Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Teacher Bag and the Other Random Crap I Keep Stashed in My Classroom

I was packing up my teacher bag last night in preparation for finally getting into my classroom to work this weekend and thought I'd let you guys take a peak inside.

By the way, if you are a teacher and you don't have a teacher bag, you're doing it wrong. This is a necessity, people! I mean, who would Mary Poppins be without her magical carpet bag? She'd just be any other boring English nanny! Would Santa really be Santa if he didn't have that giant magical bag of toys? Nope. Where would Dora the Explorer be without her backpack? She'd just be a lost little girl wandering through the world with an anthropomorphic purple monkey wearing red boots. And, teacher friend, who would you be without your teacher bag? You would probably be someone who is either A) a disorganized or B) such a badass at your job that you need never transport your work to home (in which case, your Majesty, I grovel at your feet).

Got a little carried away there. Moving on...

Alrighty, so there are all kinds of useful vessels that can be used as teacher bags. Backpacks are a very good option, as are tote bags, satchels, and laptop bags. Less traditional but nonetheless functional options could include a gym bag, a milk crate, or one of those sturdy brown paper bags with handles you get from Cracker Barrel.

Here is my teacher bag.

I feel I should go on record as saying that I don't buy Thirty-One stuff because, as freaking adorable as it all is and as much as I like it, I'm not willing to drop that kind of dough on a tote bag. #stingy #teachersalary My mother-in-law, however, is the queen of gift-giving and she is the one who so graciously gifted me this perfect teacher bag. This bad boy has SEVEN outside pockets and a very spacious interior, but it is also still small enough to be convenient. Bonus points for the color scheme.

This is my grading file. I've used it for several years, now, and it's actually holding up quite nicely. This is my system I use for taking home student work. I keep everything filed by class period and keep a file of answer keys as well. Great way to stash paperwork that needs to travel without losing too many things.

That's my school iPad, which is paradoxically the most useless and the most useful piece of technology I own. I mean, I own no other Apple products, so it's not at all compatible with any other technology in my life, but it's really useful for grading student papers that are turned in using It's also synced up to my work emails, so if I feel like doing even more work from home, I can access my emails very quickly.

That's a student handbook/planner (from last year, might I add; I just included it for the picture lol). While all the important dates and lesson planning goes into my Sanity Saver, it's nice to keep one of these handy for a reference. It includes the school's policies on everything, the delay schedules, all of the sporting events, and most other major events throughout the school year.

That's my pen case with a selection of pretty ink pens. I also keep a pair of scissors handy along with the pen that comes with a real Smash Book (it has a black felt-tip pen on one end and a glue stick on the other... so handy!).

I typically carry a book with me everywhere I go. In the summertime, I just keep one in my purse, but during the school year I don't usually carry a purse, so the personal reading book goes in my teacher bag (along with my car keys, wallet, etc.). I think if I'm going to ask my students to read and hope to help them develop a love of reading, I need them to see me reading for enjoyment too. Usually throughout the school year I read novels suggested by students. Just getting started with this one.

My Sanity Saver and my Smash Books go in my teacher bag too. Other things that may or may not make an appearance in my bag include:

  • chewing gum
  • binder clips
  • paper clips
  • tape
  • highlighters
  • a ruler
  • bandaids
  • Post-It notes (actually, I do have Post-It notes in there, but they are currently stuck to the back cover of my Smash Book)

After writing this fun post about the things teachers really have on their back-to-school shopping lists, it got me thinking about the non-school supplies things that I keep stashed in my classroom. When you spend 8+ hours a day (and oftentimes it's more like 10+ hours) in your classroom, sometimes there's just some other random crap that needs to be hiding out in your classroom. Things like:
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush/toothpaste/floss/mouthwash
  • comb/brush
  • mousse
  • hair spray
  • chapstick
  • emergency lunch items (cans of soup, tuna lunch kits)
  • snacks (microwave popcorn, trail mix, Kind bars)
  • a dressy change of clothes (for the morning you spill your coffee all over your clothes)
  • a cruddy change of clothes (for the afternoon you're going to be cleaning out the prop room)
  • a pair of comfortable shoes
  • Ibuprofen
  • allergy medicine
  • antacids
  • Jolly Ranchers (if you're pregnant and sick as a dog like I was)
  • feminine hygiene products (if you're a lady teacher in a high school, I can pretty much guarantee at least one young lady will ask you for one of these)
  • a hundred different cardigans
  • bobby pins
  • mascara
  • concealer
  • lotion
  • several dollars in quarters and singles for the vending machine
  • paper 
  • plates
  • plastic forks
  • napkins
  • a Tide pen
  • Febreeze
So I'm very curious... what am I missing? What absolute necessity is in your teacher bag? What are the really bizarre essentials you keep in your classroom?

Not-So-Happy Summer's-Almost-Over!


  1. I am all about "a place for everything, and everything in its place", so I like to have a pocket that is dedicated to holding my classroom keys, my flash drives for the courses I teach (MY LIFE. I would be seriously out of luck if I ever lost those flash drives!), and my lanyard with my badge (which always has a pen and a mechanical pencil clipped to it).

  2. Also on my "must have" list are hand sanitizer and tissues! A few tea bags and some hot chocolate packets are a nice addition, too.

  3. I *love* that pen case, where is it from?

    Also, duct tape! Maybe it's because I teach science (or because I'm clumsy) but a few rolls of duct tape are always floating around my room.

    1. The pen case was a find at Staples! :) And it seems like I ALWAYS need duct tape and never have it! I have to add that to my shopping list for next fall.

  4. Wow I love how organized you are : ) I've always got my planner in my bag, along with at least one pen, pencil and highlighter. I try to keep a folder of any text I'm pre-reading as well in case I can fit in a little reading time. If I'm lucky, I have my laptop in there. If I'm unlucky, I have a stack of folders to grade.

    Disorderly Teaching

  5. Love that pencil case! Where is it from?

  6. Great list! Can't wait for more! I also have contact solution and a nail file in my emergency class supplies too.

  7. Great list! Can't wait for more! I also have contact solution and a nail file in my emergency class supplies too.

  8. Where did you get your grading file from? I love it!

    1. That is a Walmart find, actually. I've had it for years, so I'm not sure if such a thing is still there or not. I love it!

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