When thinking about must-have teacher items, I always think about school supplies. School supplies are one of my favorite things in the entire world. Throw me in the office supply aisle and I could browse those shiny, beautiful pens and notebooks for way longer than the average human being. Same goes for most teachers. In fact, I'd wager a large sum that school supplies play a major role in many teachers' decisions to pursue their profession.
Let's forget about the Sharpies and the Flairs for today. They are like the popular, athletic older siblings who always get the attention. I'm here to talk about the younger siblings: the lesser known, yet equally important school supplies that all teachers need but no one ever talks about.
Each image is clickable if you want your very own random teacher item!
Teacher Must-Have Item #1: Apple Slicer
Listen. I realize this might not qualify as a necessity to many of you, but I put this as #1 on my list for a reason. If you are entertaining the idea of doing anything apple-related this year in your classroom [Johnny Appleseed Day, crockpot applesauce, apple taste testing], for the love of all things holy, get yourself an apple corer. As a young and naive rookie teacher, cutting apple slices for 28 first graders was enough to make me second-guess my entire career.
Teacher Must-Have Item #2: Super glue
Ahh yes. Super glue. You might only need it once a year, but when you need it, you *really* need it. Things breaking is pretty much a daily occurrence in a classroom, and while many things can be a quick fix with the help of scotch tape, duct tape, or a hot glue gun, super glue is the mother of all fixers when nothing else can be done.
Teacher Must-Have Item #3: Magic Erasers
If I could marry an inanimate object, it would be a magic eraser. Not the fancy kind, though. I'd marry the off-brand kind because they do just as good of a job for like a fourth of the price. I think the generic term is ‘melamine sponge', and you can get ONE HUNDRED of them on Amazon for like, twelve bucks. If you are thinking, “Erin, what in the world am I going to do with 100 magic sponges?”, I am here to ask you, “Friend, what in the world CAN'T you do with 100 magic sponges?”
Magic erasers can remove Sharpie from anything, clean a dingy dry erase board like nobody's business, remove sticker residue, take stains off fabric, clean computer keyboards…basically if you hate cleaning something, Magic erasers will do it for you. My personal favorite: cutting them in half and keeping them for kids to use on desks and dry erase boards. I also love using them to wipe off the learning lanyards we use.
Teacher Must-Have Item #4: Lint Roller
Listen. Lint rollers take care of a *lot* of business that you won't want to. I'm talking unidentified objects on the carpet, eraser shavings everywhere, and of course the pesky crumbs that seem to beckon a colony of ants in less than 5 minutes. AND GLITTER. Enough said. Get a lint roller. Get 5.
Teacher Must-Have Item #5: Plastic Utensils
Raise your hand if you've ever done the walk of shame from the lounge or your classroom alllllll the way to the cafeteria to get the spork packet with the dinky napkin. Yes? Okay, then. Do yourself a favor and grab a box of utensils (disposable is fine, but reusable ones are better) to keep on hand in your classroom. It will give you the gift of 3 extra minutes of lunch, which we all know is precious.
Teacher Must-Have Item #6: Extra Coat
If you're anything like me, you often rush out the door in the morning and think to yourself “Ehh, it's a little chilly, but it's only 2 feet from my door to my car, so I'll be fine.” That logic works well until you have a 20 minute recess staring you down and you realize the wind chill has dropped considerably. In a pinch, Lost and Found coats work well, but you should probably just bring in an old coat from home. This one is especially warm for those windy, cold days.
Teacher Must-Have Item #7: Extra Sunglasses
Perhaps the greatest teacher travesty is heading out to recess on a gorgeous, sunny day and realizing you forgot your sunglasses at home or in your car. THE WORST. I eventually resorted to stocking up on dollar store sunglasses and it was the best decision I made that year. These are also an amazing option:
Teacher Must-Have Item #8: Batteries
This is pretty much a life hack to live by. There will be many moments in your life when you need to do something that requires batteries and–you guessed it–no batteries. A variety pack will suit you well in this situation. Just keep them on a high shelf in a cabinet where your students can't reach them.
Teacher Must-Have Item #9: Greeting Cards (and stamps)
Here's a little secret: I always have the *best* intentions when it comes to sending cards, but the minute I realize I don't have a card to send, I usually just don't. I know, I'm terrible. Everyone has birthdays, and you want to be prepared when it's someone's special day. Whether they are in your building, or your grandma in Florida, everyone appreciates a card. Also, stamps. Because those long distance cards aren't going to mail themselves. I love this set because it includes birthday cards, thank-you cards, and some that are blank inside–always a good option!
Although, a little humor never hurt either.
Teacher Must-Have Item #10: Sidewalk Chalk
This is just a fun one to have when you are feeling
like you all need to get the hell out of the classroom spontaneous. You can easily tie chalk into any lesson you are doing. Math time? Write rainbow facts on the pavement! Literacy block? Here kids, take your sight word lists outside and go to town! For real though? Sidewalk chalk is a win for everyone.
Teacher Must-Have Item #11: Cash
Cash is always a good idea. I like to keep $20 in a variety of denominations for staff fundraisers, trips to the vending machine, Fridays when we order lunch in, and in the fall when an unnamed member of our staff runs a football gambling pool. Like I said, necessities.
Teacher Must-Have Item #12: Change of Clothes
I'm talking everything: underwear, bra, shirt, socks, shoes, pants. You just never know when the need might arise, but I'm here to tell you that when the need for new clothes DOES arise, you'll want it immediately. #kidsthrowingup
Teacher Must-Have Item #13: Toiletries + Personal Items
This is kind of a no-brainer to me, so my only advice is to gather a kit of travel-sized things to keep in your teacher cabinet. Obvious items like deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, contact solution, extra contacts and cases, chapstick, cough drops, mints, dental floss, nail clipper, nail file, lotion, ibuprofen, hair brush, gum, etc. I even went so far as to buy a few duplicates of my makeup to keep at school after the day I arrived having forgotten to apply mascara.
Teacher Must-Have Item #14: Fanny Pack
There is a very divided camp of people who think fanny packs ARE “coming back” and others who will still not be caught dead in one of these retro pouches. Regardless of your stance, you should give fanny packs a try. Because you know where being cool doesn't matter? An elementary classroom. These suckers are perfect for writing workshop when you can't juggle all the pens, sticky notes, and highlighters. A lot of teachers I grew up with wore aprons, which serve the same purpose and probably hold more. Pick your poison!
There you have it! Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments! Use the buttons below to share this with your teacher friends!