Must-Have Teaching Supplies for a First-Year Teacher

The right books and supplies can make a teacher's first year less stressful.
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Regardless of what grade you teach, your first year as an educator is arguably the hardest of your career. Having the right supplies can help you survive some challenges with class and student management. The classroom you inherit might have some essentials, but others need to be purchased or gathered in advance and restocked during the year. Check with your principal before spending your own money, as some schools have supply budgets. Parents often contribute classroom materials as well. Collect essential supplies first, and save others for a wish list.

1 Student Writing Utensils

An ample supply of writing utensils is essential at any grade level. Students complete classwork regularly and need to write, draw or color with a variety of tools. Although many come to school with their own supplies, you should have extras available for those who don't. For a primary classroom, stock up on markers and crayons. At the secondary level, students may use computers for their schoolwork. But pencils -- regular and colored -- and highlighters are important for occasional drawing projects or reports in the upper grades. Find people or businesses that are giving away or discarding writing tools, even if they are slightly used. In lower grades, organize the materials in labeled bins and store them in accessible spots. In higher grades, keep extra writing utensils in a specific place at the front of the room.

2 Teacher Writing Utensils

You will need a variety of writing utensils for your own work. Collect pens in different colors for grading assignments, chalk or dry erase markers for a blackboard or white board, and thick markers for chart paper. Keep some pencils for your own use as well.

3 Grade Book

All teachers need a grade book or grading software to record student scores and track student progress throughout the year. If you don't want to use a printed grade book, find a computer program to help you organize your grades electronically. Some schools use specific systems across grade levels. If you prefer a printed grade book, ask experienced teachers about the types of grade books they use. A simple, easy-to-follow format will be best in the first year.

4 Computer

Today's teachers function best with access to a computer. If the school doesn't supply one, bring your personal computer from home. If that's not possible, head to a library or community center that allows the public to use its computers. Depending on the grade level you teach, a computer can help you complete many tasks. You can do research for lesson plans, read articles to improve your knowledge, create worksheets or assignments and communicate with colleagues, other professionals and parents.

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.