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What’s in Your Teacher Toolbox?

Teacher-toolbox I wrote a blog post for The Educator’s Room titled 5 Do’s and Don’t for Teaching Elementary Mathematics. One of the things that I suggested was to purchase math resources for teachers. Much to my surprise a teacher responded and said, ” No! We should not purchase. The districts should pay for it. We don’t make enough to pay for extra material.” When I read this comment I was kind of confused by it because teaching is a career not a job and people invest in their careers by keeping up with the trends in their profession.

I do agree that teachers do not make a lot of money but policemen, firefighters, social workers, probation officers don’t make a lot of money either. So, if you enter the educational field or any field that is funded by the state or city expecting to make a whole lot of money then you’re in the wrong profession. Education is not for the faint of heart. When I present at conferences and go into schools to provide PD I tell them that every year is different and it’s a struggle.

Even though teachers may not make a whole lot of money is extremely important to invest in building your teacher toolbox. I would not suggest that you wait on your school or school district to provide everything that you need. Maybe at the beginning of your teaching career you needed this to done by the school however as you grow as a teacher you should begin to purchase materials that are in line with your teaching philosophy.

When teachers do not build their teacher toolboxes it can cause a problem because every year is different. Since the federal and state educational agencies are focusing on how to keep students in school teachers have become the focal point for intervention for these students. If a teacher does not have any strategies for dealing with below grade level and challenging students then he/she is going to have rough school year.

I am an avid reader so I buy books all of the time. Some of them I use in the current school year and others I have to refer back to when I meet “that” student. I have realized that increasing my repertoire of instructional strategies (pedagogy) and keeping my skills sharp for math and literacy has helped me to withstand some of  my most difficult school years.

I’ve heard teachers say that we are not treated like professionals. If we want to be seen as professionals then we can’t always wait around for the school or school district to make an investment in our careers. We have look, dress, and act like professionals.




4 thoughts on “What’s in Your Teacher Toolbox?”

  1. I have to say I agree with this. I have had the same feeling as the teacher who replied to your post up until last year. I have always felt like I was waiting for someone to guide me and tell me to do. Last year I started to just do what I thought was right and keep data on it and see if it worked. As a professional, I need to push my own learning or I risk being in a possision where I don’t have the tools I need.

    1. We all needed support at the beginning but as some point I feel like teachers have to be responsible for their own learning. The school and school district has its own mission and priorities. Kudos to you for stepping up it’s a liberating experience!

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