As a former Girl Guide and Girl Guide Leader, I know how important it is to BE PREPARED. That has definitely reflected in what I usually bring with me in my teacher bag! Although I have been thrown some curves, I am usually prepared for any grade and any kind of day.
These are the things that I ALWAYS have in my teacher bag, no matter what.
These are the things that I ALWAYS have in my teacher bag, no matter what:
A clipboard is essential. On here, I usually keep my dayplans, schedules and instructions from the teacher, my "While You Were Out Form" and blank paper for notes throughout the day.
In my file folder (I got this one at Walmart), I keep extra worksheets, games, Extreme Dot to Dot sheets and other time-filler activities for when the students are done their assigned work. I try to keep these fun, but still educational.
I ALWAYS have my laptop with me. Too many times, I've been left stranded with a teacher who had left me some work to do with technology and no login information! With my laptop, I can connect to the SMART board, the Internet or even show a movie if I need to. Speaking of movies, I almost always have my Planet Earth series with me too. Sometimes, there's an emergency and you have to improvise as a substitute teacher. Showing movies is the easy thing to do, and it's much better when it's educational. Kids of all ages love Planet Earth and you can get away with watching the entire thing or even just 10 minutes of an episode as a treat at the end of the day.
My weekly substitute teacher planner (I designed this one myself since I couldn't find what I needed anywhere!) is always with me as well. that way, I can quickly check if I'm already booked or not when the principal stops me on my way out the door to book me for additional days!
You may wonder why I carry a purple rubber ball with me. If you've read my post on Silent Ball, then you know how much my students love it. This game has been a life saver many times!
A pencil case may be a bit obvious for a teacher bag, but what do you carry in yours? I always have extra pencils, pens, erasers, pencil crayons in my pencil case, as well as a pair of scissors and a glue stick. I actually have two pencil cases, but I think I've left one at one of my schools. Which reminds me, make sure to put your name on everything. If you're anything like me, you'll leave something behind and it'll be that much easier to get it back!
Stickers and other little rewards are handy because it helps keeps students on track. It's also great to have little prizes with you in case you play games during the day. I don't like giving out other teacher's prizes or candy, so I always have my own and I usually have things for every grade level with me. Right now, in my box (that I bought in the scrapbooking section at Micheal's) I have stickers, Silly Bands, bookmarks, pencils, pencil grips and erasers. None of these have cost me very much and the students are always so happy to get a little something when they've done a great job with the substitute teacher!
Another essential is my lanyard and whistle. I usually put it around my neck when I walk into a school and am handed keys. I hook the keys on the lanyard because I tend to misplace things easily. I use the whistle for gym class, of course, but it also comes in handy to get the class’ attention if we’re outside for extra playtime at recess, or if they’re especially rowdy and nothing seems to get their attention. A quick, sharp blow usually quiets them right down, and very fast.
Finally, I never leave without chap stick, Visine, Tylenol and cough drops. I have a lot of allergies and some schools are especially dry. These ensure that I have a comfortable day. And the Tylenol is usually a life saver when I have an especially difficult day. ;)
What are your teacher bag essentials?