Being a kindergarten teacher for the last 3 years, I’ve definitely learned what items are must haves for myself, not your basic pencils and crayons! I look back and wish I could tell my first year teacher self so many tips and tricks to help make my life so much easier! Today I am sharing my list of 8 teacher essentials that every teacher needs (that are not classroom supplies) and where to buy them!
*Please Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission from your purchase. This does not increase your paying price in anyway, but helps me to afford the time and money that comes with blogging.
1. A Teacher Bag – I have found the BEST teacher bag in the world! It is actually a diaper bag, but being a mom and a teacher are similar, so honestly this bag is perfect for a teacher too! The bag I use everyday is from KiKi Lu Designs and since I started using it a few months ago, I couldn’t believe how I ever survived with any other bag. What I love about this bag is all the pockets on both the inside and outside. I have space inside for my car keys, lip sense, hand sanitizer, and on the outside for my water bottle. It is great because each item has it’s own pocket so I don’t have to search a big bag for what I need at the right moment.
My absolute favorite part about this bag though are the straps. As a teacher I am constantly carrying stuff from my house to work and from my classroom back to my house. Having a bag that is big enough to fit everything, is really crucial. The best part for me though was my old bag only had the straps to fit over my one shoulder. I would end up putting everything in my bag and putting the bag on my shoulder (which then hurt my shoulder because I had so many items in my bag). In the process of taking everything to my car, my bag would fall off my shoulder, and I would be left awkwardly walking toward my car struggling to put everything inside. Oh and don’t forget that my keys are buried at the bottom of my bag!
With the KiKi Lu bag though, all of those problems have been solved. I was able to fit everything inside (including my computer) and then I can either swing the bag over my shoulder OR if I need to carry out other items, I swing the bag on like a backpack and it makes it easier to carry other items in my hand. I can’t say enough amazing things about my new bag and I don’t know how to survive without one! They even have other colors, like a cute black and mint.
2. Cute Lanyard – I like looking cute everyday as a teacher and having a lanyard is one of my essentials. It carries my keys, a whistle, my ID card, my badge to get into the school, reward tickets for students doing well, and band aids (always keep band aids with you, especially as an elementary school teacher). I love my Disney lanyard because it matches my school colors and showcases a personal side to me as a person. All my students love it as well! Check out my other favorite lanyards below! I even use one of these below to hold my house keys. The Thread Wallet brand is amazing.
3. A Good Water Bottle – A good water bottle is crucial for a teacher. I am constantly drinking water to help my throat and voice, and to help me not get sick. Having one that won’t spill, holds water, and is easy to get the water out is essential as a teacher. I love my CamelBak water bottle, but whatever you find, definitely put it on your list of items to buy for Back to School.
4. Planner – I am always using a planner at my job and although this year I created my own paper version, I definitely have switched back to a physical store bought planner halfway through the year. I also have a separate planner for my blog, which is pictured above. Having a place to take notes and keep track of everything is critical. I love having a planner that has a monthly section that I can list big events and then keep track of the every day to day items throughout the weekly section. My current favorite planner is from Erin Condren who has an entire line of teacher planners here. Her planners are the best quality I’ve ever found and I can’t recommend them enough. For how much you use a planner as a teacher, don’t cheap out on your planner, I promise it’ll be worth the money to have a good one. You can see some examples of my favorite planners below. Also I can’t recommend these markers enough! I love to use different colors to mark different items. For example, school items are marked in one color, classroom activities in another, daily life in another, etc. However you use them works for you, but I love these and use them in my planner daily! Plus who doesn’t love bright colors?!
5. Cute Decor – I love decorating my classroom to reflect who I am and to give my students a happy work environment. Although classroom decor might not be “essential” I wanted to include some of my favorites. This letter felt board from Retrogram Boards is one of my favorite decorations. I use it to showcase my favorite quotes and it’s great to use at my home as well. I am also planning to use this smaller one to take photos of my students holding the sign with the words “I DID IT! Kindergarten 2017” as part of their end of year gift!
I like to make sure that my classroom is organized, clean, and cute! So I decided to create a new post about my classroom essentials, and since this post is about teacher essentials, I won’t go overboard, but I wanted to share some of my favorite classroom essentials that saved me as a first year teacher. I loved having beanbags for the kids in my classroom as well as book storage boxes. I originally bought some at the dollar store, but these are only slightly more and they actually fit books. Mine were slightly too small and so many of my books got ruined when kids tried to put them back in the buckets. So I highly recommend getting the ones below instead of dollar storing it.
6. Books, Books, and more Books – As an elementary school teacher I am always getting new books. Whether this includes books for my students to read, or books that I can read aloud to them, finding good books is crucial in any elementary school classroom. My favorite book to read to my students is “The Book With No Pictures” By B.J. Novak. The students think it is the funniest thing and hearing them laugh and having fun in school, is such a good feeling. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. I’ve also included my list of 10 favorite books below.
7. Good Watch – I am constantly keeping track of time and having a good watch that is durable and matches any outfit, is really important for me. My Arvo watch is perfect for any teacher. The fact that it is high quality and doesn’t make any ticking sound, makes me one happy teacher! I also love having my apple watch, so I included some of my favorite bands I’ve found to make your apple watch appear more professional.
8. Cute and Comfortable Clothes – I love finding cute and comfortable clothes to wear to work. I have a giant look book of teacher outfits to help you figure out what clothing essentials you should buy, as well as outfit ideas. You can read that entire post here. You can also click on “fashion” under the menu heading of my blog and scroll down to “teacher outfits” for some of my favorite inspirations. I love having good dresses to move around in, some pencil skirts, along with a cute pair of business pants. I also love wearing this cute shirt that says “Kindness Like Confetti” to remind my students the importance of being kind to everyone. You can also see some of my favorite teacher clothing essentials below.
Those are my top 8 teacher essentials, but I know that everyone has other items on their list of essentials. I’d love for you to comment your number one most essential item as a teacher and if it isn’t listed, I’d love to add it to my list! Don’t forget to tell me what grade you teach so we can see where all my fun followers are coming from in terms of teaching!
Photos Taken By: Charissa Lee Photography
Also don’t forget to pin to share with your friends and so you won’t forget which items to buy to start your next teaching year off right!