Beyond the Classroom Tips and Tricks

10 Back-to-School Items for Every Teacher’s List

Whether it’s a new year, quarter, or semester, a few key purchases can do wonders for boosting morale and making a fresh start.

Teachers are always scrambling to find great bargains for stocking their classrooms. When it comes time for stocking or replenishing, it can be a real morale booster to add a few items to the list that aren’t necessarily for the students. By throwing in some extras, teachers can also toss in that extra boost that gets them prepared and excited for heading back to the classroom.

Lunchbox– A fun new lunchbox can be just what’s needed to spark packing and actually taking the time to eat. Teachers can get so busy that school lunches become a blur, but a lunchbox with some cool gadgets or a favorite pattern can bring a smile to even the briefest of mealtimes.

Appreciation Gifts– Don’t fall into the should have, could have, would have mantra when it comes to expressing your appreciation for the little things that others do to help make the day a little brighter. Adding a few extra office supplies, sweets, and/or a box of thank you cards will give you the ability to quickly jot a note of thanks and/or send a quick thank you treat someone’s way. Nothing says thanks for being there like a pack of colored paperclips or a snack-sized candy treat. Taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate others also does wonders for the overall work environment.

Water Bottle– Invest in a quality water bottle/insulated cup with a little bit of personal flair. Nothing is quite like getting a sip of an appropriately heated or cooled beverage throughout the day. Just make sure a restroom break plan is in place; teacher bladders are an amazing phenomenon, but they’re not foolproof!

Gift Cards– Take advantage of points and perks for purchasing gift cards and stock up on some to get through those first weeks. Whether it’s a card for the morning coffee stop or the breathing room of knowing pizza night has already been purchased, not having to scrounge up change is a great way to add some ease to getting back into routines. A couple of $5 cards would be a nice option to add to that stockpile of appreciation gifts too.

Pens– While Douglas Adams’ famed Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy may have explained the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens, most teachers have yet to stumble across that planet! A hidden collection of a few favorite pens (and a few not-so-favorites for loaning) can make jotting down a to-do list much more enjoyable!

Healthy Snack Stash– After taking the time to eat from that new lunchbox, there can still be some hunger pangs that hit throughout the day or in the tireless hours spent after students are dismissed. Some healthy snacks stashed in a desk drawer can offer some guilt-free munching and allow teachers to power through a long day without reaching for quick sugar fixes.

Something Green– Bringing a little of the outside in can do wonders for perking up a stale classroom. While fresh cuts would be an awesome indulgence, a hearty plant or two makes for a nice addition to the décor. Succulents fall on the low end of the maintenance spectrum, or adding a botanist to the class helper chart can do the trick in early grades.

Personal Indulgence– This is another gift card/certificate suggestion, but it’s more of a frill than a staple. When the long hours start kicking in and a need for a reprieve arises, it’s an amazing feeling to know that a spa treatment, dinner and a movie, outdoor adventure, etc. is available as a reward. Groupon is a perfect place to find an affordable indulgence to have at-the-ready when needed.

Sanitizing Wipes– Most teachers have a few personal cleaning supplies in the classroom, and sanitizing wipes are a perfect item for the collection. While these are on many school supply lists, having all the surfaces clean and fresh before students arrive can freshen the scent and the appearance of a room that’s been unused over break.

Unique Desk Accessories– Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. Splurge on that funky pen holder, dinosaur stapler, glittery frame, and/or team-themed iPad case. A few items sprinkled here and there that can bring a smile to a teacher’s face during a hectic day are well worth the expense.

While a teacher’s shopping list largely focuses on the needs of students, adding a few personal purchases to the fray can do wonders for adding a little brightness to each school day. By doing some spending up front on necessities and a couple more indulgent items, teachers are adding an underlying layer that can offer them a much needed boost. Whether it’s the start of the year or time for a supply restock, these 10 items are worthy of being added and checked off that school-centered shopping list!