I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook about school supply purchases my friends have or are about to make for their children entering elementary school, and I’ve gotta say, these lists are insane, you guys: 10 packages of dry erase markers, 17 boxes of crayons, top-of-the-line running shoes, four pounds of sticky notes, a yoga mat (I exaggerate, but only a little).
What the hell does one 5 year-old need all this shit for?
As a high school teacher, these lists got me thinking about the ones I provide my students. I usually require them to have pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, and whatever book they’ve been assigned with them every day. I recommend they bring a free reading book to class in case they finish work early, some sticky notes for easy novel annotation, and a flash drive for saving computer work, but I don’t require it.
I’m lucky if everybody has something to write with each day.
That’s why I was shocked at some of these elementary lists. Do the teachers ACTUALLY get any of this stuff from all the students? I wondered. Are elementary parents better about making sure their children have what they need than high school parents? I asked. How can it be that elementary principals allow this shit when I can’t even ask for tissue? I snarled. Forget tacky tape! If only I could get my students to stop depleting my personal lined paper and number 2 pencil stash, I’d be happy! I lamented.
And then I started musing about all the things I WISH I could require — things I have to pay for myself as well as things that would make my life a hell of a lot easier. But I didn’t stop there. I sought my colleagues’ and friends’ input, too.
Here’s what we came up with — a teacher’s fantasy school supply list:
- endless supply of lined paper
- endless supply of pencils and pens and highlighters
- personal laptop or tablet (for each student)
- dry erase markers (black only)
- dry erasers (unused)
- scotch tape
- copy paper
- Kleenex (and lots of it)
- hand sanitizer (and lots of it)
- Lysol wipes (and lots of ’em)
- magazines for collage projects
- cats, cow eyes, pig hearts, urine sugar test strips, lasagna trays for dissection (for a science classroom, not a murder shack)
- longer conference and lunch periods
- positive attitude
- non-crazy parents
- politicians who have actually spent a year in the classroom AS INSTRUCTORS
- evaluation procedures not based on standardized test scores
- brand new textbooks with interactive online components (not the same books from when we were in high school)
- generous field trip and hands-on experience expense fund
- gift cards for “teacher clothes”
- dark chocolates
- new lunch bag
- Crystal Light Energy
- chocolate covered coffee beans from Trader Joe’s
- instant oatmeal
- protein bars
- Willy Wonka pills so we can eat a Thanksgiving-sized meal on our 26 min. lunch break
- airplane-sized bottles of booze
- family’s best secret recipe (students rotate who makes and brings the teacher lunch) — NOTE: must be THE BEST recipe
- personal barista
- homework grading machine
- human cloning machine (so we can make two OR MORE of us)
- ban on pointless in-services
- margarita bar
- personal trainer
- masseuse or masseur (for after the personal trainer)
And that’s just the list through December.
What would you add to your fantasy school supply list?