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.