To start the school off on the right foot, take note of these new teacher must haves.
These essentials will make your teaching life a bit easier.
What Supplies Do Teachers Need Most?
1. Water Bottle
You may not have the time to visit the water fountain frequently throughout the school day.
So it’s best to carry a compact water bottle.
Fill it early in the morning, and you’ll have fresh water at your disposal whenever you need a quick drink.
Make a habit of carrying your water bottle to recess duty, lunch duty, everywhere.
If you’re particular about always having cold water, simply use a thermos instead as It keeps water refreshingly cold.
2. Hygiene Items
Do you sometimes dread going to the staff bathroom because the person just before you has LIT-IT-UP with the most abominable smell?
Or maybe you’re the culprit! (ha ha!)
Let’s all raise our hands in agreement to get rid of poop smell!
Try Poo~pourri, the “Before-You-Go” toilet spray.
Poo~pourri gives you the freedom to drop a load (or two) without shame, worry, or fear that your colleague coming after you will give you the stink face for leaving that “lovely” residual smell.
Carry a small bottle of Poo~pourri with you when you go to the potty, or be kind and leave a bottle in the staff bathroom.
On another note…
Keep a stash of tampons (or whichever feminine products you use) somewhere in your desk drawer.
3. Rolling Book Bag
Prevent backache with a rolling teacher bag.
While I don’t advocate taking too much work home, when you do need to do so, rolling it away instead of carrying it does wonders.
You can find fashionable rolling teaching bags online for a decent price.
4. Thank You Cards
A simple thank you goes a long way and is very much appreciated.
Whenever someone in the school community, whether it be a parent, colleague, whomever, does something nice for you, why not give them a simple thank you note?
A handwritten thank you card adds a personal touch.
5. Paper Filing Pocket Chart
Not yet ready to invest your money into a bunch of baskets for organizing your paper system?
Until you come up with a more set system, use the following simple-to-use paper filing pocket chart.
It hangs easily on the wall. Each little slot has a place to insert a label.
Place in the individual slots graded papers, papers to be distributed to students, lesson plans, notes to go home, homework, etc.
6. Heavy-Duty Pencil Sharpener
Elementary teachers know all too well that pencils can be such a pain to manage and handle.
It’s like they just grow legs and walk.
Add to that the task of keeping them sharpened!
Though students usually have one of those small student-friendly pencil sharpeners at their disposal, it’s a good idea to also have at least one heavy-duty, kid-proof pencil sharpener for your classroom.
Also be sure to purchase one that sharpens colored-pencils as well.
In the teaching world, we all need someone that we can talk to during the good and bad times.
Before you blindly trust someone at your job because they seem “nice”, “vet” them first by observing their actions over a period of time.
After a while, you’ll be able to see, feel, and have a gut intuition of whom you can trust. Furthermore, you need to vibe with that person.
Also find someone who will allow you to vent without judgement.
An ear to listen without judgement is such a blessing.
When you find this person, be thankful for them, show them gratitude, and reciprocate those good vibes.
A support system such as this is one of the new teacher must-haves that’s going to keep you going smoothly along the journey of ups and downs experienced in the teaching life.
8. EZ Grader
An EZ Grader is one of those classroom essentials that can save you quite a bit of time and headache when it comes to grading.
9. Lunch Bag
A reusable, washable lunch bag is ideal for carrying your lunch and/or snacks.
10. Healthy Snacks
Keep in your desk drawer a small stash of healthy snacks…dried fruit, nuts, granola, whatever it is that will keep well throughout the day and provide that quick energy boost when you need it.
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11. Colorful Pens
Some years ago, I attended a workshop where the presenter encouraged teachers not to use red pen when grading.
Because red is associated with aggressiveness and negativity, he stated that red pen caused kids to become more anxious and agitated.
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but every since that time, I’ve only used non-red, “colorful” pens for marking student work.
No more bloody, anxiety-inducing red!
Purple, lime green, blue, and pink pens are my current favs.
Students like the look of them, too!
