There are a number of barriers confronting teachers when it comes to obtaining resources for their classrooms.
Some of the barriers are of the Iron Curtin variety thus forcing teachers to dig into their own pockets or do without.
Lack of funds, lack of control of funds (trust), lack of knowledge of good sources, lack of adequate research tools, time restrictions, red tape and policies are all examples of possible barriers.
You will find it much easier if you can develop a case to present to your Principal. Here are a few tips to help you make your case.
1. When developing your plan, it is imperative that you identify a "need", not a “want” or a “nice to have”. Too many times, we get caught up making wish lists.
2. Explain clearly what you plan on doing with the item(s) in the short term and in the long run. Will the item be relevant long term or will it become obsolete?
3. What are the projected Learning outcomes? For instance, you can configure an Active classroom with furniture that compliments the learning styles of your students. The outcome is that the children will learn more effectively in an environment that is suited to their learning ability.
4. How does it fit your teaching style? Just as students have a learning style; teachers have their own style as well.
5. You can use the diagrams and lists that are available at www.theclassroomsolution.com ™ to point out the deficiencies in your classroom. “See Boss, I need these to make my classroom complete”. The Classroom Solution can also assist with product sourcing and supplier support.
6. Flexibility. You will stand a better chance of getting approval if the item(s) can be used elsewhere in the school. And you may be able to share the cost with other teachers. How can it benefit other areas in the school?
7. Does your school have an environmental policy or initiative in place? How does your request comply with your school’s green efforts? The majority of the furniture available at The Classroom Solution is Greenguard® or SCS® certified for indoor air quality. Using furniture with these certifications enhances the possibility of qualifying for LEED® certification in building projects.
8. Get the students involved in your plan. Seek their input and use it in your proposal. Create a project where the students can analyze the problem and make recommendations.
Remember; if you present a clear and complete request with sound educational reasoning, you stand a much better chance of overcoming the red tape and trust issues that prevent or obstruct your ability to get what you need for your classroom.
And for you administrators out there, consider assigning budget responsibility to your teachers by providing them with the tools to make the acquisitions that meet their needs. You can assign a Purchasing Card (if your District has a P-Card program) with controls on where the card can be used (e.g. no alcohol, no cash advances, no travel or hotels) and you can limit the spending amount to match the budget you have assigned. A School District with a good Purchasing Card program can save up to 80% in administration costs and free school clerical staff from hours and hours of paperwork.
For more information on Purchasing Card solutions, Leed®, Greenguard® or SCS® certifications, visit www.theclassroomsolution.com/solutions.html ™