1) Lighting - I know this might seem like a strange thing to need for survival, but hear me out. I can't handle being under fluorescent lights all day. I felt like my head was going to explode by the end of the day most of the time during my first year of teaching. I finally broke down and bought some of these flourescent light filters. They changed my life! They give everything in the room kind of a yellowish tint, but you get used to it. This is the best 35 dollars I ever spent. I even had one sweet student come up to me and tell me that he had been having headaches before, and that they went away as soon as I put up the light filters. They are magnetic and super easy to put up. While we're on the subject of lighting, don't you just love the lighting situation in this classroom?
2) Snacks - I don't know about you, but I have to have a little something to munch on in the afternoons. This is especially if I have the dreaded 10:30 (or earlier!) lunch time. My favs are Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers. I can't say I always have these on hand, because if I have them I eat them all! I also like to keep little individually wrapped things like mints, lifesavers, Hershey's kisses, etc. so that I can pass them out to my students if the mood strikes me. Nothing keeps behavior on point better than knowing the teacher could randomly decide to pass out snacks at any moment! I have also been known to go dump a big pile of candy on the one-student-who-is-doing-what-he/she-is-supposed-to-do's desk. My hilarious coworker suggested doing this one day when I was complaining about all the talking going on in my room. Try it sometime! :)
3) Raffle Tickets - I love having a raffle every Friday in my classroom. I have a simple jar, and whenever I see students doing something great, I give them a raffle ticket. On Friday we will raffle off some type of small prize. I get parents to sign up to donate raffle prizes at Open House. Using raffle tickets is a quick and easy way to reinforce good behavior. I have never been able to get into the complicated systems like classroom economies and homeworkopoly. Simple and easy works for me, because I know that I won't stick with it all year if it's too complicated.
4) Change of Clothes and Shoes - I am generally clumsy and I taught science, so I always kept a change of clothes and shoes in my car. The time I spilled water on myself from an "ecocolumn" that was full of dead fish and snails comes to mind. Ew. I also have been known to blow out a flip flop on occasion. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to be taken seriously with one shoe on.
What's in your "Teacher's Survival Kit?" Head on over to Mrs. Allen's 5th Grade Files and link up!