Teachers find new ways to survive

New smartboards are shown to teachers of Elmore County schools.
New smartboards are shown to teachers of Elmore County schools.

Written by: Jennifer Oravet - bio | email
Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

ELMORE CO, AL (WSFA) - The back to school bell will be ringing in many school systems next week and the week before is usually spent by teachers stocking up on supplies and making lesson plans. Things are going to be a little different in 2009 though, as teachers find new ways to do more with less.

Students in Elmore County will return to classrooms outfitted for the future. While new technology like smartboards may seem like an expensive venture, they were actually purchased to help educators stretch their budgets.

"This year we are hoping to be able to incorporate some of the new tech we are getting to cut down on some of the expenditures that we have made in the past, so we aren't making the copies and cut corners and live on a shoe string budget..." explained Holtville High School teacher Charlotte London.

Teachers spent the day in the hot seat, learning interactive ways to engage their students without the traditional pencil and paper. They say it's the new reality of teaching though proration.

"The technology is wonderful," said Lisa Stubbs, a teacher at Wetumpka High School, who immediately admitted, "I'm kind of old school...but with the money shortage this year, we're going to be forced to do something different. We are trying to learn the smartboards and the interactive ability..."

"Proration is one of those things that kills us, and kids don't think anything about hitting a printer three, four, five times if the first time they hit the button it doesn't print," London said.

London has been an educator for more than 20 years and says many fellow teachers are returning to the classroom with concerns about the budget, job security and school districts expending their resources.

"We have heard other counties that have had horror stories or rumors of being paid on the 15th, and so many of us, our house payments are automatic withdrawals.

Elmore County teachers will attend an institution day Thursday where they will learn now much money the district will be able to give them for their classroom to purchase supplies and materials for the year.

Most teachers admit they spend more than $30 of pocket each week on classroom materials and many say that amount will be even higher this year.

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