Here is one of the best teaching tips I can share with you – Use what you have!
I know that through my teaching career there have been many times when I have needed some items for a lesson that I didn’t have readily available. Sometimes these things were simple items for a science experiment that I wanted my students to do. For example, an experiment might call for straws, sand paper, balloons, string, and nails. If it was an experiment that I was sure would help the students understand the curriculum, I would often run out to the store and pick these items up.
I’ve heard it said that a teacher’s best friend is the dollar store. And why not? Dollar stores allow us to get materials for our classroom fairly easily. They are always available to us and usually have what we need for our classes. That’s why I never hesitated to pick up items for a science lesson or an art project at the dollar store.
I never minded spending a few bucks on my classroom as long as it helped me to deliver the curriculum. However, with every trip to the dollar store, I could easily spend twenty dollars. I could also find a reason to go there every month. Add this all up and I end up spending over a hundred dollars every year on classroom materials. That’s just crazy! I don’t have the money to keep shelving out for things just to help me do my job.
So now I think carefully before running out to buy things for my lessons. I collect materials whenever I can. I ask my students to bring in some materials that they should be able to get easily from home. Failing that, I find another lesson to teach that uses materials I already have in the house or the classroom. It pays to get creative and use what you have to teach science and art.
Every teacher that I know has poured money into his or her own classroom at some point. There is nothing wrong with this. Good teachers really care about their students and truly want the best for them; I know that I sure do. That is why I still spend money on my classroom whenever I need to. I just don’t need to do it as often as I used to.
I find that I have become a better teacher with this mindset. It has forced me to get creative and use what I have available. I don’t need to rush out to the dollar store to deliver my curriculum and neither do you.
Use what you have and stop buying all the little things. All those little things add up and we don’t need to flip this expense. So try it out – Deliver your curriculum and engage your students with what you have.
Use what you have! Simple as that!