Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Teachers can't resist bargains

So, most New York City public school teachers worth their sharpened pencils can tell you that August 1 is the date on which teachers may start purchasing supplies with their "teachers' choice" money. You spend every last penny of your $260, save all your receipts, and as long as they're dated after August 1, voila, you get your $260 check in, like, March.

Last year I didn't do such a great job of saving my receipts, and then in March I was scrambling to spend all the money I had left over. Which meant I got to buy a lot of neat stuff I wouldn't have otherwise bought, but I didn't get reimbursed for all the supplies I purchased earlier in the year. So this year I'm determined to itemize all my receipts -- starting on August 1. So I have purposefully been staying far, far away from teaching supplies of any kind until August 1. I went to Target and they had adorable and, more importantly, cheap supplies -- packs of 32 bookmarks that say "Reading...What a Bright Idea!" and "Color Your World With Books," packs of 24 certificates that say "I'm a Super Star Student!", and pink and blue hall passes -- and all of these things cost one dollar each. ONE DOLLAR! could I pass this up? Yes, I could have waited the two days until August 1 and then made a return trip to Target, but I went for broke and bought a whole bunch of stuff. I'm so excited to have fewer students this year -- less than 50 as opposed to 420! -- that I perked up at the thought that I could actually give away stuff without going broke on dinky "prizes" like I did last year.

I don't know if this is true of all teachers, but -- I. love. shopping. for school supplies. I always have, since the days when I was in elementary school and managed to convince my mother every year that I needed a newer, sharper, more colorful box of Crayola crayons. Being in the "Back to School" aisle at Target was like being let loose in a candy store after a long sugar drought: notebooks! folders! pencils! I had to remind myself very sternly that not only do I already have plenty of these types of supplies, but the woman whose desk I'm taking is a total pack rat who left me thirty years' worth of extra supplies. So I can't really begrudge myself the packs of bookmarks, can I? Shouldn't a reading teacher be giving away "Reading...What a Bright Idea!" bookmarks?

Now, if I could only find a planning book I like (unsurprisingly the Dollar Spot Target versions were unsatisfactory), I would be all set...I'm sure you can already guess exactly what I plan to do on August 1.


Anonymous said...

I always keep in safe all the school supplies shopping receipts.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Hate to burst your bubble, but we're only getting $150 this year. Yes, I know- it sucks.

Jackie Secor said...

Well I'm very jealous of any money -- in Baltimore we get zip, nada, nothing, zero etc. But, I have to agree that I LOVE back to school shopping. And Target, ahhh Target, my one and only true love. So far I've bought 100 glue sticks and about one million folders, and a whole lot more. Very exciting.

Nacho Lover said...

i'm pretty sure that all teachers agree with you about the irresistable school supplies! :)
to itemize and store, i put all my receipts into a regular envelope near my desk at home. remember, you can use the receipts that don't make it for teachers' choice for your taxes!

Julie said...

Teacher's choice money was cut, but have you tried Adopt a Classroom? I used it last year to buy lots of supplies for my classroom - it's great!