During her first year teaching, Chloe Cole taught 2nd grade at Wilshire Park Elementary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was surprised by how much teachers have to spend to bring basic school supplies to the classroom. To help supplement the lack of supplies, she started fundraising on AdoptAClassroom.org and raised over $900.
“I buy a lot of supplies for my classroom, especially as a first-year teacher,” said Chloe. “Coming into the room, I had no idea that it really was pretty empty and you have to supply almost everything on your own.”
There’s a common misconception that teachers are given “buckets of supplies” at the start of each school year, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. During the year, Chloe had to spend hundreds of dollars on classroom materials, and she’s not alone. A recent survey by AdoptAClassroom.org found that 99 percent of U.S. teachers have to purchase school supplies from their own pocket, each spending an average of $600 a year in the process.
As a new teacher, Chloe knew she was going to have to spend some of her own money to stock her classroom with supplies, but she didn’t realize just how expensive some materials would be. Using the funds she’s raised through AdoptAClassroom.org, Chloe has purchased technology and reading materials, which are costly items to buy for a classroom. Technology is an important learning tool in Chloe’s classroom, especially for her reading instruction, which is why she works hard to crowdfund for these expensive materials.
“More resources means more learning opportunities for my students,” said Chloe. “It means more access to 21st century skills and getting experience with technology at a young age, which I know is going to be important later on.”
To assist her students in developing the literacy skills they need to be successful in their learning, Chloe purchased a subscription to the online program Raz-Kids. Using Raz-Kids, her 2nd graders have access to a variety of online books, quizzes, and skill reports both in the classroom and at home.
“AdoptAClassroom.org has impacted my classroom, because my students might not have the opportunity at home to go online and read a book, take a quiz on what they read, or even use technology,” said Chloe. “As a teacher, it’s really cool seeing them go online at home and then come in saying ‘wow, I read 10 books this weekend,’ when I know that without this resource, they wouldn’t have read at all over the weekend.”
Chloe uses AdoptAClassroom.org because not all of her students are able to supply their own classroom materials, and she believes it’s the teacher’s responsibility to step in and help. By crowdfunding for her classroom, Chloe is empowered to put the tools for success in the hands of more students than if she had to solely rely on spending money from her paycheck on supplies.
“I would hate for one of my students to not be able to do a project or complete an assignment just because they don’t have supplies coming from home,” said Chloe. “I think it’s up to the teacher to make sure their classroom is a place where all students have the supplies they need so everyone has equal learning opportunities.”
It’s every teacher’s responsibility to recognize when their students are in need of supplies, but they shouldn’t have to be the ones to bear the financial burden of supplying these materials. Unfortunately, this is the reality that many educators are facing, which is why teachers like Chloe crowdfund for their classroom needs. Walking into an empty classroom may have been shocking as a first-year teacher, but Chloe knows she made the right career choice.
“I love working with kids and I think it’s an amazing job where you can make a huge impact on somebody’s life,” said Chloe. “Getting through my first year as a teacher has been an amazing experience, especially to see how far I’ve come since the beginning of the year.”
Want to help new teachers start the year off right? Support our New Teacher Fund to support classrooms across the nation.