Teaching Supplies: The Good, the Bad, and the Unnecessary

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Written By Charlotte Miller

Ask a seasoned teacher, and you’ll get a detailed account of which teaching supplies are used almost every day, which never get touched, and which are more trouble than they’re worth. Teachers often spend money on things that seem essential but then become a waste of money.

When making a list of what you need, be sure to give each supply careful consideration. Ask yourself how and when will you or your students use something.

If you’re buying teaching supplies for a new classroom, you’re likely working with a small budget. You must spend money on items that will enhance learning and make teaching easier. Below are some of the essentials teachers swear by and others you should avoid.

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Good supplies

Storage supplies are an absolute must. If you want to keep a tidy classroom, you must have a place for everything. Good storage helps kids put things away correctly. Get lots of bins, cups, and containers. Try to color code and label everything. 

Classroom decorations are another necessity. A classroom needs to be bright and welcoming for students. Educational posters can supplement learning. Sproutbrite makes classroom decorations that work well in any classroom.

Colored writing utensils are a great addition to any classroom. Teachers can use these pens to grade and give feedback on student work, send notes home, and more. Students can use colored pens to color-code their notes, making it easier for them to study.

Bad supplies

Education has evolved through the year, and teachers have learned which supplies just aren’t worth it. While every classroom needs a pencil sharpener, getting the wrong one can be a disaster. It may be a good idea to splurge on an excellent sharpener because it’ll save you a lot of headaches.

Teachers often try to save money by purchasing off-brand school supplies. However, these supplies don’t have the same quality and usually don’t last as long. You’re better off spending a little extra and getting supplies that will last.

Mechanical pencils can pose a problem, especially with younger students. The lead breaks too easily, so they’ll always be trying to fix them. Mechanical pencils also can be a distraction for many kids as they like to play with them.

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Unnecessary supplies

Some supplies are harmless, but you just won’t need them. You should avoid getting a binder for every subject unless students are going to need them. Binders take up a lot of space and often require kids to overfill their backpacks.

While students need loose-leafed paper for notetaking, buying too much of it is unnecessary. One school may use as many as 320,000 sheets of paper per year. Using this much is harmful to the environment and wastes money. Try to go digital as much as possible.

Wrap up

When it comes to teaching supplies, simple is almost always better. Make a list of your necessities, and then spend your budget on buying high-quality items you’ll use the most frequently.