Teachers spend 8-10 hours a day at school. We need to be prepared for anything and everything. We also want to keep students from having to make unnecessary trips to the office for things that we can easily store in our classroom.
Maybe you will use these items never or 100 times. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared! (Check out the comments for some more great suggestions.)
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Things that You (the Teacher) Will Need
- Extra set of clothes – If you haven’t spilled an entire cup of coffee on your shirt at school, are you even a teacher? If you don’t have the space to store them in your classroom, consider an extra set (and pair of shoes) in your car. You will thank me later! Also, deodorant is never a bad idea. And go ahead and have some extra hair ties too.
- Medicine – Contact Lens Solution and Case, sore throat lozenges, allergy medicine, Emergen-C, and headache medicine. Save yourself from having to ask the nurse or another coworker. I have never regretted having a small stash of my medicine cabinet in the locked drawer of my desk.
- Back-up lunch and snacks. Even a Post-it Note reminder on my front door didn’t prevent me from frequently forgetting my lunch. I loved keeping a few non-perishable snacks that would tide me over in the event I forgot — peanut butter crackers, turkey jerky sticks, trail mix, and protein bars. Helpful hint: keeping a handful of utensils in my classroom prevented me from wasting precious lunch time hunting one down in the teachers’ lounge or cafeteria.
- Tide-To-Go Pen or Shout Wipes – I liked to attach my pens to my lanyard so I would always have a pen on me. Well, I didn’t always click the pen closed and frequently allowed my shirt to be stained. This will keep all your clothes from becoming permanently stained.
- Fanny pack – The fanny pack is back! If you are a child of the 80s like me, you remember the original fanny pack and it has returned in a better form. I started with a Home Depot apron and eventually graduated to a cute and functional fanny pack.
Things Your Students May Need
- Bandaids, feminine products, mints, ice pack – If I could prevent students from making an additional trip to the nurse’s office to get any of these items, I considered that learning time saved. Note: most of these you can even get from your school nurse by just going in and asking to have some handy in your classroom
- Safety pins and a glasses repair kit – Ever have a wardrobe malfunction or a lost button…those safety pins can come in handy for you and students. The number of glasses that I have repaired in my teaching career is pretty impressive too! Parents will thank you!
- Ziploc bags or even grocery store bags – Ziploc bags serve 100 uses in the classroom, so just go ahead and buy some the next time you’re grabbing groceries, but their uses aren’t just for organizing supplies. In 6th grade, students are still losing teeth or needing a place to store their phone after a water bottle leaked in their backpack soaking everything. They will get used. I have saved the day when a student’s backpack has torn open and they needed a place to store their stuff for the day.
Items that Will Help Your Environment
- If you check the comments from this post, you will see one of our most recommended items is scent related. Febreze! Scentsy pods! Candle warmers! You only have to be in the class after gym to realize these middle school students don’t smell like daisies and are still learning the ins and outs of hygiene. Some teachers recommended spray deodorant for students. I never did this, but a student might feel desperate!
- Jolly Ranchers – I could never have chocolate because I would just eat it all. But a jolly rancher satisfies a sweet craving and lasts a long time so you can limit yourself to one. Plus, they are one of my favorite treats for kids and can be purchased in a giant bag at Target or Walmart. They aren’t messy, are gluten free, and a little goes a long way. I did tell students that if I found trash, we would have to discontinue the use of jolly ranchers. I used these personally, as incentives to begin the warm up right away (simply passing them out to students who were on task when the bell rang), and incentives for working well in groups. Win-win!
- Blank notes – always be ready to send an encouraging note to a team member or a forgotten happy birthday to a student. If you are feeling down, writing something kind to someone else will always cheer me up!
- Extra phone charger – This is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you become known as the teacher with an extra phone charger, staff will always need you to come to the rescue! Just make sure to label it with your name, so it doesn’t disappear.
I hope this list gets you thinking, it has saved me lots of time and headaches (literally).
If you love teacher supplies as much as I do, check out this post with 20 Must Have Teacher Supplies Under $20.
Also, check out the comments (even if you don’t have anything to share) because there are many great ideas to round out ANY need you might have during your day of teaching! What teacher desk supplies do you rely on in your classroom?
