Anyone who thinks that I should "loan" good stuff to the school gets told how half my punch cups from one set got busted and how my first punch bowl set (from college) came back cracked - then had the bottom fall out the next time it was loaned out. I'm not paranoid - I've lost stuff.
I no longer loan anything at school that I've paid for myself, because I've had nothing but bad experiences that way. A couple incidents I recall --
- Loaned an autographed book to another teacher, on condition that she return it by the end of May, so I could use it over the summer. In May, she told me she couldn't find it and would "get around to looking for it" eventually. I finally got it back in September. (At least she found it!)
- Loaned a set of protractors to another teacher, on condition that they be returned to their plastic sleeves after each use. (I spent a bit extra to get large ones in sleeves, to prevent them from being scratched up. Scratches make it even harder for my special ed students to read them, and every little advantage helps.) The protractors were returned to me, stacked and rubber banded together, and not in the sleeves.
- I even had one staff person go through my supplies -- without asking first -- to find poster paper for her daughter's project.
I don't mind lending/donating supplies that the school pays for, but I tend to pay for just about all of my classroom supplies myself, as our department budget is not very large. Many of my special ed students come from low-income families, so I pay for our everyday classroom supplies. That way, everybody has the "good stuff," nobody is embarrassed, and parents don't have to struggle to buy what I can easily afford. (Not to mention the teacher tax credit, which I get and parents don't!) This makes me very reluctant to lend supplies and equipment that people will not replace or take care of.