How much anxiety do I waste on school supplies?

The school gave me one more ream of paper for the new quarter. How nice. That is less than three sheets of paper per student, for ten weeks. Tomorrow the reading coordinator meets with my team to see how we’re incorporating writing into our lessons. As much as possible, I will reply… with one fucking ream of paper.

Okay. Maybe worded more diplomatically. El novio gave me three more reams for my birthday, which is wonderful.

Someday I am going to teach in a school where I will not have to rely on birthday presents for the supplies that I need to do my job.

I am having a dilemma right now and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do about it. I apologize in advance for ranting.

With my budget at the beginning of the school year, I bought a bunch of dry-erase markers which I have kids use on “slates” (paper protectors with a blank sheet of paper in them.) We use these for a lot of practice with writing, spelling, vocabulary practice, and so on. (Oooh… also because we don’t have paper!) I shlep these markers around along with all my other supplies. I try my best to keep these separate from the markers in the classrooms, which the other teachers use for similar purposes. The kids have pretty much wreaked havoc on the markers… most of them are destroyed or used up. So, last week I bought a bunch more. I gave a few to each of the classroom teachers whose rooms I use, explaining that even though I was very careful about not getting our markers mixed together, I wanted to give them some extras just in case my efforts had failed.

Today one of the classroom teachers approached me and said that most of her dry-erase markers had disappeared during the two weeks that she had been gone. Understandable… substitutes seldom leave classes pristine. I mentioned that I had left her some new ones from the ones that I bought. She asked: wasn’t I going to get a whole package, though? It was awkward. I said I’d see what I could do.

I really want to have a good relationship with the classroom teachers, but this is stressing me out. I have to keep replacing my own supplies that get eaten up by my 240+ kids, mostly out of my own pocket. I don’t want to infringe upon the classrooms which I enter, but I also don’t want to buy expensive supplies for every classroom I go into.

I can feel this big ball of anxiety gathering in the back of my throat. I’m bending over backwards trying to make up for my failures and shortcomings. Maybe this applies to more than my job? I am trying to make good connections with teachers and parents. I’ve stayed late to volunteer for nearly every event this year. But it’s still not balancing out. Grading is piling up on my desks – at home and at school. All I hear from the administration is criticism. I’m supposed to drive an hour and a half for a workshop this Saturday, which means I will have no weekend at all. I want to do more than the requirements. I want to stay late to see the kids sing, help videotape programs, talk to parents. I want to buy supplies for my kids to do fun projects, and markers for the other teachers, and Christmas presents for my family… but I am still barely scraping by, and barely making a dent in my mounting debt.

Rant, rant, rant. I think I just need to shut everything off for even a few hours… and not think about money, or markers, or paper, or debt, or grades.

Thank you for listening.

I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. At least there was no poop penmanship (sorry, could not resist the alliteration) today.

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One Response to How much anxiety do I waste on school supplies?

  1. chelsea says:

    that’s so frustrating. i’m sorry. i can’t entirely relate…but i can relate to the bashing your head against a brick wall feeling that comes with trying and trying and getting not very far. do shut everything off. make some tea, and breathe, and remember that even underneath all of that, you still have your soul and your kitty and your family. and no matter what, you always have that.

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