The True Cost of Being a Teacher (Teacher Appreciation Day)

The True Cost of Being a Teacher (Teacher Appreciation Day)

May 29, 2023

According to a study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, 99.5% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies.[1] Being a teacher is a fulfilling job but one that comes with a lot of personal sacrifices, including both time and money.[2] While most professions involve some personal costs to succeed, teachers face costs that other employees may not face.[3] Below you will see some of the things teachers are paying their own personal funds for.

Classroom Supplies

If you have children in school, you have likely seen their supply lists sent home along with wish lists for the classroom, such as tissue and cleaning wipes. What you may not know is that anything on the wish list the teacher doesn't receive will need to be purchased at their own expense if they want it in the classroom. Additionally, teachers will purchase whatever supplies are needed for themselves and special projects.[4]


When you walk into most classrooms, you will see decorations and learning tools adorning the walls. These items are there to create an ideal learning environment and inspire the students during the day. But decorations are not typically covered under budget money from the school. Most teachers will pay for these out of pocket, especially for seasonal and holiday decor.[5]


School systems have strict budgets, which leaves many teachers with a limited amount of copies that they may use each year. Some teachers may feel that students will learn better by having the materials to take home with them or that worksheets are a more effective teaching tool. Unfortunately, they may not have enough in the budget to produce the materials, and once they have exceeded their yearly budget for copies, they must pay for them on their own.[6]

Additional Education and Certification

Teachers will have to pay for their original degree before becoming teachers, and many will have to continue their education by gaining new certifications. In many instances, this will be at their own expense. Even though some teachers may receive grant money for this continuing education, it is often not enough to cover the entire cost.[7]

Being a teacher comes with a lot of additional costs, both timewise and financial. Let's celebrate their sacrifice on Teacher Appreciation Day by letting them know how much we appreciate all they do for children.


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