Monday, August 26, 2019

Survival Skills for Teachers: Essential Items To Own, Wear, and Carry to School

Black jeans, grey t-shirt, and a cardigan. I like to keep it simple and comfortable.

Some of you probably have boundless energy and emotional stamina for all your classes. Others of us are past the age of 40 and need all the help we can get to make it to 3:00 pm Friday with a couple of nerves intact.

With that in mind, here is my list of must-haves for the Teaching Life... 

Essential Items to Own, Wear, and Carry to School:

1. Nice-looking athletic shoes with gel in the soles + supportive socks. If you teach standing up, your feet, ankles, and legs will thank you. Also, you can go walking at lunch if you manage to find the time and energy. (If you have plantar fasciitis tendencies, I recommend ASICS or New Balance.)

2. A backpack. Not a heavy bag you carry on your aching shoulder or a cross-body bag slung across your body. Those things pull your body out of alignment and cause shoulder and neck pain. Trust me on this.

3. Colored/nice jeans or comfortable casual pants. Preferably with stretch. You might be able to get away with leggings if you have long shirts and sweaters, and God knows leggings are the most comfortable attire known to man. (If you're a dude, best stick with jeans and khakis...But hey, no judgment. ;-))

4. Comfortable t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, and cardigans. Guys can do polos and belts and look really nice.

5. Bling (watch, earrings, bracelet, ring, etc.) to dress up the fact that you're basically wearing jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, and sweaters every day.

6. Water and healthy snacks. Things you can sneak-eat in class when your energy dips. I like raw nuts, electrolyte powder packets I can put in my water, edamame, raw zucchini sticks, and vegan sugar-free chocolate (Lily's brand usually.)

7. Escapism tools. (Earbuds, book to read, Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram on your phone, journal, tea, anything that helps you calm down and regroup when the day gets overwhelming. Find a place you can go in the school, like a quiet corner of the library or somebody's unused office or conference room, when you need a moment to yourself. If your school is like mine, students will come try to hang out with you when you're in your room without a class.)

8. Your entire-semester planner (pocket sized.) You will jot a couple of words/phrases that explain the main gist of what you're planning to do each day that week (or two, or three, or the whole month if you can manage it. It's okay to change this later, but it's a lifesaver when you can't think of what you're supposed to be doing the next day.)

9. A movie and video guide/quiz sitting out somewhere and ready for a sub when you call in "sick" in order to lesson plan the next 2-3 weeks out and assemble all the copies you need.

10. Liquid Kava Kava with a dropper that you can add to your water bottle when you feel stressed during, after, or before class. I like "Anxiety Soother" by Herb Pharm. (You can order it online at, I just noticed.) It takes the edge off almost immediately.

Bonus item #11 - supportive colleagues. Teachers are second to none when it comes to helping each other out of the pit of despair when times get tough. <3

What are YOUR essential items to take or wear to school? Comment below if you have suggestions for new teachers!

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