Only a couple weeks left. Keeping that in mind, this is the time for specials teachers to start thinking about their supplies for next year. The dreaded (queue dramatic music) supply list. Being an art teacher, one of the biggest concerns that I have is making sure that I have the correct amount of supplies for my students as well as supplies that will work and not cost an arm and a leg.
When I was doing my undergrad work, we had an assignment involving supplies without a budget. I remember complaining a lot during the assignment due to not having a cap on what I was allowed to spend to. Little did I know that when I got my job, I was going to be in the same boat.
Today, I teach 4 sections of Ceramics and 2 Painting classes. When I order supplies, I look for items that will give as professional of a finish as possible while also being forgiving to the students if they make a mistake.
For my Ceramics classes, I lean heavily on the AMACO product line. Their glazes are fluid enough for a beginner to use and very forgiving. We work with a Cone 5 clay that is supplied through a local company, Rovin Ceramics. Their prices are pretty competitive, but I what pleases me the most is their selection of high and low grog (the gritty feeling) clays.
My Painting classes are a little different, as they are continuously using materials that we can’t get back. We use the typical watercolor, tempera, acrylic mediums, however I always advise that students purchase their own supplies if they like the way a certain medium works. Typically, when it comes to the basic practices of tempera and watercolor, I buy cheap. Crayola and Prang both make good quality paints that can be purchased in bulk without taking too much of a hit in the wallet.
Each year I try to keep a surplus of a certain supply, so that in the following year, I can go out and spend on a different supply. Last year I was able to supply 60 students with various types of Sharpies, and this year its looking like either professional markers (Prismacolor or maybe even Copic). To try and alleviate some of the cost next year, I will be bundling supplies together and “selling” them to students who need extra. My school doesn’t support a class fee and fundraising can be tedious when dealing with student help. So providing the first set of supplies to students and then asking them to either purchase additional from a store of from my set could help equal out some of the costs on perishable materials.