Teacher Survival Kit

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The beginning of the school year is always busy with lots of things to do to get ready. With all the lesson planning, classroom decorating, and meetings, there may be some things you haven’t thought about that will come in handy. These are things that I have found to be useful in the classroom along with various suggestions of the products I love. The students have already gathered their school supplies, now it’s time for you to get the things you can’t live without, your “Teacher Survival Kit.”


TRAVEL ITEMS

There are three things that you must have for school. The first being a good bag that you can carry all those necessary items back and forth from school to home. Next, is some sort of travel mug or cup. Something that you can take with you in the car and have for use throughout the day. Lastly, you will need a lunch box. It makes is easy to keep your lunch together and identifiable if you put it in the lounge refrigerator. Here are some great options:

Travel Mug

MY PICK: Tervis Tumbler - I don't do coffee, so I like my drinks cold and the Tervis Tumbler is the perfect option. Keeps drinks cold, doesn't spill, and little to no condensation. I use the Tervis Tumbler regularly at work and at home.  

-Zojirushi Stainless Mug 

-OXO Good Grips Liquiseal 

-Tervis Tumbler (24oz) and Lid (24oz)

-Tervis Water Bottle (24oz) 

For a detailed review of each travel mug, check out the Travel Mugs review page.

Lunch Box

MY PICK: BUILT Neoprene Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote - It's the perfect size to fit all my lunch items and it comes in lots of cute colors and designs. Big enough to fit an ice pack, drink, and all the food I need.

(The other two options are less cutesy and larger. Great for guys or if you need more room in your lunch box.)

-BUILT Neoprene Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote 

-Everest Cooler/Lunch Bag 

-Durable Deluxe Insulated Lunch Cooler Bag

Teacher Bag

MY PICK: SOLO Vintage Leather Laptop Tote - I like to carry my laptop/tablet with me, so having a place to safely put my electronics is important. It has room for files, notebooks, and other materials that I need to carry to and from work. Also, the SOLO tote is stylish, professional, and durable because of the leather material. 

-Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote 

-Lands End Tote (Large) 

-SOLO Vintage Leather Laptop Tote 

-Vera Bradley Laptop Carryall 

-Timbuk2 Commute TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag 

-Targums XL Rolling Case 

-Incase Campus Backpack 

For a detailed review of each teacher bag, check out the Best Teacher Bags review page. 


SNACKS

Teaching takes work and you will need a stash of snacks to get you through the day. It’s important to keep your energy up to stay focused. I’ve created a list of healthy snacks, with suggestions of items to purchase, that you can keep in the classroom with little to no preparation.

MY PICK: thinkThin Protein Bars, Gum, Fruit, and Trail Mix - My favorite snack is the thinkThin CRUNCH (coconut, chocolate, mixed nuts) Protein Bar. I each at least one of these bars a day. A great mid-morning/afternoon pick-me-up. I also love Trail Mix. The nuts, raisins, and chocolate are the perfect mix of salty and sweet to get you through the day. Also, any fruit is great and some gum (Orbit's Sweet Mint is my favorite) is great for after lunch or before meetings. 

Granola Bars/Protein Bars

-Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Granola Bar Value Box (48 count) (Nature Valley has many other options to fit your taste preferences. Just check out amazon.com, Nature Valley.)

-Kashi Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar (24 count) 

(Kashi has many other options to fit your taste preferences. Just check out amazon.com, Kashi.)

-thinkThin Protein Bars Variety Pack, Gluten Free (15 count) 

(thinkThin has a variety of flavors and options to fit your taste preferences. Just check out amazon.com, thinkThin.)

Popcorn

-Black Jewel Premium Microwave Popcorn (6 pack) 

-Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Microwavable Popcorn, Naturals Simply Salted (3 count)

Fruit Snack

-Annie’s Homegrown Organic Fruit Snacks (5 count box, pack of 4) 

-Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Mixed Fruit (22 pouches) 

Pumpkin Seeds

-David & Son Pumpkin Seeds 2.25oz (12 pack) 

-Bergin Nut Company Pepitas, Roasted & Salted 14oz bag (4 pack) 

Nuts

-Planters Mixed Nuts, Lightly Salted (10oz, 4 pack) 

Fruit

-Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Peaches, and other favorite fruits

Crackers

-Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers, Gluten Free (20oz) 

-Nabisco Wheat Thins, Original (2 bags of 20oz) 

Pretzels

-Snyder’s Mini Pretzel (48 pack) 

Trail Mix

-Kirkland Signature Trail Mix (peanuts, M&M’s candies, almonds, cashews, raisins - 4lbs) 

Apple Chips

-Bare Fruit Organic, Gluten Free Baked Apple Chips, Fuji OR Granny Smith (2.2oz bags, 12 pack) 

Banana Chips

-Inka Crops Roasted Plantains (4oz bags, 12 pack) 

