Each summer, observant citizens roaming the aisles of Target and Walmart on late August afternoons are given the rare privilege of seeing one of the world’s most endangered species: the well-rested summertime teacher. These mythical creatures emerge from hibernation at the end of every season, and are often seen pushing a shopping cart filled with every product made by Crayola and an unholy amount of Elmer’s glue.
By September, well-rested teachers are an endangered species, and we rely on you, expert gifters extraordinaire, to save this overworked and underpaid creature from absolute extinction.
Dramatics aside, (thanks creative writing and theater teachers!) educators are back in their classrooms and excited to teach. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a little help. Show the teachers in your life you value them and want them to survive the school year with a go-to emergency stash of essentials they’ll use all year long.
Good news: a teacher emergency stash is easy to make. Next time you see a teacher loading up her cart with back-to-school supplies, grab your own cart and swing by the toiletries, candy, and home-storage sections of Walgreens or Target. Here’s what to look for…
- Band-Aids: Whether your teacher friend uses them for playground mishaps or copy center paper cuts, every teacher needs more Band-Aids.
- Mini deodorant: All day is PE class for a teacher, who spends 8 hours hunting down the teenagers trying to skip 5th period, making sure the third graders don’t fling themselves off the play structure, or tracking an administrator who promised them a stipend for classroom supplies. Extra deodorant is a must, especially in older buildings without air conditioning.
- Hand lotion: There’s no germs like student germs, and teachers spend a lot of time disinfecting. Help them keep their skin soft and healthy with a moisturizing lotion that heals and protects their hands.
- Lip balm: Perfect and necessary all year round— from the cold months of January to battling spring-fever allergies.
- Wrinkle-release spray: Why are a teacher’s clothes wrinkled? Either they woke up at 5:00 am to teach a before school study session and got dressed in the dark, or hours of sitting in training meetings wreaked havoc on their perfect outfit. This wrinkle-release spray works miracles when it comes to keeping outfits looking school-picture-day perfect.
- Mints and gum: Be gone, coffee breath! Be gone spicy- Cheetos-from-the-vending-machine breath! Mints and gum are a teacher’s best friend, so make sure they’re prepared for anything with minty fresh breath.
- Chocolate: no explanation needed. It’s chocolate.
- Lidded storage bin: look for something large enough to fit your supplies, but small enough to keep in a desk drawer, and with a lid to deter curious students. Large-size school-supply boxes work great, and come in a variety of fun colors.