OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As the school year nears, teachers are preparing their classrooms for what they hope to be a more normal year.
According to the National Education Association, on average teachers spend about $500 out of pocket for their students and classroom supplies. Some local teachers told 3 News Now, they spend upwards of a thousand.
"I think the average nationally is between $500 and $1,000, but if you’re a new teacher and you have to buy your classroom library and you’re buying flexible seating and decorations you’re looking at a few thousand dollars," said Katie Eden, a local teacher.
Teachers say school districts provide basic necessities like paper, pencils, dry erasers, but they like to make their classrooms feel more like home with extra decorations, snacks, and advanced curriculum projects.
"You’re sitting at a desk in a chair. We want to bring in fun seats and ways where maybe kids that can’t sit at a desk all day will have an option to go to the stand-up desk or have maybe a kind of a chair that wobbles that helps with their ADHD, so making accommodations for that," Eden said.
She said those items can be costly. Eden started a Facebook group where teachers in the metro area can post wishlists for their classrooms and community members can help ease the burden of those out-of-pocket costs. Teachers can post Amazon wishlists, Venmo accounts, or items they need and be "adopted" by someone who wants to help out.
"It really shows not only how passionate the teachers are in our community and how much they care about the students but how the members of the community whether they have kids in school or not are so willing to come out and help teachers its awesome," Eden said.
Summer Hospodka, a first-grade teacher, was "adopted" by a group member and says she can now pay it forward to her students.
"It takes out a little bit of the pressure on us. It warms your heart. It takes so much and teachers want to teach and want to love on our students so if someone buys a book or provides paper that we don’t normally use it’s uplifting us and then we can uplift our students," Hospodka said.