Unsweetened Applesauce

-Musselman’s Natural Unsweetened Applesauce 46oz 

Instant Coffee/K-cups

-Folgers Classic Instant Coffee (8oz, 3 pack) (Many more options at amazon.com)

-Starbucks Variety Pack for Keurig Brewers (18 pack) (More options and flavors at amazon.com)

Plastic spoons/forks

-Kirkland Crystal Clear Cutlery 360 pieces (180 forks, 120 spoons, 60 knives) 

Paper Plates

-Dixie Paper Plates (10 inches, 240 count)

Gum

-Orbit Sweet Mint Gum (12/14piece Packs) 

Peanut Butter and Apple Slices

If you have access to a refrigerator, these are great snack options:

-Veggies and Dip

-Hummus and Veggies or Pita

-Chips and Salsa

-Yogurt

-String Cheese

-Cheese and Crackers

-Cottage Cheese and Pineapple


MEDICAL ITEMS

Being around students is a dangerous job with all those germs flying around and accidental cuts and scrapes, it’s important to have some needed items around. Just make sure you keep these locked up and out of the reach of students.

First Aid Kit

-Johnson & Johnson All Purpose First Aid Kit 

Advil/Tylenol

-Advil, Ibuprofen Tablets, 50 two-packs (100 Caplets)

-Tylenol Extra Strength, 2 Caplet Dosage (100 Caplets)

Cold Medicine

-Vicks DayQuil Cold and Flu Multi-Symptom Relief (2 Caplet Dosage, 25 Packets) 

-Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom Relief (24 caplets) 

Cough Drops

-Halls 6 pack (2 Halls Cherry, 2 Halls Honey Lemon, 2 Halls Defense Assorted Citrus) (I love that this pack has cough drops and defense drops for when you feel something coming on.)

Nail Clippers

-Trim Fingernail Clipper 

Sun Block

-Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (8oz)  

Blister Cushion

-Band-Aid Brand Advanced Healing Blister Cushions (6 count box, 2 pack) 

Shoe Inserts

-Superfeet Premium Insoles (Check chart for which arch height to buy - different color means different arches)


TOILETRIES & OTHER ITEMS

It’s always good to have some toiletries around. You never know when you may need to brush your teeth after lunch, add some extra deodorant after recess duty, or redo some make-up before you head to a parent teacher conference. As teachers, you’re always prepared for anything. Here are some things that could come in handy:

Mirror

-Goody Styling Essentials Mirror, 2 Sided 

Tide Pen

-Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover, Liquid, 3 count

Dental Kit

-Dr. Fresh 3-in-1 Dental Kit - Toothpaste/Scope/Toothbrush 

Hand Sanitizer

-Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer (1 Lt.) 

Lotion

-Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion (18oz, with pump) 

-O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream (3.4oz) 

Deodorant

-Dove Ultimate Clear Go Fresh Cool Essentials (Women’s, 2.6oz) 

-Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport (Men’s, 4.2oz, 2 pack) 

Lint Roller

-Evercare Extra Sticky Lint Roller, Pet Hair Remover, 60 sheets 

Hair Brush

-Wet Squirt Mini Pocket Pocket Detangling Hair Brush 

Hair Bands

-Scunci Effortless Beauty Large No-damage Elastics, Black 

-Scunci Hair Bands, Assorted Colors (Headbands) 

Bobby Pins

-Goody Colour Collection Metallic Finish Bobby Pins (50 count) 

Feminine Care Items

Make-up


CLEANING SUPPLIES

Cleaning supplies are always great to have around. You never know when there might be a spill or you need to clean desks off to keep germs at bay. Having some cleaning items will make life easier, so you don’t have to send little Johnny down to the bathroom to get a handful of paper towels.

Air Freshener

-Febreze Air Effects, Linen and Sky Scent (9.7oz, 3 pack) 

Disinfectant Wipes

-Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack, Lemon and Lime Blossom (240 count) 

Paper Towels

-Sparkle Paper Towels, 12 Large Rolls 

Disinfectant Spray

-Lysol Professional Disinfectant Spray, Original Scent (19oz) 

All-Purpose Cleaner

-Clorox Green Works Natural All Purpose Cleaner (32oz) 

-Clorox Green Works Natural All Purpose Cleaner (32oz, 3 pack

Broom

-Libman Precision Angle Broom with Dustpan 

Duster

-Swiffer Dusters (Handle and 24 Refills) 


TOOL SET

You never know when you may need to fix something because maintenance is busy. (They have a lot to do.) It’s nice to have a few things to go to if you need them or it’s an emergency, like a flashlight if the power is out. Also, tape and fishing line can be used for hanging things around the classroom.

