We know every time you walk into Target or the dollar store these days that you’re walking out with armfuls of notebooks, markers, cute desk accessories and maybe a new water bottle or some chocolate. All things teachers need in their classrooms, all things you’ll use and all things you’ll continuously stock up on throughout the year.
But, what do you do when you need a pick me up in the dead of winter? Or your cute, new shoes were really death traps in disguise? Or the school water cooler feels like a marathon away to reach? Well, we went to your fellow teachers for their tips on the best things they’ve ever added to their classroom essentials. You’ll never see these items stocked in the traditional BTS section of your favorite store—but every teacher will direct you to the right aisle to buy these things in a heartbeat!
Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!
1. Amazon Echo Dot
“Weather updates, random number generator (instead of picking sticks), all kinds of music, and translation for my ELL student. I’m hoping they take off as a classroom tool and get more skills!” —Melanie S.
2. Mini fridge and microwave combo
“This way, I don’t spend my entire 30 minute lunch break waiting in line for the microwave. Unfortunately, I never leave my room!” —Mary G.
3. Scentsy warmer
“I have to have my Scentsy warmer to rid my room of freshmen funk. Many still have not learned about the importance of personal hygiene.” —Beth S.
4. Essential oils diffuser
“I use it to help clean the air of germs. Peppermint oil for focus, orange to uplift, and of course it helps with that sweaty after recess smell!. Plus it is all natural and safe for the kiddos!” —Christina C.
5. Extra shoes
“Uhhhh . . . for those days when I accidentally wear mismatched boots (PS: Don’t get dressed in the dark)” —Krista S.
6. A spare bra
“Seriously! I’ve had underwires snap on me early in the day TWICE without having a backup. Of course, now that I have a spare, I’ve yet to need it.” —Samantha M.
7. Salt rock lamp
“I tell my kids if has calming abilities. Even if it doesn’t really work, hopefully they think it does.” —MaryBeth B.
8. Starbucks Via Instant Coffee
“Way better than brew in school.” —JR R.
9. Hot water pot
“It helps to keep going on cold days, or if I’m not feeling well. I also have offered hot chocolate, hot apple cider and tea on special occasions for students.” —Sue W.
“These are little post it notes with graphs on them. They are real time savers when I want the kids. To do a quick problem in their notebook. I use them all the time in 8th grade math.” —Sue B.
11. Funko Pops
” I keep Funko Pops on my desk, they bring me a little joy!” —Kira K.
12. Basketball net
“I teach math, but coach our girl’s basketball team so this is a must!!! I do use it with math though.” —Nicole M
13. Clamp-on cup holder
“It clamps to the edge of my desk and no spills on the papers I need to grade.” —Dayna C.
“I keep a box for me and anyone that needs them” —Erin W.
15. Label maker
“I couldn’t function without it.” —Denise C.
16. Blue painters tape
“I’m a middle school social studies teacher and I use this constantly! Setting up physical boundaries for games/simulations, hanging visuals on walls just for one day, scaling geographic features to the size of our classroom… the list goes on!” —Bethany C.
17. Heating pad
“For those days my back is killing me and also when it’s cold out and I can’t get warmed up no matter what!” —Amy P.
18. White Christmas lights
“These are a G-d send on days when my autistic students experience major sensory overload. I turn off the fluorescent lights and put the Christmas lights on and instantly things are calmer.” —Sarah R.
19. Jolly Ranchers
“As the counselor, my littles come to me with ‘good stuff’ and ‘bad stuff’…it’s amazing the power a Jolly Rancher has to add to a celebration or soothe a hurt!” —Jennifer M.
20. Misting fan
“When I was pregnant, I’d get severe hot flashes. After I sent students twice a day to get ice packs from the nurse, I then finally brought one of these to school.” —Alyssa I.
21. Static Guard
“It never fails that you wear a cute top or nice dress and it’s instantly up your butt the second you sit on one of those plastic chairs!” —Mikaela M.
“These babies…for the days when those ‘oh so cute’ shoes aren’t the most suitable for chasing after children!” —McAlister G.
23. Magic Eraser
” I teach Pre-K and have crayons in every center! This is a life saver for me!” —Anna J.
24. PaperMate mechanical pencils
“Best pencils in the world!! Strong lead and never breaks!” —Lauri T.
25. Nail polish remover
“Removes permanent marker, and cleans white board build up.” —Crystal C.
“I put a dab on my upper lip so I can get that summer scent/sense all year long.” —Lisa M.
27. Brita water pitcher
“This is a beautiful thing. I have to walk so far for water and I love that this makes it easily accessible.” —Amy K.
What would you add to the list of things teachers need in their classrooms?
I have to have dental floss and toothpicks for days when I have spinach salad for lunch — never fails to stick in my teeth.