As a new teacher (either new to the profession, or new to the school) it can be a bit daunting to work out what stationery you need to prepare yourself with at the beginning of the year.
I’m talking about stationery for yourself here, not for what your students might need. Let’s put the needs of the students aside for a moment, and focus on just you!
Primary vs secondary teachers will have quite different requirements, and as a secondary teacher I can only comment on that side of things. But if you’re a primary teacher, this list will at the very least give you some pointers in the right direction.
Before you run out and spend all your money on stationery, it’s a good idea to check with your Head of Department (or similar) about what the school will provide for you. If you can’t do this, or the answers come back a bit vague, it’s better to be over-prepared than needing to run out to the shops on your way home from your first day.
Stationery certainly isn’t the cheapest thing around, so I suggest shopping in the sales. Don’t go for the best quality, prettiest, most fancy version of anything (except perhaps one special pen that lives in your desk and is never loaned to anyone ever). Stationery is notorious for wandering away from you, breaking, hiding itself for months on end, or simply being ‘borrowed’. There’s little more frustrating than spending loads of money at the beginning of the year, having all this cute stuff, only to have to replace it by the end of the first term. Do yourself and your wallet a favour and stick to the trusty mid-level products – not so cheap that they don’t work, and not so expensive that you cry when you have to replace it a week in.
As for exactly what to pack, that is of course dependent on your subject areas. A math teacher is going to need vastly different supplies to a music teacher. Think logically about the type of work you will be doing and what you need to cover that.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of stationery you might like to supply yourself with. Remember, this list is purely for yourself, and NOT your students – these are your stationery items and shouldn’t be loaned out. Get the cheapest but still serviceable versions for your students if necessary, but don’t every dip into your own personal supply or you could find yourself caught out one day.
- Whiteboard markers – even if your school says they will supply you with some, it’s a good idea to get a set of your own just in case. At the very least these can be backups if the school ones stop working mid-class.
- Pens – black and red (or the colour that your school marks with), and of a decent enough quality that they write smoothly. Get at least a dozen – even if you don’t loan them out, you’ll go through them fairly quickly and end up losing them randomly.
- Pencils – standard HB are fine unless you need specific ones for your subject.
- Erasers – two is more than enough to begin with.
- Highlighters – get yourself a variety of colours.
- Whiteout – it’s a good idea to follow school policy here and only use the type that the students are allowed to use, if at all.
- Ruler – I suggest a metal one so it won’t break (at least, it won’t break easily).
- Stapler – get a decent quality one of these, and don’t let it leave your desk (you can get a cheaper one for the students to use if needed, but don’t let that good one out of your sight!).
- Sticky tape – with a dispenser, and a couple of spare rolls. You never know when you might need it.
- Glue stick – a proper brand is best for this one.
- Blu-tac – so very handy in so many ways.
- Calculator – yes you have one on your phone and laptop/computer, but it can be so handy to have a good old regular (or more fancy if your subject demands) one ready to go.
- Post-it notes – get yourself a small supply of whatever style you prefer, but I’d suggest buying one of those multi-type packs then restocking the types you run out of.
- Paper clips – for those small stacks of paper.
- Bulldog clips – in a variety of sizes, for those larger stacks of paper.
- Small notebook – for taking notes in meetings etc. It’s best to have a separate one for each purpose, but only buy one or two to start out and add more if needed.
Hopefully this list guides you in the right direction for the beginning of the year. With everything above you are well covered for whatever the first few weeks throw at you, and you can always add more when you find a need!
Is there anything absolutely vital that I’ve left off the list? Let me know in the comments below so I can add it in!
I switched to 2B pencils early in my career for marking because they erase more cleanly.
I’ve also started using Frixon pens in the last year. They’re expensive, but the refills are cheap on eBay. I wish they’d been around when I started out – nothing like being able to remove a comment on a draft that you realise is unnecessary!
Great list. I’d add a hole punch, magnets (I needed to stick things on my white boards), and decent scissors. Also something I learnt last year was chisel point whiteboard markers somehow make my writing more legible.