When I work, I carry around a bag, but only because I don’t have a desk or space to put my stuff like other teachers. When I did, I used to just carry the book, my notebook, and pen. After a time I decided to add a pencil case in there so that I could put my USB flash drive, extra pens, some dice and coins, and scissors and tape into it without issue.
But it took me awhile to learn that. I used to carry around a large plastic box that had lots of scissors and tape and glue and just plain rubbish. And I’ve even been known to carry a large basket to classes with smaller children to use with games.
Well, I stopped that a long time ago. It became obvious that I just wasn’t using most of the stuff that I was bringing to class, so I just stopped bringing it. My classes got better. Less is more, after all, and when you limit the amount of junk you’re hauling into class, you’ll be able to free up your mind, and space, for your students.
These are what I consider the essential items to bring to class:
- The Book: I usually try to do at least one or two pages each class, but sometimes I can’t even bear that.
- My Notebook: I always bring this more as a way to encourage students to bring theirs. Mine is full and has been for about six months, but I’ve got a cool picture taped on the front, so I make it work.
- A Pen: I always bring a few, but tell everyone it’s my only one. If a student doesn’t have a pen, they can get one from a friend. If they can’t, well, tough shit! I’m not going to encourage that kid’s incompetence. What better way to teach a student than not allowing them to learn? I don’t know, but that kid will bring his pencil next week, trust me.
- Rubbish Paper: I always bring lots of rubbish paper to class, which usually has things like word searches or activities on it. I encourage students to recycle theirs by writing on the back.
- Humor: You’re not going to get very far as an ESL teacher if you don’t have a sense of humor. Make jokes a lot, jokes that probably only you will understand, but that will have you feeling better about your lot in life. And when the students actually get some of them, too, well that’s priceless. Although I am thankful that they don’t always get sarcasm. Actually, they never do, so I’m safe from recriminations.