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What is in Your Bag - Part II

A sub list, and phone numbers for secretaries and teachers in your dept/grade level. When you find you need a sub, or need to have someone get something for your sub, those numbers aren't helpful on a chart in your desk!

— Sheryl Siegele

Throat lozenges or hard candy (like lemon drops). With all the talking that I have to do each day, my throat can get pretty dry. Unfortunately, throat lozenges are usually considered to be "medication" so I have to keep them to myself. Hard candy works nearly as well, though, and is okay to give to any student who has a dry cough.

— Marta Haakenson

A bilingual Spanish dictionary or electronic translator.

— Leticia Johnson

  • A fly swatter. Nothing interrupts class quite like a fly or bee zooming around the room!
  • A short memory. Kids are kids. They do foolish things. We need to put those foolish things behind us and move on. Give each student a fresh start every day.

    — Carol Sanders

Life insurance!

— Steve Whitten

Definitely post-its! I'm in my second year of teaching and they have saved my life!

— Lisa Miceli (and others)

A sense of humor!

— Kathy Horan (and others)

Some sort of vice...diet coke, candy....

— Katie Steuri Cox (Several other people suggested snacks)

A journal and pen to jot all those wonderful and funny things students say because you will never remember all of them.

— Kay Hansen

Tissues to wipe your tears or someone else's.

— Nancy Holland (and others)

  • A bible! (As long as there are tests in school, there will be prayer!)
  • Hand sanitizer (kids are just dirty!)
  • Spare change (there is always a kid who needs a quarter)
  • A change of clothes (you never know who is going to get sick, including you!)

    — Genie Parmer (other people also suggested spare clothes and hand sanitizer)

A yoga/exercise mat.

— Kelly Haverlandt

Business cards. I get a very positive response when I physically hand over my contact information. It's better than telling someone to write down the information or ask them to call the office. Very handy at conferences. The cards are also great to put in "fish bowls" at restaurants for drawings such as a free lunch. :O)

— Sonja S.

I'm out in the P. E. areas, be it gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts or activity fields all day. I have a "TIMER" button on my wristwatch. I set it to get the students back to their number grid a few minutes before they go into the locker room(s) for closure and cool down =)

— Dave B.

A chalk-holder is essential if you are in a school that uses chalkboards, as opposed to smartboards or dry-erase white-boards. The chalk eventually eats up your skin, causes rashes or a type of fungus otherwise!

— Cheree Himmel

  • Fishing line. It can be used to hang items from the ceiling, is almost invisible, and will be approved by the fire marshal. Attach it to a large paper clip.
  • Zippered plastic bags in all sizes. They can be used to hold loose items, organize games or manipulatives, and to send items home with children.
  • Pocket style file folders. Beginning teachers may not realize that they should save and file EVERYTHING. This includes copies of parent newsletters, samples of art projects, ideas from magazines/journals, lesson plans, digital photos of room arrangements or activities, etc. Pocket folders are better than the usual file folders because they will contain small, oddly-shaped items in addition to the usual 8 1/2 x 11 paper.
  • An old iron. It can be used to fix items on which the laminating film did not adhere properly. I can't tell you how often colleagues borrow mine. It is great for art projects too.
  • An extension cord. Get the kind that winds up on a roll and has a handle. They are approved by fire marshals, can be pulled to the length you need, and stored easily.

    —Diane Postman

A few boxes of thank you notes. If you keep them in your desk, it should be simple to dash off a quick thank you when needed. A handwritten note will still be appreciated in this technological age.

— Cynthia Parker (and others)

Book - "The First Days of School" by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. This book teaches you how to be an effective and successful teacher. His videos and CDs are also wonderful!

— Marina Jenkins

  • A Q-tip with a small attachment that reads, “Quit taking it personally!” Keep this on your desk at all times.
  • A large roll of blue painter's tape. It will stick to anything and can be removed without leaving a gummy mess.

— Ruth Gillmore

A must-have for me is Mavalus tape. I haven't had to retape anything all year long because the tape works so well.

— Cori Fryar

Old grocery bags, or bags I pick up at thrift stores and garage sales. Students use them to carry home items that won't fit in their backpacks. They are supposed to return them the next day. If they forget, it is no great loss.
Also, I keep a screwdriver in my desk with interchangeable heads. I use it when I need to replace the batteries in an electronic device with a screwed-in back, to tighten the screws of a loose cabinet handle when I don't want to wait for a custodian, and for other uses. Next year I plan to add a small hammer and a set of pliers.

— Rhonda Stock

A small "Comfort Kit," kept in something as simple as a Ziploc bag, containing: your preferred headache remover, dental floss, mouthwash or breath mints, lip balm, a towelette, a couple Band-Aids, safety pins, your preferred deodorant. If you take a daily prescription in the morning, keep one dose in this kit for the mornings when you're halfway to work and realize you forgot to take your morning meds. (This kit should be stored in a secure location.)
For women, you'll also want to include one or two of your preferred feminine product and a dose or two of Midol.

— Kristine F. (Several other people suggested variations on this)

A container of Wet Ones, especially if you do not have a sink in your classroom. You can quickly clean and freshen your hands or a student desk.

— Debbie D. (and others)

Nail polish remover pads. You can pick them up cheaply at drug stores or 99-cent stores. They remove permanent marker or dried overhead marker from anything (white boards, laminated posters, overheds, desks).

— Erine Ames

A tape measure and blank mailing labels. I use the tape measure during math, measuring students at the beginning of the year, at garage sales when looking for school supplies, and room arrangement. I use mailing labels to cover a name when I want to reuse something, as nametags, to label what is in the container, and in many other ways.

— Jena Johnson

Plastic sheet protector sleeves that are hole-punched to be attached in a three-ring binder. They can serves multiple purposes: easily changeable to hang on classroom door to notify others of classroom location changes, hang and easily change photos in the classroom, suspend from student desks and allow the students to change their “getting to know me” artwork/photos/nametags etc., insert a piece of colored cardstock and they become instant – and cheap – individual student whiteboards (insert a paper towel for easy erasing and each student can attach it into his/her three-ring binder), and a way to organize yet update lesson plans with all appropriate handouts/activities.

— Dorothea H.

During the summer I always look for inexpensive cards and small gifts to have on hand. When someone has a death in the family, or a birthday, I have a card ready to sign.

— Barbara Renkenberger

A rosary or a generic prayer to pray every morning on the way to work. God know it takes divine intervention to do this job.

— Steve Mignogna

Bandaids. In middle school, having a supply eliminates one more excuse students have to leave the classroom.

— Susan Jennings

A packet of short activities that take five to 10 minutes to complete. These could be done at the beginning of class while your are taking attendance,etc., or at the end of class to act as a filler till the bell rings. Keep them on note cards or pieces of paper in a jar that you draw out at randum, or have it written on the board covered up with a piece of paper until you are ready to use it.
The content could be just basic topics from the course you are teaching, current events, main points from the previous day’s lesson, or applications of info already learned.

— Sue Helle

I have saved ALL of my thank you/love you notes from kids and parents in a memory box that gets me through the dark days and reminds me of why I do this.

— Lauren T. (Several people suggested something like this)

Kids are forever leaving pens and pencils behind. Have a container to put them in and when kids comes to class without a pencil, you'll have one for them.

— David Taylor (and others)