Editor’s Note: We have been publishing content for the Maneuvering the Middle blog for over 7 years! This post was originally published in February of 2015 and has been revamped for accuracy and relevancy.
Tums, extra monthly protection items, clear nail polish (for runs in hose or tights), band aids, brush or comb, pocket mirror, travel toothbrush and toothpaste or Wisps…
Don’t forget pepto and Imodium AD????????
Gretchen Landin says
Peppermint oil. Sometimes those teenagers smell terrible. I just leave the little bottle open or put some on my wrists. It helps with headaches and allergies.
Chocolate (a must have) bandaids, water bottle, picture frame, Monday-Friday organizer, bamboo plant and of course a snack to re-energize.
Just curious…Why the bamboo plant?
I keep fresh flowers on my desk, they brighten up my day! 🙂
I also keep feminine products in case. We are a good 5 minute walk to the office/nurse. I keep perfume and now I keep some cologne since last year a student asked for some Bc he forgot his deodorant and just had P.E.
Add cough drops!
I keep cough drops for myself but wouldn’t share with a students. (They’re considered a medication in our district.) I keep a giant bag of hard peppermint for students—can relieve a mild headache, a sore throat, sinus congestion, and even wake up a sleepy kid.
Tyne Brack says
Celeste — that is so true. We give them out during state testing to keep students alert. Brilliant! –Tyne
B Sizemore says
add duct tape and Zip Ties for the kids that “forget” that their pants sag Zip tie them and for the students with the ripped jeans Duct tape
One of the best investments I made for my teacher desk was an adjustable desk drawer organizer that floats on top of the desk drawer. It holds pens, paperclips, my chapstick, and other random supplies and hides my medicine stash underneath.
starbucks via packets 🙂
Noelle Pickering says
Now you’re talking 🙂
Yep. A must have in September!
I have it too – for myself! Sometimes the morning rush in my house means forgetting to put on deodorant – only needed to learn that lesson once ????
Sewing kit, dental floss, small mirror, Altoids tin full of change for vending machine and one full of pennies for students that need to pay library fines….
Noelle Pickering says
Ah yes, the vending machine…the death of me.
The emergency toothbrush (disposable) for the hurried mornings. White out . Outlet covers. 3×5 cards work as parent reminders.
Lotion for myself and students – it’s hard to focus on your writing when your hands are so dry they are cracking. A lint roller too.
Cathy Dugan Evert says
I have lotion too. My boys will use it because I make sure to get unscented lotion.
Maybe it’s an age thing but my high school boys love the flowery lotions
Emily Richards says
Mine too! Weird!
Wintergreen mints–for students with tummy aches or cramps (or for your breath)
A small piece of paper with a prayer on it.
Granola bars &/or saltine crackers…quick snacks for me or my students.
Vaseline And q-tips for winter time when kids have cracked, chapped lips!
Yes! This saves on trips to see the nurse.
A screwdriver, lint roller, and safety pins!
Kristine Boydstun says
Yes! I have a screwdriver, needlenose pliers (for those staples that get stuck) and a hammer!
Agree with safety pins! Also tooth-picks, a Scentsy pot (because middle schoolers), and some small tools like hammer and screwdriver.
Hilarious – (because middle schoolers) – enough said!!
Because 5th graders… I feel your pain except many of my students’ parents don’t think they “need” it yet.
I have a Scentsy pot too!! I teach Middle School. I also have scented hand santizier on my desk that helps keep me healthy when collecting papers.
My school restricted extra plug in gadgets due to reducing electric bill this year.
If you have a classroom with a window, you can take a canning jar and poke holes in the top. Put the ace ray wax in the jar and set the whole thing in the sun. When it melts it will produce the smell without using electricity. ????????
Totally resurrecting an old post, but I loved this comment.
I have a candle warmer in my room (I teach middle & HS). A colleague walked in and said, “Your room smells nice.” I said, “I have a candle warmer.” “My room smells like teenage butt.” “That’s why I have a candle warmer.”
Omg. This is hilarious and a good reminder for me as I start student teaching in the Fall. ????
If you can, keep the scents low-key. Several of my coworkers, self included, and students suffer from migraines.
small tools, nail clippers, tweezers, safety pins, bobby pins, vending machine change, monthly items, mirror, bible, oh the list is endless.
