What Exactly is on Teacher Wish Lists?

Teacher Needs & Real School Supply Lists

By:  Tim Sullivan of PTO Today

When it comes to “wishes,” most people want things like world peace, or maybe Ferraris or even iPads. But what do teachers wish for? Until now, the answer to that question has been only a guess.

Based on our exclusive TeacherLists.com data, which comes from the more than 80,000 classroom lists posted on the new website, we can now share what hasn’t been available before—an inside look at what exactly is on those Teacher Wish Lists.

We think you’ll be surprised.

Scratch the new cars and high-tech. Instead, think basics. Cleaning supplies and health supplies dominate the lists. High-end items are way down the bottom.

Teacher Wish Lists have been a growing part of the school environment for years. With budgets shrinking and teachers going into their own pockets for supplies more than ever before, it’s only natural that teachers would reach out to parents for help. Traditionally, that’s been a note home to parents or a posting in the classroom on back-to-school night.

But now with the new TeacherLists.com website, there’s finally one place where all these lists are compiled and where parents can check out teacher needs throughout the year.

And for the first time, we can take a deep dive into exactly what’s appearing on lists across the country. The top ten items:

  1. Facial Tissues
  2. Paper Towels
  3. Markers
  4. Disinfecting Wipes
  5. Dry Erase Markers
  6. Hand Sanitizer
  7. Glue Sticks
  8. Hand Wipes
  9. #2 Pencils
  10. Colored Pencils

Not a single sexy item on there, eh? Teachers are telling us that—sure—they’d love the latest gizmo, but their biggest needs are for the basics. Kids make tons of messes. Kids have tons of runny noses. Kids’ desks and hands get awfully grimy. And indoor recess can chew up crayons and markers in a hurry.

The good news? Parents want to give. In a survey we recently conducted, 95% of the more than 1600 respondents said they’d be willing to chip in to help the classroom. And more than half reported they’d contribute at least three times each year. Parents and teachers are in this together, and the Teacher Wish List is a great, simple example of that partnership taking form.

With the new TeacherLists.com site, it’s also easier than ever to continue that partnership all year long. Room moms are helping teachers update the list and getting links to lists on school and class websites. And school PTOs and PTAs are using the site as a tool for year-round teacher appreciation.

One thing we didn’t find on any wish lists? Ceramic apples! If you really want to make your teachers happy this year, help them make their classes great places to learn. It’s exactly what they’re wishing for.


About the Author:

Tim Sullivan is the founder of School Family Media, the parent company of both PTO Today and TeacherLists.com.  Tim is a frequent commentator (and monthly columnist) on parent involvement in schools and the key role played by school PTOs and PTAs.  Sign up for Tim’s weekly involvement tips on the www.ptotoday.com homepage.  Follow Tim on Twitter (@TimPTO) and follow TeacherLists on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teacherlists

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