Now that July has begun, so begins the teacher prep and funds appropriation for the upcoming school year. Each academic year, Early Childhood Educators specifically are tasked with the job of transforming their classroom and Early Childhood building (which houses Preschool, Kindergarten classes, etc) from bare walls, book bag hooks and hallways, empty tables, chairs, and windows into a themed fantasy world where children experience for the first time an inviting and enchanting space to love learning and build new knowledge.
This is no small feat. It must be re-imagined and re-designed every 2 to 3 years from scratch and is far from cheap! Unfortunately, July is also the time when educators who are also parents are spending on school uniforms, book bags, shoes, and classroom supplies for their own children. These costs may also include registration fees, lunch fees, school tuition, before/aftercare fees, and more.
It’s no secret that a teacher’s salary is, for the many, many jobs we actually do, disrespectful. However, July, August, and September are without a doubt some of the most financially trying on an educator/parent’s bank account. It is also one of the few jobs, depending on the parish and the school, where one is practically expected to perform miraculous feats with little to no resources aside from their own resourcefulness, wits, and all on their very own dime.
In my parish, there is a small reimbursement stipend allocated to teachers twice a year. First, from August to December and then from January to April, if all of your receipts are accounted for and the proper forms are correctly filled out, your school accountant will give you back up to $100 in each of the reimbursement periods.
Yayyy! Except by the end of August alone the educator/parent has already spent around $250 on new uniforms and new shoes, $40 on new backpacks and lunch kits, $150 on their child’s school supply list and easily another $250 on that magical-themed building and classroom we discussed earlier, This doesn’t even factor in life’s little surprises like the car breaking down, or the cavity that needs filling, and of course the emergency room visit you hadn’t planned on. You don’t have to be a brilliant mathematician to notice that something here just isn’t adding up!
We drop change in a cup for the most minimal of daily services, don’t we?! I’m sorry, I don’t know about ya’ll but I believe a tip jar at quarterly teacher/parent conferences is not at all out of line, but actually apropos for all the daily services your child’s teacher provides in one. I am about to begin my 12th academic year as an educator and will receive a raise for the first time in a decade that failed to pass once before in the voting process. This is the value of the profession that creates all others. I mean…come on?! Help a teacher and fellow struggling parent out! Put some respect on my job title, its many hats, and most of all my funds!
After all, it takes a village, we’re all in this together and happy teachers are beneficial to all!