What should you have to hand?
If you were to peer into my classroom a few years ago you’d more than likely see me patting down pockets, rummaging through desk drawers or tipping out my rucksack.
My first few years of teaching were a series of hard lessons in getting caught short.
Here are the items I now won’t walk into a classroom without:
If, like in my school, the nearest water fountain is a few minutes’ walk away, it will often be a few minutes you won’t be able to spare. Dehydration adds to feelings of stress, so come prepared.
Nothing derails a lesson quite like a student with a runny nose. Having a pack of tissues on you fixes this quickly. I’ve also found this to be a great relationship builder as your generosity will help build good relationships with your students.
Spare paper and pens
Being able to quickly toss a pen or sheet of paper to a student who has arrived unprepared can save a lot of fuss at the start of a lesson. Very handy for yourself too.
There’s nothing worse than trying to write on a whiteboard with a boardmarker that’s on its last legs. Have a spare.
I keep mine on a keyring attached to my school lanyard. I find it reassuring to have every lesson slide I’ve ever made hanging around my neck.
Make sure to back-up any files on a spare drive at least once a month in case your USB stick gets lost or damaged. After breaking several plastic ones, I now use a metal USB stick for better durability.
The ability to stand anywhere in the classroom and switch between slides remotely has given me greater sense of control than being tied to a keyboard or mouse. Most presentation clickers have built-in laser pointers which I find is really useful for directing the students’ attention to particular words or images.
So long as I have these with me, I don’t want for much else. But what do you think I’ve missed? Is there anything else you find yourself reaching for several times a day? Let me know in the comments below.