Sonia Steckert says
Emergency snacks. Mini packages of chips, peppermints, cashews, in case, lunch is running late or you are working late after school.
Dryer sheets–to take care of static in hair/clothes and small packets of stain presoak.
I was going to suggest Static Guard, but I like this, too!
I keep a tide pen. I inevitably dribble coffee when I’m wearing a white blouse!
Do those tide pens work well?? I’ve thought of trying them.
I found this was a must my first year and not just for myself. Students and fellow colleagues gravitated my way for this one.
A box of thank you notes!! That way when a kiddo brings in a sweet little surprise gift, you can write a note to them right away!
Emily Richards says
A piece of pantyhose, to get off deodorant stains on shirts that show up when you get to work.
"Girl" supplies, not only for you but those little ladies that are in need and would spend half your class in the nurse’s office…
Jen Bindman says
Chocolate! I would say it is an essential item deep in a teacher’s desk drawer. And a few extra Keurig caps…..
The teachers on my team kept a basket stocked on top of the cubbies in my room. Near the end of the year, I would see my door open and a co-worker sneak in to grab a treat. The kids never figured it out, but the rest of us got a charge out of it.
I love chocolate too much to have it in my room. So I have a co-worker who is not a chocoholic keep a stash for those times you just have to have it lol!
A picture of myself in MS… To remind me how annoying I myself would have had to been during those hard times lol
Lisa Larson says
I love this one! 🙂
What a brilliant idea! Do you let your kids see it? They sometimes need a reminder that we are human and haven’t always been the (super cool and pulled-together) grown-up they see today.
this is a great idea .. i love it .
Becky Hansen says
granola bars, spare socks, a travel salt & pepper shaker, spare reading glasses
Ann M. says
I keep a Gumby figure on my desk to remind myself to be "always flexible."
Michelle D says
Rubber ducks to remind me “be a duck!”. Means to let stress (via parents/administration ) or anything else just slide off like water on a duck!!
I also keep headache pills!!!! I have gum/mints, water bottle, chocolate, "girl time" supplies, picture of me and Boyfriend and thank you cards so I can get them done right away and not forget! ?
I always have everything on the list including pepto and Imodium, the phone charger is a big hit everyone comes to me lol, my girl time supplies my co workers appreciate me for that, i keep extra dress and extra shoes. I’ve had my shoes break at work so happy I had that extra pair ????
Cathy Dugan Evert says
Lipstick of course! You don’t want to look drab in front of other staff members.
All those listed here plus baggies – both from the grocery store as well as sealable sandwich baggies. I teach secondary and it has never failed that at the most random times, and for the most random reasons, students come asking for a baggie, or I’ve used one.
Baggies are also useful in elementary grades for loose teeth that fall out.
This happens more often than you would think.
Also just plastic bags for kids that need a gym bag quick or you need to haul things home.
Sewing kit with extra buttons, lotion, toothpaste/toothbrush/floss, some kind of quick snack, deodorant, other meds like Imodium, Tums, Migraine pills, allergy meds, and a bottle of water. Basically, an overnight bag.
Kyra Knox says
I have a toothbrush, floss and toothpaste as well.
Kacy Acevedo says
Imodium is a must! It’s nearly impossible to make a run to the loo for 15 minutes for tummy issues when you are teaching.
Karen S says
Carla Keeter says
Chocolate and water bottle.
Mrs J says
Feminine supplies and chocolate!
All the other things people have named off here but one most important things I have needed over the years is yarn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use yarn to help secure a little ones pants that were too big. They always have a smile and thank you once they realize their pants aren’t going to fall down any more.
I second the yarn. Weird how often I have needed it.
Tampons, quarters, chocolate, make-up (because I have shown up to school without it on), Tums,Thank You notes, and Band Aids. ?
Kyra Knox says
Yep – I have all that, as well as a hair brush, flat iron, back-up body spray and deodorant.
I have a huge chocolate bucket – the majority of the staff knows it’s there and has visited.
Jessica Waller says
I know this is mostly for middle school teacher but all teacher might need an extra pair of clothes for all those accidents and opps its that time of the month EARLY lol
Kyra Knox says
I have spare clothes and a supply of eh-hems in case. 😉 And, that is for ME! Lol!
