What is in Your Bag?

By Lauren Jost, Teaching Artist

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the subway and, at one of the express stops, moved my bag over to make room for another commuter in a business suit.  She sat down next to me and glanced at my bag, which was overflowing with juggling scarves and puppet legs.  She raised her eyebrow, turned to me, and said, “Looks like you’re going to have more fun today than I am.”

Being a teaching artist means always being on the go. We work at several sites a day, often for several different employers, and this means when we leave the house, we have to be prepared to switch hats several different times throughout the day. Here is a handy checklist to help you pack for a full day as a teaching artist:

  • – Water bottle
  • – Leak-proof coffee thermos
  • – Phone charger
  • – Back-up battery
  • – Breakfast
  • – GPS-enabled apps and a robust data plan
  • – Your favorite way of carrying your lesson plans. Some TAs swear by index cards.  Others carry accordion folders.  I keep mine digitally on Evernote.
  • – A warm layer for cold schools
  • – Deodorant for hot schools
  • – A change of clothes for your third gig of the day, where they require you to wear the t-shirt with the company logo
  • – An unlimited-ride MetroCard
  • – A back up MetroCard in case your other one expires
  • – A wallet with IDs for the seven different schools and non-profits for which you are teaching this week
  • – Lunch (I recommend a wrap with high protein and fiber contents that you can eat in the 10 minutes between your morning classes)
  • – A bundle of scripts for your middle school residency
  • – A bag of puppets for your early childhood class
  • – A guitar for the afterschool program
  • – Bluetooth speaker with back up cords because it hasn’t been working so well lately
  • – Movement clothes for the choreography rehearsal you are leading after after-school
  • – The hula hoop, package of peacock feathers, and bundle of juggling rings that you used in yesterday’s circus workshops and which need to be returned to the office today
  • – A power bar
  • – Laptop, or tablet with Bluetooth keyboard to take notes at the production meeting after rehearsal
  • – A frequent buyer app (with rewards!) for your favorite coffee shop so you can refill your thermos between after-school classes
  • – Reading for the subway (Your dog-eared copy of “Asking Better Questions“, and your kindle loaded with “For White People Who Teach in The Hood” because you are FINALLY going to get to it this semester…)
  • – Some plastic silverware so that you can pick up a salad at the PAX and eat it on the way to your evening seminar
  • – Earrings, heels, and lip gloss for the networking seminar this evening featuring a speaker from the DOE updating us on yet another change to the state standards
  • – A jar of Advil for your mysteriously recurring back pain
  • – And make sure to leave space to pick up the set of 24 tambourines for tomorrow while you’re on your way home!

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