Today it has been a month since we started school. So far, I’ve felt more or less like a hot mess that can’t quite get everything organized. Pretty much this means my year is starting as expected.
The second week of school – our classes alternate between A and B weeks because of vocational training on the opposite weeks from the traditional academic week – I gained a new class. Surprise! You’ve been selected to teach an SEI ELA 10 class to WIDA level 1 and level 2 students without any warning whatsoever! So even though we chose to not give you SEI classes for two years (thus allowing you to infer that you were doing a shitty job with those students) we’re going to give one of them back to you because someone else whined about having too many preps. That’s the essential sum up of the insanity.
What I wanted to write about was this, however. School supplies and students, especially in light of natural disasters. At the beginning of the year (Either August 28th or September 5th, for those playing along with the home edition), all students were told they needed the following supplies:
- a binder and paper for it
- a composition notebook (or just a small notebook – even just a one subject, as long as it was separate)
- a pen (preferably two in two different colors, but just one would do)
- a pencil
- a highlighter
At the beginning of the year, this would have cost a student approximately $3. Very few of my students picked up the requested supplies. Now, post hurricanes in a city with many students with Puerto Rican roots, requesting supplies feels like a crap request. Family that may be dead versus school supplies. I get it. I’m not a completely cold-hearted woman. Priorities shift. However, if my students had followed instructions at the beginning of the school year, these priorities would not need to have shifted because they would have their supplies.
So how do I balance the fact that students failed at the requests, but now those requests seem trivial versus if they don’t get these things, I’m going to wind up paying out the nose for them. It’s frustrating and feels petty, but isn’t. I don’t have the money to buy 100 binders, 100 composition notebooks, 200 pens, 100 pencils and 100 highlighters. Nor should I have to do so. But how else are these kids going to get the necessary supplies?
Next summer, I’m going to pick up the supplies, plus gallon plastic bags. I’m going to have students buy them off of me for $4, and use the extra money to fund the supplies for students who can’t buy them. But that’s next year, and right now, students keep losing their stuff because they didn’t buy what they were supposed to.