Teachers and educators of all kinds are the real-life superheroes of the world that bring an abundance of knowledge, kindness, empathy, and so much more to young minds every year. Along with supplies for the classroom, teachers themselves need lots of supplies to equip their classroom and to do their job every day. So, what do they need?
Teacher Bag Essentials
Teachers and educators need so many items and products to get them through their day teaching young minds. If you are a teacher or are becoming a teacher and don’t have a large tote bag or shoulder bag yet for the school year, a great starting point would be to get one to fill with all the things you are going to need every day. Almost all school districts will give you a laptop or computer to work from that might have to travel home with you some days or during school vacations, so make sure your bag is big enough for it. Along with that, you want to make sure you include a planner or calendar of some sort to organize all the things and events you have going on such as conferences, teacher development days, and appointments. Teachers have lots of things to remember, so being organized is important. Next, you are going to need space for personal care items and snacks to keep you going throughout the day, as well as gum for a minty refresh after lunchtime. Having spare cash on you just in case of an emergency is always helpful, as well as items such as Advil, Chapstick, stain remover, hair bands and a basic first aid kit for any accidents that might happen. Along with your bag, be sure to have a large reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated, and a fashionable yet functional lunch bag to stick in the teacher’s lounge. Coffee is also a must, as being with children of any age can burn you out quick! All in all, being with children of any age for six plus hours per day can result in anything, so you want to be prepared for all of it.
Lots of Supplies, Big Reward
Teachers need lots of supplies for many different reasons, but at the end of the day, those silly items you might not think to have might help a fellow teacher or a student at school.
Have you ever met a teacher that didn’t have what you needed in his or her desk or always had a quick fix to help solve a wardrobe or hair malfunction? Teachers of all grade levels always seem to have the solution to any type of problem that can come about during the day. Things like sewing kits, phone chargers, hair bands, feminine hygiene products, and anything else you can think of; a teacher probably has it or knows what to use to help you. Having these supplies in their desks or schoolbags is just another way teachers show care and love towards their students to help them grow into being empathetic and independent members of society. Students spend so much of their time with teachers and people they look up to at school, and by having supplies to help them with good or bad situations will benefit the students in the long run, because they will remember those teachers for that.
Needing lots of items and products can sometimes feel like constant clutter, but teachers leave a lasting impression on their students in many ways. Students will always remember a teacher who always has spoons for snack time, always had an extra pencil for a test, and a stash of candy in a special bucket for when someone is sad. So, if you’re an educator and think your desk is overflowing with random things, it’s actually overflowing with compassion, kindness, and love for your students that just looks like a bunch of random stuff.
The Teacher’s Territory
The teacher’s desk supply list can be lengthy, as the desk houses lots of school supplies, snacks, personal care items or even products that can help in an any kind of emergency. If they have room, some teachers can put a mini refrigerator under their desk or in the surrounding area to keep drinks and their lunch cold without having to put it in the teacher’s lounge. Having items such as extra pencils, markers, paper clips and staplers are essential for a teacher to have in their desk area for grading assignments or if a student forgets something to write with. Locks are also an item most people don’t think about for a teacher’s desk, which is important to use to lock away gradebooks or other information about students that shouldn’t be out in the open. A bulk supply of feminine hygiene products are great to have in or around your desk if you have students going through puberty just in case an emergency happens while at school. All in all, the teacher’s territory can be like a convenient store: your students’ one-stop shop for anything they might need during the school day. It might be a hair tie one day, or a big hug or a high-five the next day.
The First Year Teacher’s First List
- Writing utensils of all kinds: pencils, markers, crayons, dry-erase markers, pens, and anything else you can think of.
- Different types of paper: index cards, Post-it notes, construction paper, printer paper, lined paper, and even mini expo dry-erase boards for math time.
- Desk supplies like tape, paper clips, stapler, scissors, and Wite Out for any mistakes!