I keep boxes of ziptop bags in all sizes, brown paper lunch bags, and breath mints.
Robin K. says
I keep Band-Aids and safety pins in various sizes, and a locker mirror on my filing cabinet.
As a coteacher, I travel from class to class all day with my backpack. I always have band-Aids and Jolly Ranchers. They are good for sore throats, as a little reward for doing something nice, and I let the kids have one when they take tests. Kind of helps them relax and not be so anxious about the test.
Pamela Adams says
Deodorant for after recess when it is really hot. Peppermints and cough drops for kids with sore throats or lots of coughing. Tampons, pads, safety pins, sewing kit, buttons, nail clippers, emory board, hair pins, belts for saggy pants. I am ready for every emergency.
Paulette Pepin says
Extra pair of "cheater" glasses…I lose my glasses ALL the time…
Mini screwdriver set from Dollartree…great for opening up things that need batteries and quick fixes on a number of other classroom things.
Kelly Wade says
And don’t forget the actual batteries. Teachers always come to me to be rescued when battery operated stuff suddenly quits.
Mrs. B says
I think most of these suggestions are great but I can honestly say that the best thing I keep in my desk almost all year are cough drops and a Costco size bottle of Advil. Cough drops for the kids and the Advil for me. So many kids were sick this year with colds and sore throats. They were very appreciative of the cough drops. Also I buy boxes and boxes of Kleenex.
I teach Secondary, and a commonly asked for item is my Tide To Go pen!!!
Slippers, the kind that look like ballet flats! Just in case my feet start hurting! And I always have gum, mints, chocolate, glasses kit, nail clippers, nail file, tweezers, band-aids,and a host of other random things!!
I keep peppermints for upset tummies, spearmints for sore throats, chap sticks for the winter months, screwdriver kit, glasses repair kit, and Band-Aids. These items are used to made trips to the nurse few and far between. For myself, I keep lipstick, handcream, spare change for snack attacks, and as I am over fifty, pads for overactive bladder!
A desk fan from Target dollar area… I’m premenopausal… Blah hot flashes!!
Shout wipes or a tide/oxy pen. Band aids. Advil, pepto/immodium. I keep it all and more in and small plastic tote under my desk.
Small snack size packages of almonds. Good for you and a great snack for prep time. Also "To Go" packets of Lemonade ade or tea mix. Mix with a cold bottle of water for a scratchy throat.
Carolyn Saccomanno says
I agree with everything already listed (great ideas!) — and I also keep some of those heating packs filled with rice in one of my cupboards. My female students know where they are and heat them up in my microwave when they have bad cramps. The girls love them, and they stay in my classroom instead of going to the nurse!
Kris Harrell says
I also keep tums, allergy medicine, immodium, a small sewing kit, nail clippers and a sharp knife. These items are off the top of my head-I’m sure there are others I have learned to keep over the years.
Breath mints for my awful coffee breath and birthday/sympathy/congrats/blank cards for colleague and student life events.
Virginia Greene says
All teachers should have a Pikle!! I just got mine for my school bag and desk!! Check it out. !http://parties.inapikle.com/inapikle.aspx
Great article, will be adding to my shopping list. However (and maybe this has already been mentioned – haven’t read every comment yet) please don’t ever give a student any medicine or candy in the classroom, unless you have at least checked with the nurse, due to potential drug interections, allergies to ingredients, and sensitivites to food dyes, even with something as innocent as a cough drop or hard candy. One can never assume to know the preferences of the parent.
If you’re referring to the emergencies…I was thinking the same thing at first. But this is actually for the teacher to fight off sickness.
I do have #’s 1-7 in my desk. #8 would have come in handy last year, perhaps I will invest for this year:-)
This will be the first year that I have a desk, moving to a new school old one I had a cabinet but no room for extras if it didn’t fit in my purse it didn’t make it to school. I will be taking this list with me to supply my desk. One thing I will be adding is some chocolate and an extra bottle or 2 of water.
J Tsy says
Lipgloss and/or Chapstick. Not anything too brightly colored though. Easy to put on without a mirror is a must. However, I am going to buy a small "locker" mirror this year and put it on my filing cabinet which is near my desk.
