Your classroom is like a second home. You spend a lot of time there, and the reality of teaching is that you can’t always step out when you need something. So as the scouts say, be prepared, and keep these 10+ things on hand in your classroom to make your days run more smoothly.

1. Water. Get a big, big water bottle and fill it up. We use our voices far more than most people, and all day long. Keep those vocal cords hydrated by drinking at least a couple liters of water throughout the day–even more if you need to balance out caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda. It takes hours for the water you drink to hydrate your vocal cords, so be sure you are drinking all day long.

2. A change of clothes. Okay, maybe not a full change, but you never know when you’re going to spill, rip a seam, sweat, or freeze. After ripping a seam in my pants once during first period, I have always kept a long cardigan in my classroom. Other times, the air conditioning is too cold, or I’ve done so much dancing that my clothes are soaked with sweat. Keeping a sweater or cardigan is a must, but an extra top or even bottom is nice to have too. 

3. Deodorant. That speaks for itself. If you’re the perfume or cologne type, then you might want to keep some of that around too. 

4. A hairbrush, or whatever you need to touch up after too much jumping up and down. For some of you that might mean make-up. I have waist-length hair, so for me that means something I can use to pull my hair back or put it up as well. 

5. Hand sanitizer and/or wipes. Especially in pandemic times or flu season, you’ll want a line of defense from the hundreds of hands that touch your instruments, your pencils, your mallets, and you! 

6. Have some hand lotion around too, to balance all the hand washing and sanitizing.

7. Something for your breath. Mints or gum are a great rescue in between classes, especially if you are one of those teachers who never gets to the teachers’ lounge, and squeezes in bites of their breakfast or lunch during break times. (This is not something to aspire to, but at least some of the time, it’s probably the reality.)

8. First aid kit. Some absolute basics to have are antiseptic cream, alcohol swabs, and a whole lot of Band-Aids. If you want to go a bit further, you might have some burn cream, tweezers, a triangle bandage and safety pins, some larger bandages, and tape. Your school should supply these things.

9. Headache medicine. These must be kept in something that you can lock, obviously, but I’ve definitely found a need for something to take for headaches or muscle aches in the middle of a school day before.

10. Snacks. It’s good to keep some quick, healthy snacks at hand. I also recommend a little chocolate, tea, fruit snacks, or whatever indulgent comfort food will make you feel better when a child has driven you to tears. 

Those are my must-haves to keep on hand at school, in addition to basic classroom supplies like tissues, Post-its, and tape. I also keep a set of utensils, lozenges, headphones, and my laptop and phone chargers. 

Am I missing anything? What else do you keep in your desk?

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Ten Things You Need in Your Desk Drawer
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