What’s In My Sub Bag

Substitute Teaching Supplies


Every good sub has a bag full of goodies! I’ve only been subbing for a couple of months and already I have pared down what I bring each day. At first I followed those lists of 20-30 items, but I found I just didn’t need a lot at the schools I sub for.


Let’s talk about the bag itself. I purchased this bag when I started student teaching. I wanted a big black bag that looked professional. I had a DSW coupon and this Steve Madden satchel is the one I picked out. I like that it’s sturdy and that I have the option to use a longer strap. I also think the pockets on the inside are perfect and the lining is really cute! While my bag is no longer on their site, you can find many similar ones here.


Inside my bag, I have a clipboard from the Target Dollar Spot. For $3, it’s been holding up pretty good. The kids always are impressed that it’s made out of wood too!


Next I have an accordion style folder. Inside I store labels (in case I want students to wear name tags), the sub form I use, extra paper, my business cards, early finisher art sheets (I’ve never used, but they look so fun!), and some of my sub paperwork (maps, logins, etc.). I know other websites say you should have back up lesson plans for each subject in case the teacher doesn’t leave plans, but when that has happened to me, another teacher in that grade has walked me through a typical day and helped me with what I needed.


Then I have my prize box. Before I finished student teaching, I started collecting odds and ends (mostly pencils and erasers from Dollar Tree and Walmart). I don’t use candy because I don’t want to risk an allergic reaction, but that’s a personal decision. Pencil grips seem to be very popular when I sub so I only replace those every so often. The case I keep my prizes in is from Walmart in the Tupperware section. I chose this one because it is durable and the lid doesn’t come off easily. I can’t imagine if all my erasers fell out of there!


Next I have the read-aloud book that I bring. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar is the one I choose to keep because the chapters are fairly short and you can read them out of order. Before I started subbing, I reread the book and bookmarked my favorite chapters and created some discussion questions.


Then I have my school supply container. Again, I use a Tupperware container to hold my stuff because I can easily see what’s in there and the lid doesn’t come off easily. Inside I keep post-it notes, a couple pens, pencils, highlighter, dry erase markers, stapler and staples, a glue stick, and paperclips. Typically I use the pens, pencil, and post-it notes every time I sub, but I keep everything else in there just in case.


Next I have a mini first aid kit that holds band-aids and gauze. There has only been one classroom that I have subbed for that I have been able to find the band-aids and almost every time I sub a kid asks for one.


In my pockets, I carry a whistle, gum, ibuprofen, toiletries, and sometimes I put any makeup I need to touch up with if I am going somewhere after school.


I also will bring my Thirty-One Thermal Tote, a water bottle, and my wristlet where I keep all my cards, money, and chapstick.


Everyone’s sub bag is going to look a little different, but I hope I gave you some ideas of what to bring when you sub. Let me know what you bring in your sub bag or if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!