Cheryln Kurz says
I have a nail file (such a life saver!), chapstick, hand sanitizer, bandaids, a screwdriver, cough drops, a mirror, hand lotion, advil, deodorant, and sanitary pads for the girls. All the girls from 4-8 know that I’m the teacher with the pads, so the teachers know that when a girl has that fearful look in her eyes, they send her to me lol!
I keep calamine lotion for ant and mosquito bites, also Vaseline with Q-tips for dry lips in Winter. It really helps to keep them in the classroom.
Altoids (for after lunch!), NIPS coffee-flavored hard candies (for a little pick-me-up), lip gloss/balm, scented lotion, loose change, small mirror.
I keep a small sewing kit with extra safety pins.
Thank you for sharing. I have basically what everyone else has said. I am surprised though that teachers give students cough drops. Our students must turn them into the clinic and cough drops are considered medicine. I’d give them a jolly rancher or a peppermint before I’d give them cough drops.
Tonia Armstrong says
I teach middle school and found that shout wipes for a stain (for you or the student). Finger nail polish remover, for when the cheerleaders forget to remove their nail polish and they have a game that day. Crackers for an upset stomach and Bath & Body Works spray mist (when girls forget theirs and they have PE).
Nail clippers and tweezers (splinters)(elementary level)
Advil, Rolaids, Static Guard, Tide-To-Go pen, hydrocortisone cream (for my eczema), water, small sewing kit, eyeglass repair kit, safety pins, tampons and sanitary pads, hard candies, cough drops.
Cathy Dugan Evert says
Tide pen – Neosporin – Band-aids – moisturizer (with no scent)
Chewable gas medicine! Nothing is worse than having gas pains during class! Lol
Melissa Schaeffer says
Band-aids, chap stick, nail file, lint roller…….
Sewing kit and Chapstick
Vaseline and q-tips for chapped lips.
We talk about this list on this week’s podcast. Please listen and spread the word! teacherbestiespodcast.tumblr.com and on iTunes under Teacher Besties
Joann Greenough says
Safety pins when your button comes off, a hem comes out or your zipper breaks and tide stick for those oops moments when you spill something on yourself
Joann Greenough says
I forgot to mention Static Guard spray for when your clothes cling to you.
Anna Lucia says
Everything- I keep everything a person could need!
Cough drops, sugar for tea, hair ties, bobby pins, brush, hairspray, DEODERANT (by the end of a hot day you will be glad to have this), lint roller, mouthwash (garlic and onions for lunch- no problem), tampons, Tylenol, and a mini makeup bag (ever have an important vistor show up in your building on the one day you decided not to give one flip about your makeup)
I also keep a "better center" for my students with QTips and Vaseline for chap lips, lotion, baby wipes(no bath? Dirty hands?) band aids, mini baggies for teeth, the wax stuff for braces…
Basically if a student or I ever wish I had something when I didn’t I made it a point to add it to my emergency baskets. This way we could all live happily ever after
Static guard! They sell mini sizes in the travel section at Target. Nothing worse than a dress that decides to cling!
Band aids, & make them fun ones, colors, patterns etc.
Pens, that you don’t mind "lending" to students & never see again.
Snacks – for hungry kids
Tissues- lots of them
Karen Talbott says
I like to keep scented lotion and chap stick.
As a female teacher of high school students, feminine hygiene products, both pads and tampons
I agree with the screwdriver. So handy! Spare change for the work soda/ snack machine, a box cutter, and a special "hallway bag" to take with me to the bathroom. It contains female supplies and a regular roll of toilet paper. That school grade stuff isn’t good enough on certain days. 😉 A couple travel mugs. You can never have enough cups with lids. Lastly a basic small flower vase for when some of my darlings bring me flowers they found at the bus stop or for Valentines Day!
I have an Allen Wrench to fix those sqeaky trapezoid desks during test talking.
C. Aguirre says
I have an emergency small sewing kit. It has saved me a couple of times. Also a travel size hand cream. After messing with chalk, during the day I need hand cream.
Pics of your family, loved ones. We all have those days when we need a little pick me up.
Cough drops, Band Aids and a multi purpose tool!!
Fingernail clippers, lint roller, mentos for upset tummies, cough drops, q-tips
don’t forget band aids for that annoying paper cut or that child who needs a little TLC and approaches you with the tiniest prick on their finger.
