Archives for : Opinons

Back to School

This is how I had always envisioned High School.

It never lived up to those expectations.

Today is the Boy’s first day of school. He’s starting his first year at a charter school that starts almost 2 weeks before other public schools. It’s a new school with a new program. They have actually integrated the charter school with the public middle school, allowing students to have the curriculum and smaller classes with the amenities of a large public middle school.

There's a 6th grader in there somewhere.

There’s a 6th grader in there somewhere.

It’s a lovely day and the sun was shining so much that I managed to take a terrible picture of him where all you can see is lens flare.


This years school supply list seemed a mile long. Reams of copy paper, folders, binders, pens, pencils, boxes of tissue and more. It can all seem a little excessive and I can understand many parents that question why they need so much. I hope I can shed a little insight here, as the daughter of a elementary school teacher.

Did you know that most schools do not provide any supplies for teachers? Teaching is one of the most underpaid professions today and almost none of their supplies are provided by the school. From that red pen she uses to grade little Johnny’s science test to the copy paper it was printed on, it all comes out of her pocket. Classroom books, decoration, toys, activity materials and more have to be bought with out a stipend. Even craft materials for that awful xmas ornament you will cherish for a lifetime. Any other profession would give reimbursement for needed supplies.

I’m actually happy that supplies lists now include items for teacher or “community” use. Since many parents can’t afford to buy everything on that list, and some not any, I am happy to fill in the gaps. When my mother taught in a public school she often had to supply pencils and notebooks for children who didn’t have any. Every year, there was always at least one student who showed up with nothing. Whether it was due to poverty or having parents who just didn’t care doesn’t matter. That child deserves to have the necessary materials to have a good day at school. As I mentioned above, the school provides no budget for this, it is all up to the teacher to sort it out.

If you have the time, or the money to supply extra materials for your child’s classroom, please do. It may be cheesy to talk about “the village” but it really is true. Every kid, regardless of the circumstances of their birth deserves the best education available. Likewise, every teacher deserves the support of active parents. Not every parent can be there but if you can, you should. Try to think of your child’s classmates as an extension of your own family.

As for Noodle, she has a few more weeks of freedom before she heads off on a grand adventure. Not as an American 8th grader but as an English Shell year student. She’s going to boarding school. It’s going to be a difficult transition for all of us but an amazing opportunity for her. I’m so proud of my Noodle for taking this on and I know she’ll make all of us proud.