Being a new teacher and trying to survive the first year can be very stressful. The first time I taught my class, I wasn’t sure if I was prepared enough. I did everything I thought possible and poured over my materials, hoping I covered all my bases. Still, the stress can be overwhelming, and there’s plenty I wish I’d known beforehand.
No doubt, a new teacher walking into a new class is like a first-time adventurer wandering through the Amazon. You prepare, and fight, and hope that by the end you’ll make it out alive. You learn plenty through experience, sure, but it’s best to save yourself the scars if you can. It doesn’t have to be all scary kids and crocodiles.
Whether you’re teaching Kindergartners or teenagers, there’s plenty of things you can put together to prepare for the coming year. Too often, lesson planning and other logistics will cause you to forget about the small things that can save you a ton of headaches. So, let me help you out with these awesome New Teacher Survival Kit Must-Haves.
Rules and Team Building
On the first day of school, it’s helpful for students to know what you expect of them. Your list of rules doesn’t have to be exhaustive but can be a simple list, like be polite, be prompt, and be prepared. Of course, you’ll want to put these on the wall. No better way to teach kids rules than with this fantastic classroom rules poster.
Once you’ve established those rules, you’ll need to reinforce them throughout the year. On top of that, you’ll need to have a handful of team building and motivational games the students can play.
Of course, these games will depend on what level you’re teaching, but one example could be “Desert Survival,” where you break up the class into teams, provide a list of 20 survival objects, and have the team pick seven. At the end, you’ll give each time defend why they made their choices.
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It’s a no-brainer that managing your class is a huge key to success for both yourself and your students. So, how do you go about doing that? First, make sure you have the school calendar, and then put all the events on your classroom calendar. Your students will thank you for that.
You’ll want a student supply center. This can include all the usual supplies kids might need, like a stapler, pencil sharpener, glue sticks, a tape dispenser, rulers, paper, etc… and put it at the front of class. Make sure to have three or four trash cans in different places for easy trash removal. Also, make sure to have a homework drop off bin of some kind so your students know where to put their homework.
But, between you and me, what would make a classroom really fun and exciting is to have these classroom buzzers. Kids love to push buttons and a literal buzzer will only make learning fun and way better than simply raising your hand.
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The school janitor won’t always be around to fix problems around the classroom. You’ll have to do many do-it-yourself fix-it projects alone. With that said, make sure you have a screwdriver, duck tape, extension cords and power strips, flashlights and batteries, some fishing wire, and a small sewing kit.
But, to really make sure you’re prepared, you’ll want to have this awesome Gerber Multi-tool. Of course, keep these items secured and out of your students’ reach.
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Every teacher needs to keep up their strength and energy. Teaching and keeping up with kids all day for five days a week can easily wear you down. It’s just a fact.
So, you’ll want to keep a small supply of healthy snacks for yourself, including trail mix, apples, and chips. Plus, if you’re feeling particularly flummoxed, you might just need some chocolate to get you through the day.
But, why go through the hassle of getting all that stuff yourself, when you can just get the Hangry Kit? It has everything you need to keep up your energy and win each day.
When the bell rings and school is out, you’ll discover the day isn’t actually over, especially if you need to grade tests and finish report cards. You’ll likely have a few late nights at your desk at school, hammering out grades and preparing for tomorrow’s lesson.
To get you through those times, make sure to have some CD’s, an iPod, DVD’s, or a podcast ready while you wrap up your work. It’ll help keep your sanity.
You can also make it even easier on yourself and get a music subscription for your smartphone. Don’t settle for limits on your iPod. Get unlimited, never-ending music to keep you going in the later hours of the night.
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This is where we start getting into the nitty-gritty. You might be surprised what kind of toiletries you’ll need on the fly. I would make hand sanitizer a top priority because honestly, kids’ hands are filthy.
You’ll also want to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste, travel size deodorant, dry shampoo, waterless razor, and lint roller. Unless you’re always on top of things, chances are you might wake up late and have to rush to work on time.
As a side note, you’ll want to keep these inside a good organizational box, like the Caboodle, to keep track of it.
With twenty to thirty kids in a classroom, some sneezing, coughing, and hacking all over the place, you need to be prepared. Unfortunately, you can’t bring a HAZMAT suit to the classroom, that would likely terrify the kids, but you can bring a few cleaners.
Of course, having tissue paper at the ready is a must, but aside from that, bring a couple of tubes of disinfectant wipes to clean hard surfaces and door knobs.
You’ll also want to bring some personal facial towelettes. You never know when a kid will want to whisper something to you and then suddenly sneeze in your face.
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You never know when a headache might hit you like a hammer or a sore throat might come on. With that in mind, you’ll want to keep a healthy supply of cough drops, ibuprofen, and DayQuil.
I would also be worried about my skin, though. When you’ve got recess duty and are in hot or cold weather, you’ll need lotion and sunscreen to protect from harmful UV rays or a bitter chill.
Naturally, you should also have a variety of band-aids handy in case you or one of your students is hurt. To make sure you have everything you need, you should get a great first aid kit.
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Your mental health is of vital importance to be the best teacher possible. With that said, you need to have the tools to keep yourself sane when everything seems to be going wrong.
This could look differently for different people. I like to put encouraging sticky notes on my desk, but maybe you’d use a stress ball or put in earplugs to drown out some of the noise. Whatever works for you and is appropriate for school, remember to bring it.
The last thing you want is to drop food or coffee on your nice pants or have a student accidentally spill paint all over your shirt. Unfortunately, it’s all too common, and kids will likely use it against you, making it a big distraction. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Always make sure to bring in a spare change of clothes that you can quickly run and put on in the bathroom. You’ll be glad you did when the worst happens.