We don’t have desks so I’d just be happy to have one of them. And even if we did have our desks back, the majority of things people have suggested in the comments; nail files, nail scissors, sewing kit, screwdriver etc, we’d definitely never have in our classrooms anyway.
Post it notes
I keep an extra makeup bag for of the essentials. This way on days with conferences, Back To School Night, etc. I don’t have to bring my makeup from home. Also have gum, mints, a nail file, extra contacts, a tool box, and extra k-cups & tea.
Needle and thread! Oh, and an emery board
stain stick / double sided tape
Aquaphore and WD-40
Kathy Fritze says
Extra pair of earrings in case you lose one of a pair. Just used my emergency extra earrings this week when I discovered one was missing.
In my desk, I wouldn’t be without a nail file, tube of lip moisturizer, granola bars, favorite tea bags, a small hammer and screw driver, a roll of magnetic tape, and a box or two of note cards (especially Thank you cards).
Tissues, stapler, pencil sharpener, hole punch
Bandaids! It is SO much easier, faster, etc. to just give a kid one then to send them to the nurse. Plus, when your shoes rub your heels or toes raw!
Spray deodorant (boys and girls). My students use it all the time!
Shout wipes, safety pins, and a small sewing kit of prethreaded needles.
Tooth brush, toothpaste and floss! It comes very handy after lunch!
Duct tape and Safety pins
Mrs. S. says
I keep screwdrivers in my desk drawer – can’t tell you how many times I (or another teacher) have needed them. I keep packs of peanut butter or cheese crackers for those kids who about to starve to death, and the best way to become the favorite teacher in the whole school is to have phone chargers for the kids to borrow. I have one that fits all phone types.
I just finished my first semester of student teaching and my Cooperating Teacher shared her brilliant idea with me that saves her a lot of headache and time during the winter season. Students always complain of chapped/cracked lips, and become very uncomfortable which in turn causes their focus and engagement on the lesson to decrease 🙁 So her solution is keeping a jar of Vaseline in her desk along with q-tips so students can relieve that pain. I thought that was so great and it’s definitely something I’ll utilize in my future classroom one day! Hope you like it, and that it helps some of you out!
Bandaid, Vaseline, Carmex, cough drops, dental floss, spray deodorant, alcohol wipes, first-aid spray, Neosporin, Benadryl cream, air freshener, pocket mirror, rubber bands, lotion, tissues, Qtips, Advil, iPhone charger..:as you can see, I try to be fully prepared for the students and for myself!
Blissful Teacher essential oil mist!
Lip gloss or chapstick, hand lotion, and room spray to cover sweaty kid smell after lunch.
Nail clippers — there are constant hangnails in my world.
Hot glue gun
Toothbrush, toothpaste, Listerine, first aid kit, screwdriver, nail file, Goo Be Gone, Lysol Wipes, double sided tape (much of my wall space is brick and nothing sticks to it but double sided tape), chocolate (for my sanity), eye glass repair kit for my glasses and students, safety pins, body spray, skin lotion, packing tape, hair ties.
After being thrown up on….twice, I always keep a change of clothes just in case.
Paper lunch bags…for students to throw their snotty Kleenexes in while at their desk.
Mackenzie Elizabeth says
This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing!
A mini sewing kit. There is always s hole somewhere!
Candle & matches (hidden or locked away)
…for that day the unorganised parent brings in only the uncut cake.
Chapstick/vaseline, mints/gum, dental floss, fingernail file and clippers and hand sanitizer.
Magic mints. Great for "my tummy hurts"
Chapstick and hand lotion for those cold recess duty days.
Patti Anderson says
Tums, Pepto Bismal and Musinex.
Kindergarten Teacher says
Chocolate; lots of chocolate for those long school days especially during testing and no specials, bandages, body mist, tums, advil and sweets for teachers in need of an energy booster,antibacterial, swifter, lysol spray and air freshener for throw ups in the classroom, snacks.
I keep headphones, so my students who listen to music when they’re doing independent work can borrow them if they want.
Deodorant for the hot sweaty days of no air conditioner and a flashlight for the days when there is no power and my little ones need to use the restroom but are afraid of the dark.
