Viral Post Reminds Parents that Cost of School Supplies Doesn’t Compare to Teachers’ Sacrifice

Photo: Brittany Jackson

It’s officially the time of year when summer activities dwindle and school supply lists begin making their rounds. Parents and teachers alike, usually hesitantly, pick through the school supplies at the store and begin mentally preparing for the school year ahead. For both, it seems as if the list grows longer each year. It isn’t rare to overhear complaints this time of year. “Why are they starting school so early? So late? Why are mesh backpacks required? Who needs this many paper towels? When will this list ever end?”

I get it. I do. I used to have similar thoughts. Then, I became a teacher and a middle school student emptied a bottle of GermX into a desk drawer after a friend dared him to. In an attempt to hide it from me, he used a half roll of paper towels to clean it up. This happened while I ran to the classroom next door to borrow an Expo marker because my last one bit the dust. Then, it all made sense. It may seem like a lot of supplies at one time. It can be tempting to ask, “Who will use all of this?” I can tell you who used it. One hundred fifty middle school students who circulated through my classroom during the seven hours of the one hundred eighty days of the school year. 

Consider a year’s worth of toiletries piled onto one list. It would be massive; and I can guarantee that the long list you’re crossing items off of will last approximately half a school year, in which your students will begin to use toilet paper for Kleenex AND paper towels until the teacher has no choice but to make a trip to Dollar General on her way home. 

In a viral post on Facebook, Brittany Jackson shared her experience on back-to-school shopping, which resonated with hundreds of thousands of people:

“Today I went school supply shopping for my daughters, one in Kindergarten, one in 2nd grade. I managed to get nearly everything in one place, minus some fancy Kindergarten composition books that I’ll no doubt find at a different store. 

Today, I spent $150 on the supplies. 

My frugal mind kind of balked as the cart began filling up. It seemed like so much. 

But then, as I’m grabbing the 6th pack of glue sticks, that still, small voice crept in. 

“Your child’s teacher will spend way more than this, of their own money, on their students, in just one quarter of the year. 

When your child is struggling, their teacher is going to go home with your child’s face in their mind, wondering how they can help your child succeed tomorrow. 

When your child is a total snot, interrupts class, speaks out of turn, asks to go to the bathroom for the 87th time, and says “I’m bored”…. their teacher is going to go home, maybe drink a glass of wine, get up the next morning, and teach your child as if the day before never happened. Your child’s teacher doesn’t just have 2 children…. they have 15…or more. And they love them. Protect them. Guide them. Pray for them. Your child’s teacher is a blessing. Their school is a blessing. This… this cost, is nothing.

Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to go school supply shopping.”

It’s true. No matter how much teachers try to ration supplies, they will go all too quickly. No matter how great of a child, they will be “a snot” at least once this school year; they will, without a doubt, interrupt or complain at some point.

The child’s teacher won’t throw her hands up and give up. Just the same, we shouldn’t decide that buying school supplies is “too much” for us. Going forward this school year, let’s keep the same mentality that Brittany Jackson has proposed in her viral post: Instead of thinking that what’s asked of us is “too much”, let’s remember that we aren’t the only ones “giving”, and the cost of school supplies is small in comparison to the guidance our children will receive this school year.

Liked this article? Make sure to check out this hilarious mom shopping for school supplies:

Hilarious Mom Rips On Parents Complaining About School Supplies

Viral Post Reminds Parents that Cost of School Supplies Doesn't Compare to Teachers' Sacrifice

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Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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