Even though teachers don’t think twice about buying, ordering, or wish-listing items for their students, they do hesitate when it comes to themselves. Why is that? We deserve nice things too!
Now that I’ve been teaching for more years than can be counted on one hand, I’ve found a few teacher purchases that are worth the investment. These items have made me a happier teacher because of their usefulness and their ability to brighten my day. Here are some items I’m glad I splurged on.
1. Crayola Retractable Markers
While this may not seem like a huge splurge, they are for me because they cost more than the standard markers. They are worth the extra bucks though because they make a super-satisfying “click” sound and they do not have a cap. No matter what, I seem to always lose pen caps (aka my toxic teacher trait), so these have saved me both money and time while teaching. I’m no longer replacing my dried-out marker pens frequently or looking for the cap that has mysteriously disappeared. As a bonus, they look beautiful under a document camera!
Get them here: Crayola Retractable Markers at Target
2. This Powerless(!) Vacuum
Have you ever experienced the rage of finding piles of pencil shavings on the floor from students emptying the little collection bin? Now when this happens, my handy carpet-and-floor sweeper comes to the rescue. It collects the mess easily, and my students love using it. (Plus, we love custodians, so I want to do my part to make their job easier by not leaving tedious messes.)
Get it here: Powerless vacuum
3. TUL pens
These are sure to give you a fuzzy, satisfying feeling when you use them. Adults and children alike will ask, “Where did you get this pen?!” They write smoothly, and they come in fun colors. These feel like a splurge because there are pens that are much cheaper, but these last all year. They are superior to all other pens, including the ever-popular Flair—yes, I said it! (Just a note: Flair pens have a cap, and we know how I feel about caps.)
Get them here: TUL pens
4. X-ACTO School Pro Pencil Sharpener
This splurge is a must-have. This beauty has saved my sanity when it comes to sharpening pencils. I have to purchase it every two or three years (I’m on year three with my current sharpener), but it is well worth the cost. It emits a quiet hum instead of an eye-stabbing screech, and it’s super-easy to fix if and when it gets jammed. In my class, our sharpener is treated like a class pet. I assign a student the job of maintaining the pencil sharpener (dumping shavings, telling me when it’s jammed, etc.), so my sanity is spared.
Get it here: X-ACTO Electric Pencil Sharpener
5. Customizable Face Stamp
Teachers, this is the one splurge I didn’t know I needed until I fell down what I like to call the Etsy Rabbit Hole. Essentially, you design your own stamp with a saying and an image. I use mine for my class library. My students get a good laugh every time they open a book and see my face, and I don’t have to write on the spine or pages anymore (time-saver!).
Get it here: Face Stamp
6. A Classroom “Mailbox”
Organizational systems are what I always tell new teachers to invest in early. There are so many great organizational systems out there. Just like teaching, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. You will have to determine what type of teacher you are and find systems that meet your needs. One system I use is the large blue box, which we call the mailbox in my class. Each student has a slot where I file their graded work and notes home. This keeps kids from seeing each other’s grades, and it keeps piles of notes and graded work organized.
Get it here: File sorter
7. A Fancy Red Stapler
This stapler is superior to all others. It is beautiful, heavy, and nearly impossible to jam. It gives the most satisfying stapling “ker-plunk,” and it makes stapling borders to walls a breeze. Whatever you do, make sure to put your name on it somewhere, or another teacher will fall in love and “forget” to return it. This stapler makes an excellent gift—my mentor teacher gifted mine to me, and I still have it.
Get it here: Swingline Red Stapler
8. These Super-Absorbent Drink Coasters
I cannot tell you how many times my students’ papers have been given the “Mrs. Feese Paper Wave.” (A student actually named the crinkle on her work that after her paper fell victim to my Starbucks drink sweat). Since these beauties have become a staple in my classroom, I no longer ruin notes taken at faculty meetings, documents that I have to sign and turn in to administrators, or student work.
Get them here: Coasters
So teachers, as you go and purchase items for your future students, don’t forget to splurge on yourself. The best teacher splurges are the ones that bring you joy and sanity, so don’t hesitate when it comes to investing in your happiness!