Is your Desk Ready for the School Year?

desk cover
There are some things that make a day feel like it is never going to end: hunger pains, allergy attacks, powerless technology. Before the school year starts, take a few minutes to check if your desk is ready to help you get through the day, no matter what it throws at you.

1. Stock The Snacks

desk snacks
There is a reason snacks are number one. Working in your room and getting hit by a case of low blood sugar munchies is no fun. Being unprepared to snack leads me running to the vending machine for pop and stale candy – yuck! Here are a few of my favorite snacks that must be stocked in my desk.

Blue Diamond Roasted Almonds: Try the dark chocolate and brown sugar and cinnamon flavors.

Ocean Spray Craisin Fruit Clusters: These leave you feeling satisfied. Plus, they are small bites you can gobble up while on the go.

Klondike Chocolate Caramels: I love these small bits of chocolate. They are big on taste but small on guilt.

PopSecret Homestyle Popcorn: A friend of mine introduced me to this a while back and now I am a huge microwave popcorn snob. The little bits of salt and the taste of butter make this my favorite after school snack.

2. Be a Personal Packrat

personal items
We spend so much time at school that it’s smart to stockpile personal products there. I know that I have made it to school more than once only to realize that I forgot deodorant or makeup in the morning rush. Taking the time before school to pack up some personal items makes those not-so-good days survivable.

Make a medicine cabinet for your desk. Consider including eye drops, Tylenol or Advil, Bandaids, chapstick, allergy medicine and safety pins. I also include deodorant, a hairbrush, ponytail holders, toothbrush, toothpaste, and slippers (for those days when you made a bad shoe choice but still have grading or cleaning up to do). I have even heard of teachers having a change of clothes in their desk… just in case.

3. Check Your Tech

tech ready
Dead iPads, phones that are out of juice, clickers that don’t click… these are the realities of teaching in the digital age. Taking a few minutes to prepare for digital emergencies will keep you calm and collected during almost any digital disaster.

Make a quick list and check to see that you have:

  • Phone charger
  • iPad/iPod charger
  • AA batteries
  • AAA batteries
  • Digital camera cord

As the year goes on, we spend a lot of time in our classrooms. Our desks are definitely our personal spaces. Spending a few minutes now preparing for what the year might hold will help us be ready for what lies ahead.

Is your desk ready for the year?

What is the most surprising thing in your desk?


Jennifer Carlisle

Jen is a middle school art teacher from Norfolk, NE who loves exploring and teaching art through traditional and digital art mediums.


  • Emily Valenza

    i bought a large french press at the beginning of last year, and it’s been a lovely way to invite teachers into my art room (when i have enough time to make some very tasty coffee)
    i also keep a few sock puppets and stickers around my desk in the event of a bummed out student, or perhaps a baby sibling who needs entertaining when their parents are in a meeting with the principal, who happens to have her office next to my room. whenever i hear a baby cry, i can pop out with my sock puppet and make them giggle.

    • Dawn Kruger

      French press? Please, won’t you be my neighbor?

  • Liz

    Thanks for this article! I think I may finally be getting a desk for my room this year – keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Megan Graybill

    I saw the popcorn in the thumbnail of this post and I was like I wonder if Jen wrote this. And I clicked on it and of course you did. Haha. I’ll always remember your love of popcorn while I student taught with you.

  • Dawn Kruger

    My kit also has nail clippers, eyewear repair kit, Kleenex (school tissues are like sandpaper when you have a cold), laundry stain stick.
    I keep liquid bandage for papercuts. It stings like heck, so students feel brave when I paint it on. Papercuts are a good excuse to give a little special attention.

  • marilynpeters

    In my new school I have 2 classrooms, one a studio lab and one that is more a media lab which is where I do dry media work. The tables in the media labs have the cut out circles with the holes for tech media–not a great choice for an art room where we are drawing. The holes have the pop-out black plastic cable organizers in them. I popped all of them out and hid them in my desk so the kids don’t drive me crazy popping them out, lose them or steal them. Just one less thing to deal with that helps my peace of mind.