Plus, using colorful pens weirdly makes grading a bit more exciting (if that’s even possible).
To minimize cheating and/or provide students privacy when taking a test, try durable, kid-friendly test-dividers.
These guard-your-work dividers work especially well for spelling tests and any other major assessments that require independent work.
13. Emergency Lesson Plans
As much as we plan our lives, the inevitable happens.
That’s why it’s a must-have as a new teacher to create a really good set of emergency lesson plans.
Admittedly, it’s a lot of work upfront to create emergency lesson plans, but you’ll have peace-of-mind knowing they’re there.
Working one-on-one with students, working in small groups, walking around facilitating, going to staff meetings, etc…
There are always situations where you need to take notes quickly and easily.
A simple clipboard is your answer.
And while you’re at it, grab a set for your whole class because your students will be able to use them conveniently during learning centers and independent work.
15. Contact Paper
Contact paper is like tape on steroids and is a great new teacher must-have to have in decent supply.
It works extremely well to secure name tags, classroom library basket labels, and anything else you need to stay in place.
16. Favorite Read Aloud Books
Your favorite real aloud books are great for building connections and rapport with students at the beginning of the school year.
You have the opportunity to ignite great conversation and break the ice a bit, which are especially important on the first days of school.
Consequently, students become motivated to participate and share more during reader’s workshop.
Will you have the dreaded recess duty?
If so, put a whistle on your new teacher must-haves list.
18. Glue Gun
A glue gun comes in handy for all of those festive crafts or classroom decoration ideas.
You probably won’t use it too often, but when needed, you’ll be happy to have it on hand.
Additional New Teacher Must-Haves for Home
19. Portable Filing Accordion Organizer
During the teaching hiring process, you’re often in contact with Human Resources departments, getting all of your paperwork in order.
Keep all of those papers safe and sound in a portable filing folder.
Label each section: medical insurance, contract, pension info., professional development, tax forms such as W-4, etc.
Putting all of your professional paperwork in order like this keeps your important paperwork organized.
20. Lap Desk
If you need to do a bit of work at home but would rather not sit at a desk, why not use a lap desk instead?
A sturdy, wooden lap desk allows you to work comfortably on your couch or even in bed.
When you’re lesson planning at home, you may at times want to print a couple of copies of something without waiting until you get to school to do so.
This small action can have a big impact in saving time.
Print an original copy at home, and then go straight to the copier once you arrive to school.
No need to make a pit-stop first to your classroom computer to send the document to the Xerox machine.
Compared to even a few years ago, good, basic printers are pretty affordable.
They “pay” you back in so many ways because they make your teaching life easier.
22. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff Book
When you need nuggets of wisdom and guidance, check out Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson.
This book will give you the energy and motivation you need to keep going in this profession when things feel too overwhelming or uncertain.
One of the most important new teacher must haves is a very nice business-casual wardrobe.
Even if your school has a relaxed dress code, a professional image is still what you want to project.
Comfortable and stylish options for teachers exist, and you don’t have to break the bank to look the part.
Check out these websites for affordable, comfortable, and professional clothes and shoes for teachers:
24. Favorite “Thing” that Helps You to Relax
As a new teacher, you’re probably going to experience longer-than-usual work days until you find your flow and rhythm.
Once you have your systems in place, go home right after school, DISCONNECT, and do something that helps you to relax.
Have a glass (or two!) of wine, listen to wind-down music, spend time with family, watch TV, read a book, sleep, go bike riding, cook, exercise, etc.
It’s these moments that are going to recharge your soul, mind, and body so that you face yet another day in the classroom with confidence, calmness, and happiness.
25. New Teacher Supply Kit
Within this new teacher must-haves post, you probably noticed that I didn’t mention all of the very common items like pencils, rulers, a staple, hole punch, rubber bands, etc.
You need those items, of course, but it’s kind of understood that you’ll have them on hand.
Wrapping Up: What Every First Teacher Should Have
These are my 25 new-teacher must have recommendations; these classroom essentials will make your teaching life easier.
Wishing you a fabulous year