If you’re starting out in an exciting new career as a teacher, or even if you are a seasoned veteran who’s just looking for a fresh routine, one thing is for certain – you’re always going to need a well-stocked supply cupboard.
As you’re undoubtedly aware, school budgets for classroom supplies wildly vary from school to school. Most schools are going to provide you with the absolute basics of course, but such is the case with ever dwindling resources, you may find that they don’t last the year!
Whatever your situation, it’s always good to think about exactly what you’re going to need for the term ahead. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you cover all the essentials, as well a few ideas for what else you might need to stock up on in order to make your life that little bit easier.
First things first, let’s cover the absolute basics. You’re going to need pencils and pens for writing tasks (standard and fun coloured markers), as well as colouring crayons and pencils. Other standard supplies include notebook paper, sticky tape, folders erasers, a staple remover, glue sticks, construction paper and scissors.
Extra essentials that spring to mind are things such as: a timer or desktop clock so you can make sure the lesson isn’t getting ahead of itself; clipboards in case your class are out and about, or sat on the floor whilst working; Velcro or magnet strips to bind items together; and maybe even a handy supply of healthy snacks and water for you just in case!
Aside from the daily necessities, there are plenty more essentials that need your attention. Take for example what you need in order to keep on top of things and get extra organised. Only teachers know first-hand about the sheer amount of planning and extra work that comes along with the job, so getting into the habit of fantastic organisation is an essential skill.
Start by using plastic tubs or cardboard boxes to store all the materials, books, and supplies that go into special art projects. Be sure to label these boxes with the name of each project or unit. Or, you could keep different boxes for each student as an easy organisational tool. Storage bins, baskets, and magazine files to keep students’ papers and work organised.
Consider using index cards or prompt cards if you need them to help with the flow and pace of a lesson. You can keep a special box or drawer set aside filled with these lifesavers, which can easily be referred to as and when they’re needed. You could even make things easier for you by colour coding and labelling these with a handy index in your lesson planner.
Speaking of which, you absolutely must find a planner that works for you, so spend the time researching your options. Some teachers are happy to have one planner for everything in their lives, whilst others may find that having a separate planner for work, home and family works best.
It’s also important to keep track of all your students’ grades so you can see at a glance who are doing well, improving, or who might need that extra little bit of attention. A separate book, form or folder is the easiest way to do this, and it helps to have it labelled as bold and as clear as possible to help your kids to have easy access to their own records.
In terms of keeping work tidy in the classroom, it’s wise to invest in both a thermal laminator, as well as a decent paper trimmer. This ensures that important pages are protected and can be reused, and when it comes to cutting out thirty worksheets you can get it done quickly and neatly.
It’s not all work, work, and more work
Any primary school teacher will tell you that the satisfaction of the job comes from seeing kids grow and develop, and how they push themselves both with their work and their social skills. It can be a real slog in terms of the academic pressures and sheer amount of work that goes into it, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of fun to be had along the way.
Reading materials such as books, magazines and newspapers are all essentials for the classroom. They can provide encouragement for your kids to spend free time reading during their free time instead of staring into space. Magazines and papers can also be used for a ton of classroom activities, from paper mache to collages and posters, just be sure to label any books so that they don’t end up being used in the same way! Books can be sourced from absolutely anywhere, and it’s a nice idea to encourage the children to read about topics such as friendship, school, family and rules.
Show your students how impressed you are with their work by dedicating a section of your wall or board with a showcase space. You could treat it as a Wall of Fame or museum of work, so that you can congratulate children with star shaped stickers for outstanding work, or even create awards for things like being a good listener, most improved, best behaved, and much more.
You’re going to need an open mind, a great sense of humour, and heaps of positivity and patience. Good luck with your career, and be sure to have fun along the way.