26 Teacher Desk Supplies That You’ll Be Glad to Have in a Pinch

Making my list, checking it twice.

teacher desk supplies

When you’re a teacher, you have to be prepared for almost anything that may happen in the course of the day. After all, it’s not like we can run out to 7-11 between appointments to grab the things we need!

Samantha W. recently wrote into our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE to ask, “What are some essential teacher desk supplies that you keep in your classroom? I’m usually the one all the teachers go to for emergency things and I always feel like I have everything I need until that ONE something happens. I want to make sure I’m prepared this year.”

Here, their top suggestions:

 1. Band-Aids

Because kids go through them like they’re going out of style, so it’s nice to have your own stash.

2. Painkillers (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen)

Because who can do their best when they’re dealing with pain?

3. Eye drops


Because dry itchy eyes happen.

4. Antacids (Tums, Pepto, GasX)

Because the last thing you want to do in front of a class of middle-schoolers is pass gas!

5. Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream

Because you never know when you might be deathly allergic to something.

6. Plastic cutlery, cups and bowls

“Bowls and cups absolutely—I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a small class party and my kids bring 2-liter drink bottles and NO CUPS! LOL”
—Samantha W. 

7. Coffee/tea supplies

Because, duh, caffeine! Don’t forget sugar/artificial sweetener packets and powdered creamer if that’s the way you like it.

8. Your own personal mug/water bottle

Because you never know when Starbucks might show up in the teacher lounge, and you want to be prepared!

9. Quick, easy food rations

Because time gets away from us and sometimes and we need a quick fix of nutrition. Suggestions: bars, cup of soup, trail mix, small cans of tuna, peanut butter crackers.

10. Nail clippers, emery board, nail file

Because a snagged nail is an unwanted distraction.

11. Deodorant

“I have extra trial size deodorant available for kids if they need it.”— Jody R.

12. Baby powder

Because when you start school in August, you have some hot sticky days.

13. Breath mints/chewing gum

Because teachers have lots of close encounters every day.

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14. Feminine products

Because, well, self-explanatory.

15. Hand lotion


“#1 must-have item! I’m a germaphobe and am constantly washing my hands during the day. Without lotion, my hands would be a dried cracked mess.”
—Stephanie V.

16. Lint roller

Because your golden retriever may be the light of your life, but yellow furry pants are not exactly professional.

17. Static guard

Because we all have that one clingy shirt or skirt that drives us crazy.

18. Laundry stain stick

Because accidents happen, but we hate it when accidents happen on our favorite shirt.

19. Extra shoes

“I keep a pair of black rubber flip flops  in my drawer—not necessarily allowed in the dress code, but help in a pinch when my feet hurt or a shoe breaks.”—Samantha W.

20. An extra outfit

“In case of an accident like spilling coffee down my shirt, diarrhea, or a heavy period. I live 45 minutes from my school and can’t run home to change.”—Tammy H.

21. Sewing kit

“Well, I sew and the students and teachers know that and come to me with emergencies. I have assorted buttons, thread in many colors, and safety pins. I use dental floss and a strong needle to fix backpacks and bags….some hold up until graduation.”—Cate W.

22. Glass cleaning cloth

“So many of my kids who wear glasses never clean them and they are FILTHY. No wonder they can’t see!”—Samantha W.

23. Extra pair of glasses/glasses repair kit

Because what can be worse than breaking or forgetting your glasses for the day?

24. Painter’s Tape

“Comes off with no residue and can be used to hang signs quickly, divide up a white board, hold testing pencils in a bundle, lots of things!”—Marc. A.

25. Collapsable hand fan

Because, for teachers of a certain age, two words- hot flash.

26. String/ fishing line

Because so many little problems can be solved with a ball of twine.

Add your must-have teacher desk essentials to the comments below.