- A large desk calendar for making notes of events and appointments
- A planner for all your daily to-do’s
- Folders or binders for lesson plans and different subjects
- Gradebook or way to keep track of assignments and progress
- Bins for assignments or mailboxes for each student
- Avery Labels
- Charts, posters, or calendars for students to see on the walls everyday
- Name tags for their desks, depending on the grade level
- Classroom decorations to match a theme, or a season of the year
- Books for different reading levels within your students’ age group
- Rulers, protractors, and calculators based on grade level
- Large easel white board for morning messages
Organizing the Chaos
Organization can be difficult for some, or is something that comes naturally. Either way, finding a way to organize your classroom supplies (and your brain) will help you stay calm and sane during the busy months of the school year. Here are some tips on how to keep your supplies organized:
- Checklists: Before you tackle the multitude of your school supplies, you can ease into organizing them by making a to-do list and separating items based on personal tasks and work tasks. Checking things off or crossing them out can make you feel accomplished and ready for the next day and can allow you to consider which tasks are more important and which ones can wait.
- Cleaning up: Tidying up your classroom before you leave for the night. This one can be so helpful for the morning rush into school. If your classroom is picked up and ready for the next day, you can feel more organized and put together when the new day starts.
- Make labels: Making labels for all your classroom supplies and desk supplies can be helpful when you are in a rush to find something and ensures that everything has its own place in your room. If you are looking for a fast and easy way to hand-write or print out labels for all of the supplies in your classroom, Avery labels are a great way of keeping your student’s work organized.
- Separate: Organize assignments and activities into separate binders. This will help you keep track of all the lessons, worksheets, homework, and test materials if you teach multiple subjects during the day. For teachers of older students, keep one binder per class period you are teaching to keep all the students’ work in the same place.
Money, Time, and Energy: All for Student Success
It can be difficult to figure out what to spend your classroom budget on because there is a lot to think about when it comes to students’ success and the supplies they need. Usually, the school district will provide a budget for spending on supplies for the classroom, but teachers have to determine the best and most fit way to spend the money on things they need to help their students grow. Teachers can spend this money by replacing old and outdated supplies that don’t work well anymore, such as markers that have dried out, or new math activities, some additional books for the classroom library, and maybe a holiday craft activity to send home to parents, or new supplies for the reading corner. As always, these examples can differ based on what grade level you teach and the maturity levels of your students, but one thing remains the same: you can never have too much when it comes to classroom supplies.
The List that Keeps on Growing
Teachers don’t need to replenish and upgrade all their supplies every year, but some items naturally make it onto the list of teacher supplies that could use an update. Items that might need to be replaced can be markers and Sharpies, dry-erase markers, crayons, and other writing instruments that no longer get the job done. Things like bulletin board supplies and new arts and craft supplies might need to be refreshed before the school year begins as well to give your classroom a fresh makeover. Cleaning supplies and paper products such as paper towels and tissues can be helpful to purchase in bulk once per year so it will last you until the final bell rings. Your to-do list may never seem to get shorter, but your classroom supply list can by shopping from W.B. Mason for everything you need all in one place.
Where, Oh Where Can I Buy Classroom Supplies?
You can buy classroom supplies from retailers, online stores, or even drugstores if you are in a pinch, but W.B. Mason has thousands of products from teacher-approved brands at discounted low prices with fast delivery, so don’t you even flinch. If you have a long teacher classroom supplies list and don’t want to go from store to store, check out W.B. Mason for anything you need and more!
Always A Lesson. A List of ‘MUST HAVE’ Supplies for a FIRST YEAR Teacher. (alwaysalesson.com/a-list-of-must-have-supplies-for-a-first-year-teacher) Accessed July 7, 2022.
Teach For America. 17 Essential Supplies for New Teachers. (www.teachforamerica.org/stories/17-essential-supplies-for-new-teachers) Accessed July 6, 2022.
Teaching Made Practical. Classroom Supplies Elementary Teachers Can’t Do Without. (teachingmadepractical.com/classroom-supplies-teachers-cant-do-without) Accessed July 7, 2022.