Sunshine Sisters here with our very first Teacher Tip about classroom essentials!
Teacher Tip No.1
Are you overwhelmed already?
As a new teacher it can be overwhelming seeing how much supplies is in the classrooms of seasoned teachers. They have flexible seating, beautiful decor, and math manipulatives we’ve never even heard of; all of the classroom essentials teachers dream of. Although having loads of classroom supplies may make a part of your job easier, a lot of it is unnecessary when you are starting out. In short, there is a thing called “having too much stuff”.
You don’t need all the classroom essentials
I am going to discuss why when you’re just starting out, you don’t need all the classroom essentials. Firstly, money is limited. Secondly, buying tons of classroom essentials and resources can seem intimidating! We have all been there… believe me! Thirdly, the cost of books, classroom decor, bins, boxes, resources, and office supplies will add up QUICK! Especially when you’re a newbie.
I was a newbie teacher, twice. Both times were very different, very daunting, and came with their own set of challenges.
To begin my career, my very first classroom was a month out of university. I was very new, very green, oh and did I mention it was in England?! As a brand new Canadian teacher it was quite a jump across the pond. I taught in the heart of Bristol, England at an inner city school which was extremely challenging, diverse, and came with its own mixed bag of student needs. I had zero supplies. Everyday all I brought was my lunch and my favourite purple pen. I walked 45 minutes uphill on cobblestone to get to the school, rain or shine. The school provided each teacher with a laptop and limited pencils, erasers, and notebooks for the students. There truly wasn’t enough to go around.
After that, I moved back to Canada. I ended up in a grade 3 classroom in my hometown. It was so exciting to get my own classroom but also nerve wracking because I was hired on a Thursday at 3pm and expected to start that Friday! (Insert panic mode). To fuel my panic I was starting mid-February and taking over a maternity leave. I was inheriting some new friends who already had a teacher they loved and were sad was leaving, and to make matters even more stressful I had zero classroom supplies; all the students had by this time of the year was half a pencil with no eraser, a box of broken crayons, and a glue cap.
Keep it Simple Sweetheart
Above all, teaching is all about the kids! It is about the connection you make with them and the love of learning you instil in them. You do not need much to get started however, you will need a few things. Certainly, if you are a newbie teacher like I was, with a limited budget, then here is a list of 8 classroom essentials that will make your new role as a teacher a little easier!
Sunshine Sisters Classroom Essentials!
No. 1 – Powerful Paper Slicer
Firstly, ditch the tediousness of cutting by hand and grab one of these babies! Your cutting will take way less time and be far more accurate (which is always nice when making a bulletin board display). Honestly, this should be one of the very first items you buy. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and prices. These are my top two: Swingline Paper Trimmer and the Worklion Scrapbooking Paper Trimmer.
No. 2 – Terrific Teacher Trolley
EVERY SINGLE TEACHER needs a teacher trolley! These babies are amazing for organization that doesn’t take up a ton of space, goes with your decor, and can easily and safely be operated by anyone! In my class I have 3! One for myself (weekly worksheet photocopies, tests, answer keys, and T.O.C. notes), one for language arts and one for math!
No. 3 – Lifesaving Lesson Planner
You need a lesson planner! Your school may provide one (none of mine ever did) but if not, get yourself one in a fun design that makes you excited to start each day! The sunshine sister’s top lesson planner is The Happy Planner!
No. 4 – Fun Flair Pens
My students know that I (Kennedy – one of two of the Sunshine Sisters) always write with a purple pen when marking or editing my students work, however when I am not using my favourite purple pen, I love my flair pens to take colourful notes with! Every teacher needs a few good pens they love!
No. 5 – Beautiful Bins & Boxes
A variety of functional bins and boxes are classroom essentials for any teacher! You will need these for organizing reading level books or for your library, prizes, subject workbooks, math manipulatives, and more! The sunshine sisters love the bins & boxes from Really Good Stuff.
No. 6 – A Mug You Love
There will be long, chilly days, where you will need a little bit of a boost to carry on. Drinking tea, coffee, or some delicious hot chocolate from a funny, inspiring, or cute mug will always make you smile and often do the trick. Etsy or Chapters is my favourite place to buy cute, unique mugs from.
No. 7 – Snuggly Slippers
Slippers are part of the classroom essentials pack that all teachers need! Keeping those babies under your desk to put on the minute the dismissal bell rings so you can be cozy for marking and planning is always a great idea! My favourite slippers are the Nuknuuk Slippers from Costco, they are the only slippers i’ll ever buy!
No. 8 – A Photo or Several
Not all days for a teacher is sunshine and rainbows. Keeping some pictures of the people you love around your desk and on the wall will help remind you of the bigger picture and who you’ll be going home to every night. A quick glance at a photo of someone you love can make any day feel better.
Remember, your classroom is your home away from home. Make it as functional, cozy, and happy as possible! The happier and more relaxed you are in your classroom, will also influence how your students feel in the same environment. Let us know in the comments below what you have in your classroom essentials list!
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Love & Sunshine,