Other teachers are constantly asking to borrow my art supplies. It is now only September and I'm almost out of paint. How do I say no, but still keep a cordial work place?

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I also sent an email out last week reminding all teachers at my high school to plan materials for their projects. I also at that if they really need something to just let me know in advance and I'll see what I can do. I also had to add that they shouldn't send students in the middle of class for supplies. So maybe add some humor or sense of flexibility or understanding. Good luck!

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I used to work at the high school level and same thing. Teachers used to sneak into my room and steal paint! At the elementary level, they all have their own supplies. Just send out a cordial email saying you are so supportive of art projects in their rooms but are on such a limited budget that you have to reserve the paint for your classes that have paid a fee. However they are welcome to borrow brushes and use as much butcher paper as they like. Then lock up your paint. They can buy their own from the warehouse or online…like the elementary teachers do.

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Screw cordial.

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Say exactly what's happening: "Usually I would say yes, but I'm already running out of paint. I have a limited budget to work with each year. "

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My first two years of teaching art I was in two different buildings every other day. I was told the budget for my supplies was given to the middle school teachers and I should ask them for supplies. Needless to say, I used a lot of money out of my own pocket. My supplies were pilfered including all of my paintbrushes in the middle of a painting project and my paper cutter that I used on a daily basis. I now teach at the high school level & I’m 16 years in. My response is “I have a limited budget for my students’ art supplies. I do not have a budget that includes money for students or projects outside of my classes.” I suggest using their own budget or the dollar store. I keep strict track of my supplies & I got my principal to allow me to purchase a fire cabinet. These have locks unlike all of the other storage in my room. My only flammables include rubber cement & fixative. I put most of my supplies that typically walk in there & I have the only keys. I also spend as little of my own money as possible.

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I tell them they have the same $150 budget for their 20 kids that I have for 700 kids.

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I'm lucky and have a modest budget for supplies at the beginning of the year that the public school purchases at my request. I always have a loaner/traveling kit or set of materials (pastel sets, tempera paint, old water color sets, etc....that can be checked out (otherwise I forget who borrowed what). When it's gone, it's gone. Some years Donor's Choose and/or sometimes an active PTSA pitches in to purchase the traveling kits and/or rolling display kiosks to display works to benefit the entire school community. Most kids secretly like to see their artworks displayed...they feel a part of something bigger than just the school community.

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If it's my bin of scissors or markers that I'm not currently using (non-consumables) then I let them borrow them. If it's paper, poster board, paint, tape, or glue I ask if they will be replace what they use since I spend a lot of time preparing my supply order and only order what is needed for my lesson.

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We just got our budget for this year and I get the exact same $350 as every other teacher. When teachers ask, I tell them that I have the same budget they do and most of my supplies are from donations or my own pocket so I can’t afford to share them. Luckily my supplies are in a storage room that others can’t access. I just say I’m sorry but I don’t have any extra.

You really just have to establish your policy of using what you ordered for your lessons for your lessons only. I carefully plan out my projects for the year, what I'll need for each, and how many students will do each. I don't order very much overage as I'm conscious of the budget. Teachers may borrow things sometimes but I ask them to replenish what they took. I don't get asked much any more, but when I do, the teachers will buy me new and I often get more than I started with.

I just say that I carefully plan out my entire year and order just what I will need with very little extra. They can "borrow" supplies if they can replace them in a week.

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