Keep it simple: First grade teacher warns parents against 'distracting' school supplies

“As a teacher, I’m here to tell you that the more basic you go, the more your teacher will appreciate it,” she said.

school supplies, katie alburger, back to school

A teacher explains why its better to get the basic, wooden ruler.

It’s that time again when even though it feels like summer is just kicking into full swing, the back-to-school section pops up at your local Target. It’s a grim reminder that life will soon return to the stress of homework, shuttling kids to and from extra-curricular activities and the dreaded school drop-off line.

The good news is that first grade teacher and content creator Katie Alburger wants parents everywhere to know they don’t need to break the bank when shopping for school supplies. In fact, she says that teachers actually prefer it when parents purchase the standard supplies instead of going overboard with funky-scented markers and pencil boxes that do more than just hold Ticonderoga No. 2s.

Alburger drove the point home by filming her school supply video while walking through the aisles at Target.


PSA: when school supply shopping, pls pls pls get standard items! Save the fancy for home and they can use that for homework and free time🤪 (dont mind me walking all around target to record this.. it was so crowded and I get camera shy, thx) #teachersoftiktok #momsoftiktok #teacherlife #schoolshopping #schoolsupplies #teacherlife #targettok #targetmom

“As a teacher, I’m here to tell you that the more basic you go, the more your teacher will appreciate it,” she said before sharing some examples.

“For example, if your child’s school’s file list has a ruler, this is what they’re talking about,” she said while holding a basic, old-school wooden ruler. “Not a snap bracelet ruler that is going to end up hurting someone.”

“Almost every school’s file list is going to have glue sticks, right? We don’t need colored, scented glue sticks because for 40 more cents, you can get 12 of the regular glue sticks—and chances are your child’s teacher probably does community supplies, which means that would come in handy to have 12 more than four,” she explained.

She also warned against getting too creative with pencil boxes.

“OK, they need a basic pencil box,” she said. “It can have a character on it if they want to get a little bit more personalized, but a fidget pencil box is going to become a toy and your teacher’s worst enemy. So, please don’t do that to them. I completely understand that Pop Its are a fidget that some children need. They just don’t need it on their pencil box.”

"I appreciate you for letting us parents know. I wouldn’t want to send my child to school with distractions and take away from her learning time," Norma Jeronimo replied in the comments section.

The video comes at a time when many parents are stressed out over the cost of back-to-school supplies. In 2022, the average parent spent $661 per child on ensuring their child was equipped and dressed for the school year. But this year, parents are looking to spend an average of $597. They expect to spend less on clothes and tech and more on necessities like school supplies to compensate for the cost of living increases due to inflation.

The high cost of school supplies also shifts an even bigger burden to school teachers, who already have to spend hundreds of dollars on school supplies every year. Studies show that the average teacher expected to spend nearly $820 on their classrooms during the 2022-2023 school year, nearly double what they paid eight years ago.


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