Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

The PTSA has expressed their desire to bake cookies for the teachers this holiday season. There’s just one tiny problem. According to the PTSA president, with these tough economic times they don’t have the sufficient funds to express their gratitude through baking. With that being the case she put out an e-mail to any teachers who wouldn’t mind contributing funds for ingredients so cookies can be had.

Yes, I am offended by the idea of asking me to contribute money towards a “gift” to be “given” to me. I can take my money and go buy cookies—cookies I know I like. I’m not going to harp on this though. I’ve decided to turn this into a teaching opportunity. Sometimes, my Hobo Teaching Tips can be implemented outside of the education world and fortunately, frugality happens to be one of those moments.

Let’s face it; the only times teachers know are tough economic times. Think about it. How often has a teacher found a way to enhance a lesson with supplemental materials (toilet paper tubes, shoe boxes, all kinds of stuff)? And where do you think those materials came from? Do you think we buy that stuff? Many times we don’t, but if we have to, then we take measures to ensure we can take on such expenses. Honestly, teachers are fiscal cockroaches. We can survive any monetary disaster.

With that being said, I would like to pass on some Hobo Teacher Tips to apply one’s personal life in order to tighten that belt*:

  1. Skip doing the laundry every now and then. To mask any odor that may come about from such a practice just stand behind people getting fragrance samples sprayed on them at the mall. I’ll confess to you right now that this takes practice.

  2. Used staples can be straightened out and reused with some trusty pliers and good old fashion gumption.

  3. You say “shoelaces.” I say “suspenders.”

Now I know that some of you non-teachers out there may not be ready for such extremes, so start out slowly and ease into it. Just by observing my students, I see many things parents can do to cut down on costs. Parents, the $200 jeans made by five-cent-a-day, third-world child-labor are no better than the $30 jeans made by five-cent-a-day, third-world child-labor. Also, try not buying cell phones for your kids with GPS, games, Internet, video capabilities and applications that turn the phone into a light saber. There are cheaper models. At the very least, don’t replace it every time they lose it. I’ve seen students keep better track of their homework. Think about it. That’s scary.

You know what, with all this advice, it sounds like I need to write and publish a book. Then I could burn the copies for warmth (Hobo Teaching Tip # 419).

*I have a method for tightening a belt too. It involves sticking your belt under a portion of a three-hole punch and jumping on the lever while holding a class set of dictionaries.

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