Thursday, May 14, 2009

A World Without Teacher's Choice

Inspired by Accountable Talk's post on Teacher's Choice, I want to imagine for a second where my classroom--and my budget--would be without it. No one is going to buy me bulletin board supplies, or art supplies for my eighth graders (I'm not an art teacher), or little prizes for good behavior, or what have you. And I can't compromise on this stuff. I'm lucky to teach some really expressive, artistic kids, and they LOVE to do arts-and-crafts-y things. This is not my thing, not at all, but I have been converted to the idea that arts-and-crafts-y things can be used to demonstrate really deep understanding of and engagement with literature. So I let my kids do them because they like them, I can grade them, they make my room look nice, and everyone is happy.

ANYWAY. So I'm guessing all the posterboard, markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc. are all on me next year. Or on the kids themselves, which is probably the only alternative--I simply can't spend hundreds of dollars that won't be reimbursed. There's still the $250 tax write off, I guess, but still, I always spend more than the tax deduction and Teacher's Choice combined.

Maybe the only way to do it is to put the costs back on the families, sad though it is. Many kids at my school can afford it--though certainly not all, and I'm aware that I'll have to continue to underwrite those costs. If only they knew how much it costs teachers to have all the little extras in the classroom--a classroom library that is updated a few times during the school year, art supplies, fun activity books, games, DVDs, etc.--maybe they would join us in telling the city that yanking Teacher's Choice is a crock.