Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Pencil Problem

Universal Products - Universal - Golf & Pew Pencil, HB, Yellow Barrel, 144/Box - Sold As 1 Box - Strong lead. - Mini, 3 1/2" size. - Presharpened.

Inevitably, teachers encounter a pencil problem during the school year.  Usually at the end of semesters, there is a pencil shortage in the classroom supply.  Students have gone through all the pencils and suddenly have an excuse as to why they're not working.  This has happened without fail each year I've been subbing.  The classroom supply, once abundantly stocked with hundreds of pencils at the beginning the year, is depleted by spring.  I ask students why they are sitting in their desk not working and they'll respond, "I don't have a pencil."  I'll ask if anyone else has a pencil, and no one does.  I'll look on the teacher's desk, in cabinets, on the floor, anywhere to find any extra pencils.  At times, I've resorted to having kids do their assignments in color pencil.  I'd rather have them do that than nothing at all.  I've also bought packs of pencils to take to work with me for cases like these, but I never remember to get them back for my next class (and, is it me, or are pencils cheaper in quality and harder to sharpen?).

So what to do?  Fortunately, I found a discussion of this pencil problem on A to Z forums.  Several teachers there recommended purchasing golf pencils.  When students run out of pencils and parents refuse to replenish the classroom supply, teachers tend to spend more money on buying new pencils that disappear within weeks.  Golf pencils, however, are cheaper than regular pencils.  For about $10 or less, you can get nearly 150 golf pencils.  

Sure, they're short.  But they can write and that's all students need, right?  They don't have erasers and they're not fancy, but they are practical in today's classrooms, especially with budget cuts and teachers (and subs) having to come out of pocket for supplies.  And because they're so cheap, it won't make us so sad when kids walk off with them.

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