The summer is wrapping up and the school year is about ready to kick off in full force. This is the time of the year that is filled with optimism and excitement. Everything starts over. Students get to meet new teachers, teachers get a new batch of students and parents get a chance to regain their sanity.
Despite all these warm and cuddly feelings that surround the start of school I am dreading another yearly tradition: parents buying their kids crappy pencils.
Don’t get me wrong, I to have been seduced by the allure of the 1 cent pack of pencils at Staples (or Wal-Mart, Kmart, etc.). As a parent you feel good about making such a wise purchase. After all a pencil is just a pencil.
“No so fast my friend,” to quote Lee Corso, the legendary football analyst from College Game Day (and Director of Business Development for Dixon Ticonderoga pencil company). Pencils are NOT all the same and it DOES make a difference.
The trouble begins moments after the first bell. The students complain that they can’t get their pencil to sharpen. Why? Because the quality of wood and lead is inferior and it is next to impossible to get many of these pencils sharpened. Many pencils are never able to be sharpened because the lead just falls out as you sharpen it. In addition, students are constantly getting up because their lead keeps breaking because of the poor quality.
Mechanical pencils are no better. Most of the time students are asking around for specific lead sizes because they ran out. The lead in the mechanical pencils is so thin it snaps off with the slightest pressure.
Last year our 7th grade math department spent some of our supply money on extra Ticonderoga pencils (the Language Arts teachers just mocked us). We could tell the difference and so could the kids. The pencils were easy to sharpen, kept their point longer and didn’t break off as often.
By the way, I am not affiliated with the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil company. There are many other fine pencil companies such as Blackwing (my personal favorite is the Blackwing 602), General’s, Golden Bear and Prospector. Many of these companies make their pencils in the United States.
I know it seems like such a small thing, but anytime you can reduce distractions you are greatly increasing the students chances for success. Parents are always looking for ways to help their children. The purchase of a quality pencil is an easy and affordable way to assist with your child’s success.