Paperclips, bullclips, tissuebox, hand sanitizer, floor fanfan and coasters for all visiting teachers…
Alexa Haman says
I teach Kinders — I like to have extra mittens on hand for kiddos who forget theirs — plus lots of plastic grocery bags so they can bring home wet/soiled clothes from recess. Also extra crayons & markers, AND my oft-used crayon sharpener. Baby wipes are a must too, plus lots of stickers and/or stamps to put on their completed work. Everyone’s suggestions were great!
1. Notepad: Now/Later
2. Tylenol (headache) & Advil (Pain)
3. Sauce & ketchups
6. Little speaker
7. Hair tie
8. Energy drink
My first year teaching I went to the dollar store and created a classroom tool box. It included a hammer, screwdrivers, small sewing kit, safety pins, glue gun, velcro strips, a long lighter, eyeglass kit, bungee cord, ans bandaids. My whole team comes to me for my kit.
Noelle Pickering says
This is an awesome idea!
Echoing the sewing kit! More than once have I taught a whole class lesson while sewing buttons back on coats or tears in favorite shirts (after the student changed into a spare, of course!).
– Post its (because I cant remember everything)
– Ditto lip balm and deotorant
– Candy (for me or to bribe middle schoolers)
– hand sanatizer for me and kids
– picture of europe (for when the mind needs 2 seconds to escape)
– union rep email and # (just in case)
Melissa (Giggles ;) says
I actually created a welcome back “toolbox” for my teammates with many of the same afore mentioned items purchased from the dollar store. I also include in my desk, velcro , Goo Gone (to remove sticky residue from things taped on desks), WD40 for those squeaky doors and desks (especially good during testing taking times!)sweetner and powdered creamer (seems to always run out in the teacher’s lounge-many have come to me for saving!), shaving cream (cleans desks safely and effectively, plus it smells good too–those fifth graders, ugh!).
I also keep a frog sitting on my desk to remember, during those tough times, to F-ully R-ely O-n G-od!
Good luck in the coming school year!!
Noelle Pickering says
This is a fabulous idea! I love it!
sci teacher says
reusable cold pack to keep in mini fridge (or freezer) – saves A LOT of unnecessary trips to the nurse.
I keep lots of the aforementioned items, but I don’t think I saw extra lead for mechanical pencils. I keep some of all kinds and give students a few pieces if they run out.
Microwavable oatmeal and pasta. Great if you or a student forgets a lunch.
I also keep a lot of the items above but also keep body spray to freshen up with, hair spray and a brush to pull up hair when needed. Baby powder (small one) to put in shoes if really hot. I keep a case of bottled water in my room along with packets of mixes to add for different flavors. Hot glue gun for minor quick repairs. Gum, mints, toothpicks.
My students and colleagues always come to me when they need something because the chances are that I have it in my desk. One thing that I did not read in any of the comments is a Tide to Go pen. I can’t tell you how many times it has been used.
A Tide-to-Go pen and a magnet/picture with an uplifting saying that makes you smile. 🙂
Deodorant, Advil, nail file, lip balm, tic tacs, plastic spoons, 2 sided screw driver, allen wrenches, packing tape dispenser.
Eileen Benjamin says
Eileen Benjamin says
I like to keep a nail file in my desk. Jagged edges drive me crazy!
Safety pins. I don’t have time to sew buttons on during the day, but a safety pin will save me from an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in a pinch!
As one who has experienced that wardrobe malfunction, I must agree. One day when I was a substitute, all the buttons of my skirt fell off. Fortunately, I was sitting at a chair. I sent a kid down to the home ec teacher. All she had were safety pins. Well, that at least kept me from loosing my skirt completely.
Daphne corneil says
Kind notes and letters from ex-students and parents. For those dark and dismal days when you feel like you aren’t making a difference– a reminder that others think you already have.
I have a lot of these things but also Shout Stain Wipes. Faculty and staff know I have them and have come looking for them. They are always very thankful when they spill on their clothes and can clean it instead of wearing their shame all day!
Sewing kit ang special band aids ????!
Non-perishable, microwaveable food, for those days you forget to bring your lunch. Also, quick little snacks.
