It's no secret that teachers in Lubbock as well as the rest of the country are severely underpaid for what they do. From decorating their classrooms to providing random school supplies to students and sometimes even buying snacks to help hungry kiddos focus, teachers are spending a lot of their own personal money to keep the ball rolling and help their students succeed.

So, how much are teachers in Lubbock spending out of their own pocket?

I asked friends and followers that teach locally to give me a little insight into just how much they are spending each year.

The majority of them told me that parents are typically pretty good about sending the necessary materials and supplies from the school list they receive before the semester begins, but as far as decorating your classroom and anything else extra, it can add up pretty quickly. There's also a $250 tax break limit that helps with some items, and several schools are willing to buy extra odds and ends if you add them to a list before the year begins.

Here are a couple of anonymous statements from teachers in the Lubbock area:

"I would say I’ve spent around that much, maybe $300 and counting. It’s not a brag, and it really isn’t necessary. You should know I choose to spend it, so class runs smoothly and is decorated well for kids to feel comfortable. I am a 6th grade Reading teacher."

"I spend around 1K a year but a lot of that isn’t 'required materials.' That is books for my classroom library, incentives for positive behavior, Chromebook chargers for kids to borrow if they forget, headphones, and other things like that. Technically, I could survive without them, but my teaching would be drastically impacted by not having them."

"I technically get what I need (pens paper notecards etc) but my classroom function would be impacted and my room would be ugly. I bet I spend 1K a year, mostly concentrated at the beginning."

"Overall, I'd say $600 out of pocket seems like a reasonable estimate for school supplies each year. Add more for coaching."

"I set aside like, $100 a month in our personal budget to buy myself anything for school and I don’t always spend it all each month. The beginning of the year is always more costly than the rest of the year."

"We get $150 from the district for the school year in classroom money. But not until September, so I typically spend my own money in august getting ready for the beginning of school. In my first year, starting a new classroom, I definitely dropped well over a grand. Probably more like 2 grand. But by year 10, I’ve hoarded a lot of things and figured out what’s really necessary to buy and don’t tend to spend as much of my own money. I’m sure if I added up over the school year though, I definitely spend more than the $250 tax break limit I get."

Just a little reminder to hug an LISD teacher today.

When I was growing up, the super decorated classrooms really made the day more fun and interesting. Anything was better than sitting on a cold chair in a boring room. It puts you right to sleep.

The next time you see a thoughtfully-decorated classroom, please remember that the teacher has put a lot of time, effort, and money into giving your kid a great experience.

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