Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day Eleven: I'm Thankful for Dollar Stores


Before I really get started today, I just want to say that I'm extremely thankful for our veterans. Today is Veteran's Day, and I think it's only right to say a few words about how thankful I am for them.  In fact, I wouldn't have near as much to be thankful for if it wasn't for them.  I'm so thankful for their willingness to serve our country, protect our borders, and keep the freedoms alive that we all have.  And for all of them, I'm truly thankful.

Today I'm also very thankful for Dollar Stores.  Any dollar stores, really.  Especially the ones that have everything under one roof for one dollar.  Those are the best.  You might not find the highest quality items, but anything that saves me some money is something to be thankful for.

As a teacher, I spend a lot of money on supplies for my classroom. You'd be amazed at how much money I spend each year on little supplies here and there.  Back to School sales, clearance aisles, and dollar stores all become my best friends, so that I can stock up on stuff and not spend any more than I have to.  

Before I became a teacher I often complained about school supply lists I picked up each year that I had to buy for my kids to go to school.  I just couldn't understand why my children needed so much stuff in order to go to school.  I always made the assumption that I was buying extra supplies for other kids that didn't have as much, but what I've found out since teaching is that assumption is very wrong.  The supplies put on most supply lists are most definitely needed for each individual child, and if a child doesn't bring supplies, it's usually up to the teacher to supply them.

For example, it's only November and my class has gone through over ten boxes of pencils already.  We've also gone through about half of the paper supply that was bought at the beginning of the year.  We've been in school for a little over three months, and over half of our class supplies have disappeared.  There's still six months left of school, meaning what's left won't last near that long.  I only have about six packages of pencils brought in by the students at the beginning of the year, not including the packages I let them keep in their own supply boxes.  There's about ten packages of paper left.  I had to dip quite deeply in to the surplus of notebooks and folders that I bought at the beginning of the year, and less than half of them remain.  

And teachers do get a supply budget to purchase some supplies for the classroom, but if there's extra stuff that I need, I know that I will have to buy that stuff with my own money.  It's not the school's fault, the students' fault, or anyone else.  It just is what it is.  But, after I became a teacher, you no longer heard me complain about the supplies I had to buy for my children to go to school.  I knew by experience that they most certainly do go through all those supplies, and then some.  The teachers weren't or aren't expecting the students to buy supplies for the whole classroom, the kids absolutely use all of those supplies individually.  Pencils get lost or sharpened to small little nubs.  It's quite easy for each student to use several pages of paper in one day.  Glue sticks and highlighters get high usage.  I quickly understood that it wasn't the students picking up the tab for kids that didn't bring supplies, it was the teacher.  And I just have to say that I'm very thankful that I work for a school district that gladly helps out kids who can't afford supplies.  Not only does it help the students out, but it really helps the teachers out too.

Last night, I made a trip to a local Discount Dollar store and walked out with three bags full of supplies for some new activities I'm building in my classroom.  Three bags of stuff like playing cards, index cards, index card holders, flash cards, large baskets to keep all the supplies in,  and other various supplies I needed for the new math stations I'm building for intervention time.   What would probably have cost me over $50 at a big box store cost me less than $30 at Discount Dollar.  

I almost always find extra stuff that I didn't really think I needed when I go in to those stores, too.  And I'm so thankful that the Discount Dollar where I shop has a large aisle full of school supplies and teacher goodies, too.  It helps make my life easier, and saves me a small fortune.

So, today, I'm thankful for the little stores that are in business to help save people a few bucks.  No, you're not going to find the top quality or name brand items at these stores, but I know I'll find stuff I can use and help me out a bunch in my classroom.  I can walk in to those stores and spend a few dollars buying the stuff I need, pick up a few items I don't need but just want, and still walk out spending less than I would if I shopped at a big retail store.  

Having a few extra dollars in my pocket is always a good thing, and Discount Dollar stores help me put a few of those dollars away.  And for that, I'm truly thankful.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone, and be sure to thank a Veteran for their dedication and service to our country.

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