With school supplies showing up at my local Wal-Mart (because they must get out the Christmas decoration by October and will need the room), my school nightmares have returned.
My basic nightmare begins in a classroom of people held against their will where no one will listen to me…you know, almost like a real school day. The administration has taken away my classroom for my conference period (which isn’t all that of a stretch as they did it last year to use my room for another class) and I have to tromp to the woods by the football stadium to find my used KOA cabin that is now my conference room. I glance into the woods, and the road to my cabin is muddy and full of pot holes. (Symbolism much?) Then, I’m called to the Principal’s office where a parent has reported me for calling them a lint ball. As punishment, I have to pull staples out of the world’s longest bulletin board with a toothpick.
I wake up in a cold sweat.
Back to school is always a mix of good and bad feelings. You get a new start, with new kids and you look forward to getting to know them and being able to visit with your co-workers again. On the flip side, you have to get up early, wear actual clothes not made of sweat pant material, and fight off the first month illness that you always get when surrounded by new germs, eh, kids.
Several of my friends are new to teaching this year and have asked me to make them a list of what they will need to stock their desks and classrooms. In response, I have written some of the longest text messages known to mankind…they’re probably still being sent as we speak. As I waited to hear the ‘sent’ beep, the thought occurred to me that it would have been nice, when I started, to know what I needed to have on hand. Thus, this super fantastic and descriptive blog.
Keep in mind your audience and your age group. Obviously 1st graders don’t need pointed scissors around and 8th graders, although some may disagree, wouldn’t benefit from a sleeping mat (but their teachers might). Some school districts, if you are one of the lucky few, provide all supplies for teachers and may have a supply closet where you can retrieve extra things. (If you are one of these people, be thankful and let me know if the Unicorn is pretty). Most will give you a budget of around $100 to buy things from their warehouse. The bulk of what 1st time teachers, heck, all teachers, need to start a school year, generally falls on them.
Upside, you can claim about $200 on your taxes. Also, once you teach for a while, you’ll find that you’ll need less and less and are replacing only consumables. The downside, the $200 barely covers tax for what you end up spending sometimes, especially if you try to furnish your own room, except for desks.
Tips: Stores such as Joanne’s Fabrics, Office Depot, Walgreens and CVS have discount/loyalty cards that you can get for free which give you discounts or offer rebates to teachers. You can also create a page on http://www.adoptaclassroom.com and ask people you know if they would be willing to donate a few bucks to help you get started. Also, start saving Boxtops off General Mills products. Each one is worth 10 cents and once submitted in groups of 50, earn you a check that you can spend on supplies. Two submission dates: October and February. Check with your campus to see if someone is in charge of this and, if not, you can register your school at www.boxtopsforeducation.com .
Okay, to the list. In general, you will need the following to stock your desk and room:
- Pencils and sharpener (You may want to invest in a good sharpener right off the bat. Many of the ones attached to the wall are more successful at eating pencils than actually sharpening them.
- Pens (Red, blue and black)
- Notebook paper and/or legal pad and/or spiral or composition book (I use a comp book to document discipline and the others for writing down ideas or information at staff meetings [doodling])
- Binders (If you’d like to keep hard copies of lessons in these)
- White Out
- Expo markers and erasers
- Stapler, staples, staple puller (Usually 2 staplers – 1 for you and 1 for the students)
- Notecards (Trust me. They come in handy for different things)
- Rubber bands
- Clip board
- Map Colors/Markers/Highlighters/Crayons
- Glue stick
- Ruler/Meter stick
- Post it notes
- Scissors (Get a good pair)
- Masking Tape
- Transparent tape and dispenser
- Sliding E-Z grader (Can be found at most school supply places or online)
- Eraser Caps/Big Eraser
- Baskets or boxes for storage
- Manila file folders/hanging folders
- Lysol wipes (For all things dirty)
- Baby wipes (Come in handy for dirty hands that can’t use sanitizer)
- Pledge and a duster (Kids make dust like Pig Pen from Snoopy)
- Paper towels
- Personal items like deodorant, toothbrush and paste, hair brush etc. because there are some mornings when things are forgotten or not done well.
- Comfortable elevated chair (You might work up to this purchase, but it’s well worth it to rest your feet and still be able to see everyone)
- Ball of yarn (Lost lanyards, name tag holder, etc)
- Small umbrella (For those days when the sky’s bottom drops out and you parked at the back of the lot)
- Latex gloves (A few pairs should do…you never know. I wore them when I cleaned desks where kids with lice had sat)
- Personal decorating (This is where it can get pricy – fabric, curtains, posters, etc.) This is up to you.
I think I covered most of it. Again, these are the basics I keep on hand in my room. Don’t be overwhelmed. A lot of this you probably have hanging around your house, in the garage or in your junk drawer or craft room. Once you request the kids to bring their items, you can add to yours over the course of the school year and be able to buy less the following year.
Most school supplies are on sale from July – end of August. After this time, they can double in price. In other words: Get them while the getting’s good! Have fun shopping, go sign up for those discount cards and get your goodies now!