We know that everyone has their favorite mug, the pen that writes so well it practically has magic powers or the filing system you swear by. But, what about those other classroom must-haves? Those little things that technically have nothing at all to do with teaching but everything to do with saving your sanity? We asked teachers to share their surprising classroom items and we’re pretty sure the responses will inspire you to bring in some new “must-haves” to your room this year!
1. ‘George’ the guinea pig
“He’s almost always quiet, gives confidence to and calms my fifth graders, and is always good for a laugh and a snuggle. I hold him sometimes while I teach and talk to him jokingly about the students. ‘George, can you believe they’re all looking at you instead of working?’ The kids do all the cage cleaning and he comes home with me on weekends, though I’m trying to find a way to send him with students. I need a more portable cage for the weekend.” —Stephanie J.
2. ‘Sherbet’ the class alpaca
” He calms everyone down. Sometimes the kids, sometimes the teacher!” —Jamie K.
3. My director’s chair
“I love how comfy it is. My students ask to sit in it all of the time but the rule is they can sit in it when they graduate from high school. I’ve had lots of former students come back to take me up on it!” —Kim D.
4. My Korean actor mug
“For some reasons, I feel less stress drinking my coffee from my Korean actors mug.” —Theresa T.
5. My classroom chandelier
“I sponsor our junior prom going on ten years and have lots of leftover decorations. I put up chandeliers for lamps when we watch videos. I can still see my desk and my room looks extra fancy.” —Robyn T.
6. My Batman mask
“It’s my alter ego. Also great fun and often a good entry into critical thinking. One great discussion during some down time focused around the ideas why a middle-aged woman may or may not be Batman.” —Wendy M.
7. An adorable plush taco
“I have a stuffed taco. His name is Nacho, el Taco de Trabajo (the work taco). He is super soft and fluffy, and sometimes when I’m grading I will cuddle him and it gives me the comfort to keep going. I have a lot of stuffed critters in my room, but Nacho keeps me feeling calm and secure (don’t tell the others!)” —Kelly M.
8. Albert Einstein
“I’m really attached to my Einstein poster. It provides a focal point to my room with its many colors. I lucked out when I found it on sale several years ago at a local Ross store.” —Jeff O.
9. Flower power blanket
“This EXACT blanket. It’s large, super soft, super warm. The temp in my room was always freezing so I always had to have this thing. Plus it came in handy when we had sickness floating around and some kids were unable to be picked up early…wrapped them up in this and let them sleep on the pirate ship in our reading nook.” —Kayleigh C.
10. Bernie the Dog
“My dog Bernie’s picture is all over my wall and desk!” —Peggy M.
11. Plants galore
“My plants. I keep a variety of plants near my widows and they help me so much when the weather is gloomy. I teach art and several times the plants have not only served as a subject for students to study and draw, but also have given me the chance to talk to my kids about finding small things that make you happy and calm you down. It’s also a good segue into science-related art and conversations about taking care of nature.” —Rachel V.
12. A multi-purpose tiara
“My crown. For my birthday. To remind kids who’s ‘in charge’ the last day of school. The list goes on and on.” —Sharmon W.
13. Dr. Who decor
“Decoration! Every two years I do a new theme. This will be my last year of Doctor Who. Turning my cabinet into a TARDIS has been my best idea yet.” —Kristy B.
14. A ventriloquist dummy
“This guy is the best thing ever to stop disruptive behavior.” —Amanda G.
15. Tried and true work BFF
“My work BFF…we’ve been together for 20 years and have seen it all with each other.” —Sandra S.
16. Notes from my students
“I have a binder with the sweet notes that students give me and it’s my “inspiration for the tough days” —Karington J.
17. Fave music posters
“It sounds odd, but I must have posters of my favorite music groups in my room. The Cure is my latest.” —Michael M.
“Hope I don’t lose him in the move to new classroom/building!” —Heather D.
19. Loads of ladybugs
“My ladybug collection in honor of my late mom who we called ‘Buggy'” —Terry N.
20. An avian mascot
“‘Steven Seagull’ was left to me as a parting gift from a teacher who went to teach overseas for a few years. He’s now my little mascot!” —Christy W.
21. You are . . . Groot
“I am Groot!” —Janice P
22. My high heel chair
“Love my chair!” —Debbie S.
“The classroom’s pets.” —Fabiola S.
What are the surprising classroom items you plan on keeping forever? Please share in the comments.