This post originally appeared on the blog Miss Señorita.
If you’re reading this blog post in hopes of seeing a designer bag you may want to buy yourself, prepare to be disappointed. My bag (on the far right of the cover photo) is a book bag from Target. Yup. It’s gray with neon yellow lining. Not pictured is the masking tape a student drew a Nike symbol onto and taped around the shoulder part of one strap. He was trying to help me out. So, here’s what’s in my bag:
Syllabus. Poking out of my bag is a syllabus from one of my grad classes. My teaching bag doubles as my grad school bag. I’m not only That Teacher who walks in the building wearing a book bag; I’m also That Grad Student who walks through midtown Manhattan with the same stylish book bag.
Ice pack. Then there is a really old ice pack. I’m not sure why it’s yellowed. I assume that has something to do with how old it is. One of the perks of being a teacher is the free health care. I took a hard fall on my knee last winter and my knee bruised and blew up to the size of a grapefruit so I went to the nurse the next day and she gave me an ice pack and took good care of my knee. For free!
Plastic bag. You never know when you’ll need a plastic bag!
Post-its. I use post-its for everything. Lists of things I need to do, what classwork assignments need to be uploaded to my class website, what parents need to be emailed or called, what needs to be copied, what has already been copied, which days and classes each pile of copies is for… everything.
Ibuprofen. The only thing worse than cramps is having to teach while those cramps are trying to destroy me. Ibuprofen nips that problem in the bud!
Hair ties. I usually keep these around my wrist, but just in case I do leave the house without one, I have one in my bag.
More stickers than any normal high school teacher should have. You wouldn’t think high school students would like stickers. They LOVE stickers! I teach Spanish, so they all have Spanish phrases on them. I buy them online. I put them on all tests and quizzes with an 85% or better. Occasionally I forget to put a sticker on a high grade and students lose their minds and demand two stickers. Even high school students love stickers!
Pens and pencils. There are mostly pencils pictured here. I save the pencils for students who don’t have one in class, and I’ll give them one. Sometimes. Not always. The pens are only for me!
Scissors. You never know when you’ll need to cut something.
Lipstick. I only wear lipstick when parents come around for Back to School Night, conferences, or whatever. I keep it in my bag because I wear it so seldom that I don’t want to forget it. I look a lot younger than I am and I don’t want parents to think their 16- year-old son is being taught by a 19-year-old girl, so lipstick somehow makes me feel older and womanly and teacherly and like I know what I’m doing. It’s probably all in my head but it gives me confidence with parents.
Chapstick. I would die without chapstick. I have one in every purse I own, in my bathroom, in my desk… If I was sent to a deserted island and I could only bring one thing with me, I would bring chapstick.
Keys on a lanyard. I wear a University of Maryland lanyard. Go Terps! I keep my classroom keys on it and I wear it around my neck so that I never ever EVER lose my keys. Ever.
Car keys. I keep these tucked into a small pocket of my book bag. I don’t think students would ever go through my book bag, but I honestly wouldn’t put anything past them, so I keep my car keys in the same small pocket as tampons. No teenage boy will touch anything in the same pocket as a tampon.
Sharpies. Any time I prepare an activity with manipulatives or I write something I want students to see from the back of the room, I write in sharpie. I have at least a couple in my desk, in my book bag, and at home.
Paper clips. I don’t carry a stapler around with me at all times because it’s far too bulky, but paper clips do the same job as a stapler and are so small! I have them hanging on my lanyard so they are always with me.
Cough drops. While the nurse’s free health care is a perk to teaching, she isn’t always available when I’m available and so I keep cough drops in my bag just in case. I can easily send a student to her during the period to fetch me an ice pack, but she won’t send cough drops with a student.
Jessica Hall runs the TpT store Miss Señorita with resources she created for her classroom at the middle and high school levels. She currently writes curriculum for after-school programming in New York City, where she lives with her adorable guinea pig. She holds a Bachelors degree in Spanish and a Masters degree in Urban Education. She loves baking, hiking, and crushing candies. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest @MissSenorita and on Instagram @MissSenoritaTpt.