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things teachers always need

31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer


31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer


Are you ready to make life easier for your future self?

A teacher's desk is a like a mini-home-away-from-home and keeping it supplied with the right stuff will ensure that you are prepared for anything that comes your way this school year. 

In this post I’ll share 31 essential items that your should always have in your classroom.

So, which ones are you missing?

First and foremost, keep these simple rules in mind:

• Classroom items have a habit of disappearing so avoid keeping anything too valuable in your desk.
• When it comes to food, be mindful of storing perishable items or things that will attract insects and critters.
• Be considerate when sharing your desk with someone else.
• Keep your desk locked if you can.

1.) Basic Supplies

This may be a no-brainer, but it's always important to keep your desk stocked with basic teacher supplies including colored markers, staples, and post-its.

2.) Plastic Utensils

Because sometimes you need to eat your lunch in peace, without making that etxra trip to the teacher's lounge.

3.) Water Bottles

Teachers are notoriously dehydrated individuals. Keeping water in your classroom will help you stay hydrated and healthy!

4.) Cough Drops

For those days when your throat is not up to the task of speaking.

5.) Tylenol

It's hard to think of many things that are worse than dealing with a classroom full of students while you have a headache.

6.) Gum and/or Mints

Millions of teachers suffer from undiagnosed coffee breath. Don't let it happen to you.

7.) Disinfectant Wipes

For all the snot, spit, and spills that cover the surfaces in your classroom.

8.) Sunscreen

You never know when you'll have to spend time outdoors before, during, or after school.

9.) Phone Charger

An extra phone charger is an absolute essential.

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10.) Duct Tape

You can fix almost anything using duct tape. It will come in handy more than you think!

11.) Hand Sanitizer

Always keep a small bottle just for yourself.

12.) Tissues

Kids are excellent at using up all of the tissues. Be sure to have a secret stash.

13.) Paper Towel

Because you're over-due for a coffee spill.

14.) Deodorant and Other Personal Hygiene Products

We all have our awkward moments; being prepared helps you get through them.

15.) Hand Lotion

Because chalk, markers, and glue are your hands' worst enemy.

16.) Vitamin C Supplements

Keep your immune system strong, especially when everyone around you is getting sick.

17.) Extension Cord

For those days when the technology isn't agreeing with you and improvising is required.

18.) Headphones

Have you ever tried listening to music or a podcast during your planning period?

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19.) Healthy Snacks

For those days when there's no time to sit down and eat.

20.) A Deck of Playing Cards

They're dirt cheap and have a variety of uses. Why not?

21.) Change of Clothes

It's always a good idea to keep a spare outfit for coffee spills, the gym, or after-school events.

22.) Tote Bags

For teachers who are always carrying stuff in and out of their classroom.

23.) A Good Book or Two


You never know when you'll have some down time to catch up on your reading.

24.) Umbrella

Why get soaked running to your car when you don't have to?

25.) Air Freshener

Because they're serving Sloppy Joe's for lunch in the school cafeteria today.

26.) Portable USB Stick

These are awesome for transporting and backing up large and/or important files.

27.) Money

Keep a few small bills in your desk for fundraisers and vending machines.

28.) Band-Aids

Seriously, there may be no greater essential than band-aids!

29.) Blank Birthday Cards


Because you will forget grandma's birthday again this year!

30.) Stamps

Because if you send grandma's card during your lunch break, it will make it to her on time!

31.) Takeout Menus and Coupons

For those extra long days when you need to pick something up on your way home from school.

What essential items do you always keep in your desk? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.