Keep It Clean: Things You Need For Your Classroom

As a media/journalism teacher, you will be with your kids more hours a day than nearly anyone else will. I routinely get to school at 6:30 am and leave around 4:30 pm. During most of that time there are students there, and where there are students – there is mess. What is worse than mess are germs. Here are some things that you might want to keep on hand in your classroom.

Kleenex – This might seem obvious, but I keep it on hand. The kind that the school will give you for free is the “John Wayne” kind – rough and tough, but won’t take snot from anyone. (sorry but true) Buy your own, or have it as one of your classroom supplies for the year. If every kid brings one box, then you won’t need to have them bring any for the next 2 years. Leave a box out in the classroom and keep one on your desk. Insist that the kids use it. Hand it to them if you need to.

Hand Sanitizer – You just won’t believe how many kids (and adults for that matter) don’t or won’t wash their hands. If you work with computer keyboards and mice, then you are passing germs. That goes for cameras and mics too. I use the same system for all these kinds of supplies. Have the kids bring 2-3 supplies each year, most will bring it. Then you have a huge stock pile that will last 1-2 years. Rotate for the supplies your class needs. The kids are the ones using it. So, they are really supplying themselves – you are just the quartermaster.

Broom and dustpan – Messes will happen. Broken glass, shredded paper, crumbs from a birthday cake and more. The custodians are never around when you need them. (Don’t get me wrong – I’m not cracking on them, they are great. But in an emergency, you need to clean up NOW!) Go to the dollar store. Keep it in the closet.

Mop or Swiffer: I highly recommend it. We have yearbook Saturdays once a month Oct.-Feb. every year. This means donuts, juice, milk, soda, chips and often a mess. We have a rule about keeping drinks away from the computers and it is respected. But that means cups and cans are often on the floor and get kicked over. If you have carpet, eww! But we have tile, so it really is not hard to clean up.

Compressed (canned) Air: Keyboards and intake fans get really nasty. Every year, at least once, we clean out every computer and keyboard. The dust can be really incredible. This last year, my server looked like it ate a carpet. Nasty. But it was quick work for compressed air. Just be careful of how quickly the can gets cold. Really cold.

Lysol: Keep a can of the spray on disinfectant to spray on your keyboards and mice once a month. First Friday of the month, lightly spray each one. By Monday morning no one will even smell it. But the germs should be less. During cold season, do it more often.

Alcohol and cotton swabs: Keyboards and other electronics (battery contacts) sometimes need deeper cleaning. Always make sure you don’t over wet anything electronic and disconnect it from the power before cleaning.

Wet Ones: If you are like me, every minute is precious. I often eat lunch in my classroom while helping a student. That means sometimes my multitasking equals multimessing. Wet Ones are quick cleaners for the ketchup or whatever you just dripped on yourself.

Shout Wipes: It will also be a white shirt you drip the barbecue sauce on. Keep a stash of these lifesavers in your desk or closet.

Big Roll of Brown Paper Towels:  Become friends with the custodians.  They will give you one for free.

Keep it clean for safety, health and just plain sanity. Don’t forget to buy it on sale, use a coupon and keep the receipt. Come tax time you can claim everything (up to $200 it think) that you bought for your classroom from your taxes.

Mr. C