy a package of Ticonderoga pencils for about five or six dollars a package depending on how many pencils are in a pack and if they are pre-sharpened or not. At the store, I was not able to find a smaller pack, which online would run me roughly three dollars a pack. With eight children to buy supplies for, my budget is about 25 dollars each — which is probably about 100 dollars more than I can really afford.

6 X $5 = $30 extra dollars I just don’t have.

There I am standing in the middle of the office superstore loading the 68 cent packs of store brand pencils in my cart feeling strangely inadequate.

My eyes scan the aisle.

I see my daughters looking wistfully at the adorable 10 dollar pencil cases, but they would never dare ask for one. All I see are their smiles as I select the simple one dollar boxes to hold their supplies. They thank me for the plain marble notebooks I picked out when I know they really wish they could have ones with Taylor Swift’s face emblazoned on the front.

I question why I am getting teary eyed. This is ridiculous. A pencil is a pencil, but it isn’t the brand name that is getting me upset. This list is just another reminder that I cannot indulge every whim and want that is directed towards me. I shop the clearance rack and my kids are just as grateful as if I spent hundreds of dollars. They don’t care if they are writing with a Ticonderoga or a “dollar store special.”

Will the teachers judge my decision?  Surely I am not the only one sending in store brand items on the first day of school.

I bought the three boxes of crayons, but settled on a single pack of 8 glue sticks from the dollar store — I figure that equals at least 4 packs, right?

I have nothing against Ticonderoga, but 68 cent pencils will have to do this year.






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3 Responses

  1. Jack

    When did school supply lists become a checklist of MUST haves, instead of a general suggestion for useful items that will be needed over the course of the year?

    The most important thing a teacher can pass on to his/her student is not the material studied, but rather the method and process of studying. When the student finds something that works for him, he should absolutely be allowed to continue that method across the following years.

    So often the supply list seems like an idealized organization system based on the latest published article, without the practice and follow through required to make it worthwhile. When my son was struggling with a specific teacher’s “post-it method” for note taking, and instead just wanted to write everything in a notebook – because it worked for him, and he felt like he could go back and refer to it easier. (He also reasoned he would not lose the notes that were constantly falling out of his book.) He was told simply that was, “not how WE are doing this;” and had to spend his recess copying the notes onto post-its and finding the pages where he needed to stick them.

    Each kid is different, one might lose his pencil everyday, another might keep the same one for weeks. The teacher asking for 6 boxes is obviously looking to have them “shared” among the class – but instead is just teaching the irresponsible ones that it is ok to be careless, because someone will always provide another.

    • Just a teacher

      Jack I challenge you to volunteer at your child’s school and help OTHER kids. See what it’s like INSIDE a classroom these days. You sound like you have no idea what most teachers do everyday.
      By the way, how many times did you misplace your keys or something else this year? Or even better how many mistakes have you made this week? Teachers care for each of their students. They spend more time with your kids then most parents do these days. And if you think they are with you more… Remember don’t count the times their phone is in their hand or the times they are at a sporting event and you are watching or the time you are driving them somewhere or the times they are sleeping. That’s not the time I’m talking about. The times you are teaching and loving and sharing you with them. Think about your teachers Jack did any make you who you are even if you hated them?

  2. Just a teacher

    As a teacher for over ten years I have found school supplies turned in and given by school systems themselves has diminished due to budget cuts. I also find kids have less and bring on less overall. I do not even attempt to tell you how many pencils, pens, and loose leaf items I give out a year. I am lucky to get reimburse for science supplies at my current school. In previous school I would have to buy common household supplies fof labs such as cups or salt or sugar. Many teachers do but way better vet their tax break they could claim every year without ever batting an eye. My wish list this year included four main wants and they are all things I personally can’t afford to buy and cannot get enough of through out the years. First is typing paper I can get basic white copies but my classroom printing and any colored paper is not easy to obtain. Next is dry erase markers I have my students use on white boards I have bought or laminated sheets. The third is protective paper sheets so they can write on worksheets and they don’t walk off with or write on with them in an attempt to save paper. Since everything is required to be digital they could print out a copy of anything or use there devices. So far I have lost at least three paper prit cries and two students wrote on the original copies anyway (first week.) The last request was not tissues and hand sanitizer, because I have accumulated a tom if those… Is Clorox wipes. These are for kids clean ups that require more that a paper towel. You can get some a dollar store for a dollar. This year I also asked for old tennis balls for the lab stools and guess how many I have after a week zero. I’m one week into school with about 150 or more students I got two reams of paper, two protective sheets two Clorox wipes, one dry erase marker package and one box of tissues. I gave away at least three pens/pencils from my “I found on the floor collection.” I felt I’ve done ok so far. By the way I usually lose at least one textbook and a few graphic calculators every year. Since I’m not a title one school these things are being replaced by me or my school system and no one things or is aware. My school is in a upper middle class area where most parent could afford to help. I spent most of my career in area parents could not afford and keep my list down to things you could get at dollar stores and such and I give out my pencils and pens every week… One last thought my class sizes increase, my benefits get cut, and my salary comparably has not change in the last decade. Ps I bought a friend with multiple children a hundred dollar graphing calculator because I know how much they cost. Welcome to teaching and education system in the USA

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