Hammer

-Great Neck 2100 Essentials 8-Ounce Mini Hammer with Magnet 

Screwdriver

-Draper 8 Piece Soft Grip Screwdriver Set 

Adjustable Wrench

-Stanley 90-947 6” Max Steel Adjustable Wrench 

Tape

-3M Utility Duct Tape 2929 Silver 

-3M General Purpose Masking Tape 203 Beige 

Fishing Line

-South Bend Monofilament (20lb, 270yds) 

Flashlight

-Dorcy 41-2510 LED Flashlight, Floats, Waterproof, 32-Lumens 


DESK ITEMS

Your desk is used for so many things and it’s important that you have all the items that you need and can keep you organized. You’ll be grading, lesson planning, filing, and note taking all at your desk and that can cause clutter. I’ve come up with some things that can be helpful in organizing and things that you need on a daily basis.

Desk Lamp

-Normande Lighting GP3-796 13W CFL Desk Lamp with Two Electrical Outlets on Base 

Pencils

-Pentel Twist-Erase III (2 Pack)

-Write Dudes USA Gold #2 Pencils (24 Pack) 

File Folders

-Pendaflex 2-Tone File Folders, 5 Colors (box of 100) 

-Pendaflex Recycled 1/5-Cut Tab Hanging File Folders (box of 25) 

Desk Shelves

-Seville Classics Office Desk Organizer, Platinum Mesh, 6 Trays 

-Fellowes Step Organizer, 8 Sections, Wire 

-Fellowes Workstation Desk Tray Organizer, Single-Tier, Wire 

Grading Pens

-Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Rolling Ball Pens, Fine Point, 8 Colors 

-Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens, 8 Colors

Pens

-Uni-ball Jetstream 0.5 

Clipboard

-Officemate Wood Clipboard 

Stapler

-Swingline 747 Rio Red Stapler (20 Sheet Stapling Capability) 

Dry Erase Markers

-Expo Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 4 Colored Markers (80174) 

-Expo Low Odor Dry Erase Pen Style Markers, 4 Colored Markers (86674) 

Stickers

-Teacher Created Resources Good Work Stickers, Multi Color, 120 Stickers (1990) 

-Great Rewards Applause STICKERS Variety Pack, 700 Stickers 

Stamps

-Teachers Self-inking Rubber Stamp Set, 6 stamps 

-Educational Insights Self-inking Photo Stamps, 6 Sports Themes 

-Finish Incomplete Teacher Stamp, Various Colors 

-Parent Signature Required Teacher Stamp, Various Colors 

Organizing bins

-Rolodex Supplies Caddy 

-Advantus 5-Compartment Magazine and Literature File, Black 

-Sterilite 6-qt See-Through Storage Box (12 boxes) 

-Sterilite 6-qt See-Through Storage Box (1 box)

Post-its

-Post-it Notes (Canary Yellow, 3” x 3”, 12 pads/pack)

-Post-it Page Markers (Assorted Colors, .5” x 2”, 50 markers/pad, 10 pads/pack)


MISCELLANEOUS

This category is for those things you won’t need all the time and may not think about them until you need them, but it’s always good to have things just in case. You never know when you may need batteries for a lesson or those extra sunglasses and whistle for recess.

Whistle, Bell, or Horn

-Crown Sporting Goods Stainless Steel Coach Whistle with Lanyard 

-3” Copper Cow Bell 

-Clown Bulb Horn 

Sewing Kit

-Singer Sewing Kit 

Safety Pins

-Singer Safety Pins, Assorted Sizes 

Sandwich Bags

-Ziploc Sandwich Bags (120 count) 

Batteries

-Duracell Ultra Power AA Batteries 

-Duracell Ultra Power AAA Batteries 

Sweater/Jacket

-Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Full Zip Fleece Jacket (Various Colors) 

-Columbia Men’s Steens Mountain Full Zip 2.0 Fleece Jacket (Various Colors) 

Sunglasses

-Wayfarers Style Sunglasses - UV400


BOOKS

These are just a few book titles that can be helpful and insightful. I know there are so many other books that could be chosen, but I only listed a few.

-First-Year Teacher’s Survival Kit: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools & Activities for Meeting the Challenges of Each School Day by Julia G. Thompson 

-The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller 

-The Passion Driven Classroom: A Framework for Learning & Teaching by Angela Maiers & Sandvold 

-The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell

-Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith 

-The Together Teacher: Plan Ahead, Get Organized, and Save Time! by Maia Heyck-Merlin


ELECTRONICS

This is what I would consider a bonus category. If you are lucky enough to have these things, that is great! Tablets can be very helpful in the classroom and speakers are great for listening during quiet work times, recess, or as a lesson aid. Also, I’ve already done an extensive article on tablets, so check that out.

Tablet

-iPad Mini 

-iPad 2 

-Kindle Fire HD 

Speakers/Music

-Logitech UE Mobile Boombox (Bluetooth, Wireless) 

-HDMX Jam Classic Speaker (Bluetooth, Wireless) 

-Supersonic Portable MP3/CD Player with AM/FM Radio