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10 Classroom Essentials New Teachers Can’t Do Without

New teachers enter their first classroom with a blank slate. With limited budgets and empty walls, new teachers require affordably priced supplies. Fortunately, retailers and manufacturers have heeded the call for providing low-cost options to new educators.

Read on to learn about the ten classroom essentials new teachers need.

Captivating classroom decorations

When students enter classrooms, they need to have a space that helps them understand classroom expectations. Children and teens also need to feel warmly welcomed in their new space. Classroom decorations should show the teacher’s personality while providing an educational experience for all students.

The best classroom decorations for elementary teachers include calendars, welcoming bulletin boards, an alphabet, a schedule, a birthday chart, and class jobs charts. Secondary teachers like to add motivational posters, reading and writing posters to help reinforce skills, and content-specific bulletin boards.

Cleaning supplies

Classrooms can be unsanitary environments, with dirty fingers, runny noses, and other germs. New teachers need supplies of wipes, disinfectant sprays, and rubber gloves. The school will have supplies for accidents, but having a few extra items makes quick cleanups easy.

Teachers need little baskets and carryalls to organize their cleaning supplies. It’s not enough to have a few bottles of spray and boxes of wipes. You’ll need a dedicated place so you can grab what you need quickly.

Health supplies

Other vital supplies help with student health needs. These must-haves include boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer, bandaids, ice packs, and boxes of face masks. Elementary teachers usually need more of these items than secondary teachers, but they are crucial for any level of education.


Kids always seem hungry, but some are hungry because they experience food insecurity at home. Classrooms should have a few boxes of snacks for those days when kids need brain food. New teachers should keep the snacks hidden—otherwise, all the kids might eat them. Always bring out the snacks when one of your students is truly hungry.

While on the subject of snacks, new teachers will want snacks for themselves. There will be moments when teachers need a bit of sugar or caffeine to help them get through the day. Having a special stash of sweet or salty food will help make the tough days a little easier.


Ideally, all students function with intrinsic rewards. In reality, learners require external rewards, too. Teachers could spend a small sum collecting prizes to give to their students. Fortunately, there are countless inexpensive options that children love. To keep external rewards meaningful, teachers should give them out sparingly.

The best rewards are little goodies like stickers, bookmarks, fidget items, and certificates. Some teachers like to give candy, such as small lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, and chewing gum. The least expensive rewards are classroom specials like sitting at the teacher’s desk, running errands for the teacher, and line-leader duties.

Office supplies

Teachers and students always need office supplies. These include pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, and different types of paper. Teachers and students use up pens and pencils quickly, so having boxes of them is helpful. Some teachers use collateral to keep their stash of pens and pencils in their rooms. Some also buy pencils with engraved messages to ensure that they always return.

The least expensive way to get office supplies is by request, through local businesses – especially printing companies. Sometimes, these companies will give leftover supplies or misprinted items to schools or other non-profit organizations. Make your requests early in the calendar year so you can have free supplies for the upcoming school year.

Other nifty office supplies for new teachers include sticky notes, note cards, various types of tape, markers, cardboard, colored paper, and staples and staplers. Don’t forget about paper clips, binders, and folders.

Storage, storage, and more storage

Teachers never have enough storage. Educators need bins for art supplies, magazine boxes for books and assignments, and cubbies for students to keep their daily necessities. New teachers need book carts on wheels, as many tubs as possible, and rolling carts to carry their work from their cars to the classrooms and back again.

Teachers also need labels and Sharpie markers to know what is in each storage bin and tub. You also can’t go wrong with an organizational system to help track what’s inside each box.

New teachers also need filing systems that are easy to use. Consider accordion file systems or hanging file systems that students can use, too.

Technology tools

Today’s teachers use technology throughout the class. That means you’ll need extra charging cords and surge protectors so that students have a place to charge their devices. Many teachers need storage solutions for smartphones and classroom tablets. Locking phone cubbies, cookbook stands, and screen cleaners help teachers better manage their devices.

Some teachers also like to create posters that help students understand how to use their devices while in class. Some teachers have traffic signals that help kids discern whether their devices should be closed, partially closed, or fully open.

Digital clock

While schools usually have clocks, students don’t always know how to read them. Teachers benefit from having a digital clock that they can quickly see from anywhere in the room. Most tasks have time requirements, and teachers need to assess how much time is available and how much time students need.

Students also appreciate being able to see the time. Little ones might not understand what time means, but the older students like knowing how much time they have on a task or how much time they have before switching classes.

Thank you notes

Every teacher needs to have a collection of thank you notes to help show appreciation to parent volunteers and substitute teachers. Teachers can save money by buying thank you notes by the box rather than buying one at a time at the grocery store.

Wrap up

New teachers can outfit their classes without breaking the bank. Fortunately, retailers offer affordable options for new teachers who can fill their rooms with items donated by local businesses, family, and friends.

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