By Jenny Bardsley
Before I became a mom I was a teacher in California for six years. Two of those years were spent in a district known for poverty, corruption, and class action lawsuits. All of my students qualified for free and reduced lunch, and many of them had just moved to America from Mexico.
One of my many frustrations teaching in that district was the extreme lack of school supplies. I did not even have a complete set of math textbooks, let alone ready access to things like paper and pencils. All of these essentials were purchased out of my meager first year teaching salary.
Around January of that same first year, I discovered that our school did have a storage room loaded with supplies, but that the school secretary only doled out construction paper and markers to her “favorites”. This was an accepted practice at our school site, sanctioned by the principal.
You can chalk this up to reason #143 why I am thankful to not be sending my own children to California public schools!
Now of course, I am a former teacher who has lived through deprivation, and I have the psychological scars to prove it. When I saw the fully stocked school supply room at my son’s school, and learned that teachers could take whatever they wanted, I felt my adrenaline surge. It was all I could do to not start grabbing wide-ruled notebook paper and running to the primary wing so that the first grade teachers would be prepared for Armageddon.
For my own part at home, I have been spending every last weekend hitting the school supply sales at Staples, Fred Meyer, and Target. If they are having a penny sale or are offering rebates, I am there! I now have all of the items on my son’s supply list, plus my own private stockpile in the garage.
The next school supply drive for needy children I see will be benefiting from my insanity.