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5 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom

Janelle Cox

5 Things Every Teacher Needs in the ClassroomIf you are a new teacher just starting out, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much to do, and so much to learn. You are probably thinking, "I just want to know what the essentials are!"

Here are the top five must-have things to keep in your classroom at all times:

1. Emergency Lesson Plans

There are going to be times when you will be absent from school, due to unforeseen circumstances. In your absence, you will want to make sure that the class will be run smoothly. It is imperative that you plan ahead and keep an emergency lesson plan folder. In this folder you should include the following:

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  • Class rules & school rules
  • Class procedure
  • Class list with desk arrangement
  • Lavatory slips
  • Roll call
  • Teacher's schedule
  • School policy
  • Teacher time savers - quick fillers, such as puzzles, minute math, etc.
  • Teaching tips
  • Worksheets, or a generic lesson plan

2. Class Rules

Every teacher's first priority before even stepping foot onto school property should be to create a list of class rules. This set of rules is what is going to save you from the utter chaos that can potentially erupt. Try to think of three to five main rules you would like to get across to the students. These rules can be simple: Follow directions, raise your hand before speaking. The rules can also be specific: Complete morning work in your seat. Explain and discuss these rules on the first day of school, and give students the opportunity to add a few of their own.

3. Class Library

A classroom library should be a staple in every learning environment. This is where students can go and choose books that are age appropriate for them. It is a place where they do not have to scour through a sea of books to find one that is relevant to their needs. A classroom library should include a carpet, comfy chairs, and a variety of books from picture books to chapter books, fiction books to non-fiction books.

4. Classroom Organization

An organized classroom is a classroom that runs smoothly. When your classroom is in order, it is less stressful for you, and that order creates more instructional time for your students. Every teacher needs a classroom where students are responsible for themselves, and every "thing" has a place. In the beginning of the school year, label everything, and use totes, boxes and binders to keep materials in order and in place. Once you set the tone and explain to students their role in keeping the classroom organized, you will find you have a smooth-running classroom that runs on its own.

5. Student Work

You work hard to prepare your lessons, and plan activities that display your students' abilities, just as your students work hard to achieve this expectation. Showcase your students’ work in and around the classroom to inspire them to work harder, and show them that learning is important. Give students the opportunity to help you choose what work will be displayed, or you can have them create a specific piece just to be displayed. A classroom filled with student work will send a clear message that what they are learning is important, and that you are proud of their accomplishments.  

What do you think is essential for every teacher to have in their classroom? Please share in the comment section below.