What Do Teachers Need for Their Classroom?

What Do Teachers Need for Their Classroom?

24 July 2022 • Words by Kate Purnell 3 mins

Every teacher needs some essential items in their classroom that aren’t necessarily always at the forefront of one’s mind. Having the right atmosphere and helpful supplies can mean a world of difference to a productive teaching day. After all, American teachers spend just under 1,000 hours in their classrooms a year! This means there is no reason why giving your classroom a little TLC wouldn’t benefit you and your students in the long run. 

So aside from your file folders, pens, paper, and normal teaching supplies, here are a few items that could contribute to a pleasant and resourceful environment. 

What Do Teachers Need for Their Classroom?

Small Desk Fan

During warmer weather, if your school doesn’t have air conditioning or if it’s not adequate, a desk fan helps circulate air to keep the classroom cooler. This will help you and your students focus better. The Moshi Sound Furnando’s Fan is a go-to as background sound while kids are working.

Antibacterial Hand Gels and Wipes

If there is anything the pandemic taught us, it’s how important sanitation is, especially in the winter months. I keep a large bottle of antibacterial gel on a desk near the door and a smaller one on my desk. I interact with so many people during the day, it comes in handy.

The wipes are used to clean off my desk, laptop, and other devices, like my digital board remote and tablets. I also keep antibacterial wipes in a drawer in my desk for random needs such as pens exploding in kids’ hands. These wipes enable them to wipe the ink off quickly and hold off on disturbing the lesson to exit to wash their hands in a bathroom. 

This quick Moshi Moment is perfect for teaching kids about germs: Keep Lurgee Away (The Moshi Washy Way).

Paper Towel and Antibacterial Spray

I leave these on the desk with the hand gel. They are great for random spills made by me or my students and for wiping down a desk if needed. 


We all know that these are important to help with those runny noses and unlucky nose bleeds!

Personal First Aid Kit

I keep a small supply of bandaids, pain relievers, and antacids, just in case.

Sanitary Pads and Tampons

If you teach female students, these are important emergency items to have. Not all schools provide menstrual sanitation support and there are also some young females who come from homes where “period poverty” is an issue. This is a way for you to be there for a student at a stressful moment of unexpected menstruation. It’s also great to speak to your school about how to combat period poverty. There are various charities that you can connect your learning community with such as Alliance for Period Supplies.

Cough drops/lozenges

Always keep some cough drops/throat lozenges for emergencies! Speaking all day long, especially in cold and flu season, can be challenging and I am grateful for those times when I don’t have time to run to the staff room for a cup of tea to soothe my throat before a lesson. 

Chart paper

It’s key to have your classroom expectations displayed in a way that all students can see them, so you can always refer back if needed. It creates a sense of consistency and transparency.

Inspiring and Subject-Specific Decor

Don’t ever be afraid to give your room a bit of personality. Warm messages, inspiring affirmations and quotes, reading lists, and famous practitioners that relate to your subjects provide great ways to connect with students, start conversations, and contribute to a joyful environment for you all. Leave space for students to contribute their own work and ideas!


Plant life can cheer up your environment, and caring for it can even be a class responsibility. I have a plant on my desk to bring a bit of life into the room and to help see something green in the middle of the day. Studies show that plants can reduce stress, increase productivity, reduce sickness and absence, and contribute to cleaner air. For suggestions of good, low-maintenance plants to have indoors, check out the list here. Be mindful of allergies and make sure you don’t have a plant that is very fragrant or has lots of pollen. 

Growing a Flower Garden with ShiShi is a short track that teaches kids about guided imagery and how it is a powerful tool for focusing on happy thoughts.

Kate Purnell

Kate Purnell is originally from Oakland, Ca. She currently lives in the UK teaching Secondary English and Drama. An educator, writer and all-around multi-hyphenate, you can find her trying to get her students to fall in love with the power of the human story, writing her own or attempting to not be distracted during her yoga class. You can find her on Twitter and IG @KatePurnell