April 30, 2011

10 Things Every Teacher Needs

1. A set of pretty pens to make grading *almost* tolerable.
Grading is definitely a part of teaching that I HATE HATE HATE.  It seems like it is always building up, and I am constantly scrambling to keep up...So pretty pens (and sometimes stickers) are a must. :)
2. Something cute or silly to set on your desk that will bring a smile to your face even on a rotten day.
  My desk buddies :)

3. Something or someone to, when you're about ready to quit, remind you why you first got into this profession in the first place.
Thanks to my *interesting* liberal arts education (insert joke about fake classes here), I have done a TON of reflecting about teaching, education, and why I wanted to get into teaching in the first place.  Yeah, I was more than a little idealistic in those days, and more often than not, when I reread those things I want to vomit. BUT sometimes seeing that kind of thing is just what I need.  While the reality of teaching is night and day from what I expected it to be when I was a bright eyed college student, the reasons I teach are no different.  It's nice having that kind of reminder sometimes.

4. A snack drawer, heavy on the chocolate.
Chocolate covered espresso beans are a must. :)

5. A pair of comfortable shoes to keep in your classroom for those extra long days.
My mary jane crocs permanently live in my supply closet.  I don't break them out very often, but honestly there are some days when I am so exhausted that even my feet cannot take it any more!  Slip these babies on and suddenly I'm walking on foam resin clouds...(no, I don't care that they're pretty ugly...)

6. A good water bottle.
I carry one of my stainless steel water bottles around constantly at school.  My kiddos love filling it up for me too--double win!  I particularly love this one because the flowers make me smile. :)

7. A "happy" folder in your desk drawer to keep cute notes (and art!) from students, parents, and principal to look through when you need a confidence boost.  
I know 1st grade teachers CONSTANTLY get artwork and love notes from their students, but it's a little rarer with the big kiddos, so every piece is special.  I save the extra special ones and go through them when I need a little something to make me smile.  My principal also occasionally leaves a note after observing, and I save all of those too to look back over...

8. A coffee shop within a 5 minute's drive of school that can be visited before school, after school, or immediately before a long staff development meeting...
There is a Starbucks literally 3 minutes from school.  With a drive thru.  It's become a major financial problem for me, actually...what can I say, I have very little will power when it comes to soy lattes...

9. A big, sturdy bag to tote all of your random crap around in.
It may not be cute, but it holds 2 teacher manuals, a mess of grading, and the hodge podge of grading pens, markers, paper clips, and post-its that litters the bottom at all times!
Thank you Scholastic Books and your wonderful incentive programs...
10. A bunch of teacher friends to share celebrations with and vent to (teacher bloggers work too!!) 
[Although it is not required, it helps if these sessions take place over wine. :)]
I cannot tell you how important this is.  People who aren't teachers just don't always get what it is that we do, and how hard we work.  (Ahem, you might already know my thoughts on this issue...)  Sometimes it's just necessary to be around people who DO get it because they live it too.  It also saves time on explaining acronyms! :)  RTI, TRS, ISAT, MAP, AYP, you get the idea...Oh, and they are less likely to smack you when you bring up school for the hundredth billion time...
Me & Miss R, my wonderful teacher friend!

What am I missing?  What else does every teacher need?

Missed one of my other "tips for teaching" posts?


  1. ummm I LOVE so many of these things...just to name a few: pretty pens, comfy shoes, snack drawer of chocolate and a water bottle. I always have these things as well. very important!

  2. I am thinking that part of being an excellent teacher involves being well-prepared... and that you certainly are! I could use a lot of these items (w/ slight modifications, perhaps) to help me in my momming world ;-)

  3. Minus the snack drawer (my student teacher desk doesn't have drawers), I'm on the same page as you!

  4. I think I would add "Boundaries" -- knowing when it's time to QUIT FOR THE DAY and not take a big pile home. Downtime and real relaxation are an absolute MUST for every teacher, even if it is only every other weekend because we're so swamped all the time.

  5. You are RIGHT on! Every single one of those things is important to me!

    Lovelovelove your blog!

  6. I would *only* grade with Flair pens. And if mine were bad colors/out of ink? Time to stop grading and go shopping for new Flairs!


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