According to a 2002 report, elementary and middle school teachers spend over $1 billion a year of their own money for classroom supplies. The amount is a little surprising but the fact that many teachers at all levels pay for books and materials out of their own pocket is an old story. Florida teachers are not alone, but this year things are a little different there and in other states. Instead of just buying nice-to-have things like extra books and room decorations, many teachers are having to buy essential supplies like paper and pencils.

Often people can’t understand why a teacher would spend money on their job when they aren’t likely to get any monitary return like a raise or a bonus (or they think we’re nuts). Teachers have lots of reasons for making the purchases but for many of us it all comes down to making the job easier, better or more rewarding. Maybe it would make more sense to people outside the profession if I told them I was spending on myself and not the kids.