Pencils, crayons and tissues: teachers weigh in on the method behind school supply lists
Educators spend their own money to make sure they have extra pencils, Duotangs on hand
With the start of the academic year just around the corner, parents of young children and teenagers are tasked with finding everything on their school's supply list for the term.
While some parents have raised concerns over the costs or the difficulty of finding specific supplies, two Montreal teachers said there is reasoning behind each list, but that it is OK (and common) if students don't have every item.
"We don't expect it the first day," said Amelia Crerar, a Grade 6 teacher at St-Edmund Elementary School in Beaconsfield. "The kids will not be in trouble if they don't show up with these school supplies."
They say many teachers even buy much of the list themselves to have extras for kids whose parents don't have the means for everything on it.
Both Crerar and Jennifer Bento, who teaches Grade 3 and 4 at LaSalle Senior Elementary, say there is a method behind their lists, even if they can sometimes be quite specific.
Bento's supply list for each student includes 48 pencils, 10 Duotangs, a lunchbox — just to name a few items. The idea is that there is enough for each child to get through the year, and have extra supplies on hand if they misplace or break something.
"What we do is we put everything in an extra large Ziploc bag with the student's name across the front and whatever is left over at the end of the year, they bring home," said Bento.
Each supply list also has to be approved by the school board's governing board before teachers can send them out to parents.
Kicking in some extra cash
Both teachers estimate that their school supply list costs up to $60 per student, but that expenses vary based on where parents shop.
"They can go to the dollar store, they can go to somewhere more expensive," said Crerar.
What Crerar and Bento both do is use their own money to buy extra supplies — whether it's pencils, notebooks or Kleenex boxes for cold season — for families on a budget.
"Anything that a student is missing, we will provide," said Bento, adding that they never take items from other students to give it to others.
For her Grade 6 classroom, Crerar buys every single item on her school supply list for those children who can't afford it. She also keeps extra pencils stashed away for all students, since they go through quickly enough.
"They go through them, they lose them, they are on the floor, they end up writing with little tiny stubs," she said.
With files from CBC's Daybreak