Posted in Education, Health, news

As Back To School Approaches, Teachers Need Help Preparing Too

The new school year is approaching quickly.  And as parents start to prep their kids with new clothes, shoes, backpacks and supplies, teachers are feeling the pressure of preparing too.  Not just for one child but for ALL their students. So what do teachers need?

Whether its school supplies, health advice, or just outright community support teachers need our assistance on multiple levels.  Let’s break it down.

Many teachers need to purchase their own supplies

In 2016 the Education Market Association reported nearly all teachers come out of pocket at minimum $500 for school supplies for their classrooms.  School district budgets allow for supplies but not enough for many classroom’s needs.  And low income districts see families who can’t afford school supplies, hence the teachers supply the students with as much as they can, again from their own pockets.

Bonnie Palbaum, a second grade teacher at Hinman Elementary, states she needs to purchase multiple school supplies for her students including pencils, pencil boxes, desk bins and more.

Jolette May, a high school teacher at Del Sol Academy for the Performing Arts, states she spends approximately $2000 each year on her classroom, providing her students not only with supplemental school supplies such as pencils, paper, lead refills, notebooks (to name a few) but water bottles, tissue, hand sanitizer, and snacks on a monthly basis.

She states, “Every year, before school starts, I usually buy a case of paper, pens and pencils for student use, both a desk and dry-erase giant calendar, folders for organizing my class periods, about 30 composition notebooks, manila folders for kids who can’t seem to stay organized, novels for kids to read, a giant bottle of hand sanitizer, dry erase markers of multiple colors, Sharpies, skinny dry erase markers for the wall calendar, and giant class charts for keeping data on tests, grades, etc.”  May continues, “We have to have data walls for all to see, colored paper, colored pencils, lined paper for kids to use, giant packages of Post-It notes, academic, and non-academic posters for my walls, colored pens for my own use (I color-code my classes for organization), medium, and giant, Post-It notes, M-cups for coffee, throat coat, snacks for kids who are starving, cases of water for students, Tylenol and Excedrine, Pepto, staples, paper clips, binder clips, rubber bands, lead refills, and Kleenex.”

Teachers say “no” more often than they wish to when it comes to behavior issues that when a student needs something to help him/her learn demonstrating positive behavior, no educator wants to deny them, nor should.  This leads teachers to go into their own pocket to supply their class.

Teachers face health risks

In 2006, a study published in BMC Public Health, found teachers to suffer more from ENT (ear, nose and throat) ailments, dermatitis, bladder infections, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and varicose veins than those who work in other professions.  Teachers are on the front lines when it comes to cough and cold season as they come into contact with hundreds of children a day, many of whom are contagious prior to knowing they are symptomatic. Once the fever shows itself, parents may keep the child home but the student already exposed others earlier in the day.

Standing on one’s feet for extended hours does a number on the peripheral vascular system, manifesting in leg swelling and at times, varicose veins.  And when breaks are infrequent, bladder infections brew since one can’t visit the bathroom when they need.

Long work hours during the week prevent many educators from seeing a health care provider and many health plans don’t have providers who work on the weekends.  Teachers can very easily put their own health care needs on the back burner during a long school year.

Violence in increasing in schools

Many teachers are victims of threats and violence in the school setting.  According to the US Department of Education and the American Psychological Association:

  • 20% of public school teachers reported being verbally abused.
  • 10% reported being physically threatened.
  • 5% reported being physically attacked in schools.

This is unacceptable.  Its only a matter of time when those who have entered the noblest of professions will need to find a healthier, less costly and safer alternative.

 

tools

 

In Las Vegas, we created Tools4Teachers, joining forces with Albertson’s and Vons Supermarkets, Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging, and Storage One Self Storage to collect school supplies and provide help for local teachers.  Its the tip of a much needed iceberg but something so many cities can participate in to help those who dedicate so much of themselves to our children.

To help your local teachers please visit here.

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician