Teacher Survival Kit: The Essentials

What’s in your desk drawer? The marking you’ve been putting off? An assortment of paperclips and rubber bands? Maybe it’s the staff handbook you’ve never opened?

It’s time to take back control of your desk. Stock it up with the right stuff, and that drawer will be transformed into an irreplaceable teacher survival kit.

We’re not going to recommend pens and sticky notes – you already know you need those. Instead, here are some genuinely helpful tips and tricks you may not have thought of.

You can make these kits for yourself, but they also make a great gift for your partner or friend, your department, or even for the entire school staff.

Marking Bags

Every classroom teacher needs a deep stock of sturdy bags for carrying marking. Plastic carrier bags just won’t cut it – you need something that’s not going to fall apart and spill half your class’s valuable work all over the school car park.

Here’s a lesser-known teacher secret. Blue IKEA bags are the holy grail of marking carriers. Virtually indestructible, it folds down to a tiny square, is comfortable and easy to carry, and, best of all, it can hold a full classload of marking!

If you’re concerned about the environment, there are also some great woven or hemp options out there. Just remember to get a few more than you think you’ll actually need.

Lanyard Timetable

Never forget a lesson again!
An intrepid teacher’s lanyard timetable

If you have a lanyard or ID cardholder you have to wear in school, there’s a nifty trick you can do to ensure you never forget your next lesson again.

Try printing a miniature version of your school timetable, and slot it in behind your ID card. Colour each section so it’s easy to identify. Now you’ll always be able to remember your trickiest classes and plan ahead.

If you don’t have a lanyard, it’s still super helpful to print out a laminated copy of your timetable and stash it in or on your desk or keep it in a pocket of your wallet or purse.

Cold Killers

It happens every year. Teachers and students alike start dropping like flies, victim to myriad cold and flu illnesses.

Your first line of defence should be your survival kit. Hand sanitiser and antibacterial wet wipes will help to prevent you from catching the latest lurgy; nasal spray is particularly effective at flushing out colds before they take root.

However, should the worst happen, you should also have some emergency medication to treat it; you’ll be thankful for your secret stash of tissues, cough drops, and cold & flu medicine.

P.s. Ensure you’ve secured these items in a locked drawer or box, well out of reach of students.


If you’re a primary school teacher, these work like magic. The allure of a sticker – especially if it’s shiny or holographic – is irresistible.

If you work in secondary, you will be surprised by the positive reaction you can get by including stickers in your marking. Students learn to crave that positive approval.


You know as well as I do that some days, you won’t have any time to eat lunch. You need something high-energy you can wolf down in a five-minute break between lessons. Rather than opting for sugar-loaded chocolate bars, stock up on high-energy cereal bars – they’ll keep you fuelled for much longer.

That being said, an emergency stash of high-cocoa chocolate is also a good idea for those days when the world is against you. Chocolate is a natural stimulant, so it’ll help you to stay alert. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, which will help to prevent colds and flu.

Teacher Planner

example daily planner spreadEvery teacher needs a planner. Combining a diary, handbook, teacher guide, and assessment & attendance booklet, they’re a fantastic all-in-one teacher resource that’s always to hand, making it super easy to stay on top of your working day.

With customised teacher planners, you can include all of your school’s policies and assessment schemes, so it’s always there when you need it. If you don’t have customised planners at your school, consider bringing it up at your next meeting.