41 New Teacher Must Haves That Won’t Break the Bank

Head into your first year prepared and confident by making sure that you have the essential items on this list of new teacher must haves.

A great tip and piece of advice for first year teachers is to have on-hand a few items that will drastically improve classroom productivity day to day.

That’s where this list comes in.

This isn’t just a random list of classroom must haves; it’s a collection of supplies new teachers actually need and that will set them up for success.

Not only are these new teacher must have supplies affordable, they’re easily accessible and many of the items endure a significant amount of time.

So get a hold of these new teacher classroom must haves (most can be found on Amazon).

They’ll make your teaching life easier.

New Teacher Must Haves

Wondering what to buy a first year teacher? Here’s a list of what materials a teacher should have.

This list of must haves is appropriate for student teachers plus primary, middle, and high school teachers.

1. Water Bottle or Thermos

A sturdy water bottle is good to have at your disposal whenever you need a quick drink.

2. Stash of Hygiene Items

For the ladies, keep a stash of tampons, tissues, sanitizer, and hand wipes in your desk drawer for unexpected emergencies.

3. Rolling Teacher Bag

Prevent backache by carrying all of your graded papers and supplies in a fashionable rolling teacher bag.

4. Thank You Cards

Whenever someone in the school community does something nice for you, show appreciation by giving them a handwritten thank you note.

5. Paper Filing Pocket Chart

This versatile pocket chart easily hangs on the wall, and each slot has a place to insert a label.

Use it for stashing graded papers, student supplies, manipulatives, read-aloud books, etc.

classroom organization ideas
new teacher must haves

6. Heavy-Duty Pencil Sharpener

Though students usually possess those small, hand-held pencil sharpeners, consider purchasing at least one heavy-duty one for your classroom.

7. Mentor

In this profession, a support system is something that’s going to help keep you sane as you journey along in your teaching career.

8. EZ Grader

An EZ Grader is a classroom essential that reduces the amount of time you spend grading.

9. Lunch Bag

A reusable, washable lunch bag is ideal for carrying your lunch and/or snacks.

10. Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, and granola store well plus provide that quick energy boost when you need it.

Related Content: First Day of School Checklist for Teachers

11. Colorful Pens

Make grading a little less boring by using pens that come in an array of colors such as purple, lime green, blue, and pink.

12. Test-Dividers

Of all the new teacher must haves, this one is going to save your sanity.

To minimize cheating and/or provide students with privacy when taking a test, try test-dividers. They also serve well during independent work.

new teacher must haves

13. Emergency Lesson Plans

It’s vital that new teachers create a really good set of emergency lesson plans. Though preparing them takes a bit of work upfront, the peace-of-mind gained is priceless.

14. Clipboards

Clipboards are perfect for taking notes, one-on-one instruction, and small groups.

Purchase a set for your whole class. Students love to grab one to use during learning centers and independent work.

15. Contact Paper

Contact paper is like tape on steroids and is a fantastic new teacher must have.

Use it to secure name tags, classroom library basket labels, and anything else that needs to stay in place.

16. Favorite Read-Aloud Books

Collect a few of your favorite real-aloud books to share with learners during mini-lessons.

17. Whistle

Whether to grab students’ attention at recess, lunch, or carpool duty, a whistle is a great addition to your new teacher must have supplies list.

18. Glue Gun

A glue gun comes in handy for festive crafts and classroom decoration ideas.

You probably won’t use it too often, but when needed, you’ll be happy to have it on hand.

19. Portable Filing Accordion Organizer

Keep all of your important work papers in a portable filing folder.

Suggested labels include medical insurance, contract, pension info., professional development, tax forms, etc.

20. Lap Desk

Comfortably grade papers or write lesson plans in bed or on the couch using a lap desk.

Related Content: Back-to-School Teacher Hacks

21. Printer

When you’re lesson planning at home, you may sometimes want to print a couple of copies of something without waiting until you get to school to do so.

Doing so saves you time at work.

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 motivates you to keep going strong when things feel too overwhelming or uncertain.

23. Wardrobe

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 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.

24. A Growth Mindset

Keep your mind open to professional growth plus encouraged by reciting daily teacher affirmations.

Saying a few of these phrases a day will keep the stress at bay.

25. Favorite Planner

A year-long planning book keeps you organized and on top of school events.

No need to purchase anything fancy. Photocopying a few templates works well.

26. Early Finisher Activities

You’ll have those fast finishers who constantly ask, “What do I do now?” Be prepared for them!

Brainstorm early finisher activities for those students who zoom through their assignments.

27. Teaching/Learning Websites

On your technological device, bookmark your most-used and best teaching/learning websites.

When lesson planning, you’ll be able to access them quickly.

28. Exit Ticket Templates

Grading is one of the least-appealing parts of an educator’s job.

Reduce the amount of grading you need to do by incorporating exit tickets.

With exit ticket templates, you quickly assess what learners took away from the lesson instead of spending hours marking papers in order to figure out the same.

30. Class Wishlist

If you can’t manage to buy everything you want from your list of new teacher classroom must haves, then think about asking parents to contribute or donate items.

At the beginning of the school year, send out a classroom wish list.

31. Swingline Paper Cutter

If you’ll be doing a lot of cutting, consider buying a small paper cutter.

This useful trimmer, with marks in centimeters and inches, cuts through paper, photos and more, cleanly cutting up to ten sheets at a time.

When not using, simply lock the trimmer arm using the attached blade latch.

32. Mini Laminator

Save time having your posters laminated by keeping your own little portable laminating machine.

33. Label Maker

By using a label maker, you’ll keep your materials, supplies, and papers organized plus visually appealing.

34. Favorite Thing that Helps You Relax

Make time for yourself.

Disconnect once home, and do something that helps you to relax.

It’s this time that is going to recharge your soul, mind, and body so that you face yet another day in the classroom with confidence, calmness, and happiness.

35. New Teacher Supply Kit

Always keep on hand a decent supply of common items like pencils, rulers, stapler, hole punch, sticky notes, rubber bands, etc.

Your list of new teacher must haves isn’t complete without them.

36. Reusable Dry Erase Pockets

These heavy-duty protectors make it easy to store valuable documents and make notes without damaging the paper.

Use them to practice spelling, math facts, writing skills, and more.

To clean the surface, a dry or slightly damp towel is all that’s needed.

37. First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit is crucial for addressing minor injuries that might occur in the classroom.

38. Personal Touches

Items like a nameplate, personal artwork, or a motivational poster can help make the classroom feel like your own space.

39. Storage Solutions

Consider how you’ll organize and store student work, teaching materials, and personal items.

A variety of inexpensive plastic containers works wonders.

40. Professional Development Log

It’s easy to lose track of all the professional development training workshops you attend throughout the school year.

So keep track of them as you go by consistently maintaining a professional development log.

When it’s time to renew your certification, you’ll have all of your updated documentation organized in one place.

41. Positive Attitude and Patience

While not physical items, these are essential qualities for a new teacher.

A positive attitude and patience go a long way in creating a successful and nurturing learning environment.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re brand new or relatively new to the teaching profession, work smarter by collecting a few of these recommended new teacher must haves.

These first year teacher must haves will make your teaching life easier.