As the old meme goes: “Teaching is the only profession where you steal stuff from home and take it to work.” It is sad, but true. Every year we shell out our own cash for classroom supplies. While many parents and parent organizations try to help out with the costs, not all teachers are so lucky. There are also options such as Donors Choose and GoFundMe for teachers who want to crowdsource. One of the ways I cut down on costs is by buying in bulk. I know there are certain items that I use throughout the year; if I buy in bulk, it saves a little in the long run.
- Paper clipsI have no idea where these things end up, but I never seem to have enough of them. I use them constantly to file student work and organize my handouts.
I used to always ask for Kleenex on my “suggested donation” list, but supply never met demand. For a while, I was actually that teacher that had rolls of toilet paper for students to blow their noses. Now I spend a little bit at the beginning of the year and have a nice classroom environment; it’s never fun to run out of tissue.
You will always run out these at the wrong time– say, when students are turning in a multi-page assignment–so, make sure you have a stock on hand.
Golf pencils are a great alternative to buying full sized #2s. They cost less and are easy to store. Also, when students “borrow” them, you won’t be so sad to see them go.
Even if you don’t require students to write in pencil, there’s a good chance they will want to. There’s also a pretty good chance that they will desperately need to erase something and not have an eraser. These are inexpensive enough to keep a stash.
- Hand sanitizer
This is another item you don’t want to run out of at the wrong moment. When a nasty cold gets passed around, you’ll be happy to have a big jug of hand sanitizer on your desk. It also works wonders for getting out little coffee stains! One of these 2 liter sized containers lasted in my room for over a year.
- Expo markers
I use a projector to show important information on the board most of the time, but I am still amazed at home many dry erase markers I go through. It’s also fun to let students use them to write on the desk tops (it comes off).
- Sticky notes
There are so many fun activities that you can use sticky notes for. I like to do a modified “chalk talk” where students answer questions on sticky notes and then group them together on the wall. They are great for annotating books, too!
I used to buy the cheapest pens I could find, but I quickly learned that it is worth it to spend just a little more to avoid lost caps and gloopy ink. My favorites are gel ink click pens.
- Ibuprofen/pain reliever
It is inevitable that I will get a headache (or my feet or back will hurt) at work. It is nice to have some medicine nearby. Your co-workers will thank you when they need some, too.