Lori Wilson says
I have taught High School up to this point, but I’ll be starting at a new school teaching MS, and in anticipation of those sticky days outside during their recess, I have purchased Febreze (I always think I smell like “outside” after coming in). I also always keep a jacket on my chair, and one of those cheap blankets from Walmart in my desk just in case I can’t seem to get warm. I also plan to keep a couple pairs of gripped socks in my desk for comfort and warmth to use in my classroom.
I’ve also always kept a mug for my tea and hot cocoa. Idk why things taste so much better when you have familiar items.
Guys!!! This is awesome! I’m still in college but I’m already thinking about a classroom kit!
Pam Galloway says
Thank you for all these wonderful suggestions and reminders. I’ve been without a classroom for a year and changing schools to sharing a classroom this year. One thing, as a Theatre Director, I always wind up needing: TAPE! Plain, double sided, wide clear packing, blue painters, duck, washi…amazing how you’ll have a need for these various types!
John Ayala says
I have one of those small tool kits with everything, nails, screws, in a cabinet; at my desk, tums definitely, chapstick, I like Badger Balm, Altoids, granola bars, baby wipes, eyed drops, water bottle, band-aids a must.
Double sided-tape is a must, great for when a blouse doesn’t fit quite right and a million other uses. I have several phone chargers in my room and let my students charge their phones, provided they leave them there at the charging station. Definitely a first aid kit to avoid nurse trips for paper cuts. Recently I found some reusable rubber zip-tie-like things. Great for organizing all of the wires and securing them to desk legs so I don’t trip on them. Lots of great tips here, I will be adding a few more!
I have an inconspicuous zipper bag with pads in the for girls to fall back on if they run out of supplies or get surprised. It’s hidden in a place which the boys don’t know!! I also have extra mascara and an eye pencil (for when I don’t hit enough red lights on the way to school!), and a mini toolkit (hammer, nails, putty knife, screw driver, etc)
A timer for kids complete their work
I have lip balm, nail files, cough drops, deodorant, lotions, Tide-to-go pen, After-bite stick (those pesky mosquitos always find their way in), feminine products (tampons for me, pads for my sophomore girls), Colgate Wisps, mints, sewing kit, safety pins, SEVERAL empty water bottles (the water fountain is right outside my room, and I somehow always lose a water bottle or take it home), phone chargers (both lightning and micro-USB), Febreze (for when that ONE sub sits in my chair…), plastic utensils, coffee k-cups and tea bags (I have a Mini Keurig for coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon), wax melter and a wide variety of scents (sometimes I’ll let the first student in the room in the morning choose the scent for the day), emergency chocolate (duh), hand sanitizer, Advil, extra face-powder and oil blotting sheets (I’m so ridiculously oily), and a little travel brush with mirror. I also keep a simple black Columbia fleece on my chair, as well as some of my husband’s extra hoodies/sweaters for when my kids are cold. This year, I actually had to buy a small heater – the AC in my room was basically on full blast from October until April. I’m in Austin, TX, but it still gets cold! I also have a little fan for when the AC isn’t working… I’m just about prepared for every situation!
I’d add the following
–At least one full bottle of water. If I don’t start the day with a full bottle or two, I rarely find the time to fill my bottle since I am the sole teacher in my full day classroom.
–A box of tissues and bottle of sanitizer – early childhood, enough said.
— Thank you cards – a little appreciation immediately beats a great deal of tardy praise.
Cute and comfy slippers for those times when my shoes begin hurting my feet. Always deoderant and a change of clothes for me, as well as spray deoderant for students. Band-Aids. Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and Neosporin. Tums/Rolaids. Excedrin migraine and motrin. Scented candles which have never been lit, but provide subtle fragrance for years. Two kinds of chocolate: student chocolate and teacher chocolate. Students know not to even look at the teacher chocolate! And I have Ebola… A wacky miniature stuffed animal that looks like an Ebola cell. The kids love that thing. I know, weird. Got it from a colleague one Christmas.
The Dollar Tree has a Hallmark line of greeting cards that are nice and 2 for a dollar. It’s great to have birthday/sympathy/get well cards on hand for staff members. I keep some in my desk drawer for those life events for that occur during the year.
A warm sweater (or shawl); seasonal allergy medication; some subject-related movies (I teach high school art, so I have a few: Big Eyes, Wasteland, Loving Vincent, Exit Through The Gift Shop, to name a few); needle and thread; band aids; an umbrella (saved my life a few times!).