I hear over and over every year that moms are going to label their kids' school supplies because they don't want to supply the whole class.
That's not why teachers ask parents not to label supplies. Teachers ask for the amount of supplies each student will use for the entire school year. I know sometimes it seems like a lot. But kids burn through supplies. Two pencils a week is about average for an elementary school student writing and sharpening frequently. Some teachers like the kids to have new crayons each marking period. Since you can get them for 10-25 cents on sale they don't consider that to be a burden. Glue sticks only last for a couple of projects and dry out right away if kids don't put the cap on tight. So I know it might feel like the teacher expects you to supply the whole class. But that's really about what your kids will use this year.
Sometimes I do over estimate. I happen to have tons of extra notebook paper this year. So I didn't ask for as much as I normally do. You might think that's really unfair to last year's class who bought it. But they inherited glue sticks from the year before. It all averages out over time. You might be the mother of a very responsible child who really does use less than his classmates. I admit this system might end up costing you a few more dollars than if you only supplied your child. But isn't that worth the time it frees up for the teacher?
The reason we ask you not to label is because it makes it much easier to distribute them when things run out. Imagine how much time would be wasted if I have to go hunt through 20 boxes of pencils every time someone needs one? Kids need supplies daily. Even if it only takes five minutes a day that's 25 minutes a week. Over a month it's over an hour and half. I'm not willing to give up an hour and half that I could be working with kids each month so each child can use only the pencil's her mom sent in.
Another reason many teachers don't want supplies labeled is because the old model of students working in their desks all day isn't how many classrooms are run today. My kids are working all over the room. I have bins of supplies in different areas so they can focus on learning rather than run all over the room trying to find what they need. Again, it's about making sure as much time as possible is spent on learning. That couple of minutes a day looking for supplies really adds up over the course of a year.
I used to have kids bring on their own and label them to keep in their desks. It was a disaster. I asked for what what needed to start but nothing was ever replaced as it got used. I wasted tons of time requesting supplies that were never sent it. If I had students keep a years worth at their desks it would be even worse.
So before you go off on your child's teacher please just calmly ask why things are needed and why they don't want them labeled.