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Along with school supplies, teachers bring to their classrooms plenty of hope and courage

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- Contact paper. Plastic boxes for crayons. Damage-free picture hangers ...

If you're a teacher, this list looks very familiar.

Poster frames. Dry-erase markers. Blank self-adhesive labels ...

These are the kinds of items that don't always make it onto the standard school-supply lists, but we buy them at the start of the school year so that the students streaming into our classrooms for the first day of school can feel welcome and at home. Safe.

Fluffy pillows. Comfy blankets. A few extra granola bars or pretzels for the extra hungry ...

For some students, school is the only place that will offer two meals each weekday and the support of adults who are able to meet their academic and emotional needs with predictable routines. Other students simply need a place where they can let their intellects loose with the guidance of teachers who are ready to challenge them and allow them to struggle productively.

 

And that takes love, time, energy -- and money.

In fact, it takes an average of $459 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute, which took the National Center for Educational Statistics' 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey and adjusted for inflation to 2018 dollars.

This is money we're not reimbursed for. Usually it doesn't even take into account money from our own pockets for candy rewards, small toy incentives and special favors like special pencils, erasers or markers.

And the number fluctuates depending on where you live.

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