Generally, teachers don’t expect gifts for doing what they are passionate about. They care about children and want to educate them in preparation for the world beyond school. A teacher gift at the end of the year is a way parent, and learners can show their gratitude toward a teacher. Teachers are grateful for such gifts because it confirms to them the reason they became teachers and they are inspired when parents and students appreciate their efforts.
All gifts, however, aren’t equal. There are good gifts, and then there are gifts teacher appreciate the gesture, but they don’t want the gift. What kind of gifts are good gifts to give a teacher? The gift guide will help guide you in deciding what kind of gift to your child’s teacher. Let’s start with gifts you DON’T want to give the teacher and why.
Gifts NOT to Get for Teachers
There are certain gifts parents and children may think are great teacher gifts – that would be if it weren’t true that EVERYONE gives those gifts. There is a limit to how many of these items a person can use.
Your child is one student in the class for that specific year. The teacher has many students each year, and most want to bless their teachers at the end of the year with a thank you gift. Keep in mind that if only half or even a third of these kids give their teacher the same gift or a gift they can’t use, how much storage space would that teacher need. What must they do with all the excess mugs, treats, and craft projects?
Then some gifts are great gifts if you knew the person’s taste. Some gifts are perhaps too personal to give to a teacher you don’t know that well. Women love perfume as a gift, but even spouses can buy their wives the wrong perfume.
Here is a list of gifts NOT to get for your child’s teacher:
- Coffee mugs, even personalized mugs
- Bath salts, toiletries
- Craft projects, including Pinterest trends
- Apple or teacher themed gifts
- Large framed photos and arts
- Christmas ornaments or knickknacks
- Home décor, furniture, and wall art
There are always exceptions to the rule. Some teachers like these kinds of gifts. Don’t assume, make sure your child’s teacher is the exception. Unsure, then stay away from giving these items as a teacher gift.
If your gift ideas have been nullified with the above list, don’t despair. Here is a list of gifts teachers want and it’s much longer than the ‘don’t want’ list.
Gifts your Teacher REALLY Want
Although they don’t expect gifts, they do appreciate the gifts, especially gifts they really want. You’ll be surprised that it’s not the expensive gifts that pleases them the most. It’s gifts that come from the heart that they deem the most valuable.
Two type of gifts that you seldom can go wrong with is practical gifts and usable gifts. Here are some suggestions:
Thank You Card or Note
A handwritten card or note from the child or the parent thanking the teacher for what they have done for the child is truly a precious gift for every teacher. They treasure these notes because it confirms to them that their passion is not in vain, that they have influenced a child’s life for the better. During those overwhelming life moments, these cards are the lifesavers that inspire and motivate teachers to continue developing the minds of the future.
It may seem boring to you, but it is a nice practical gift the teacher can use. All types of gift cards will work, your imagination is the limit. Instead of giving the teacher ANOTHER mug, give them a gift card to a coffee shop.
A gift card to a bookstore is another winner for most teachers. Few teachers won’t enjoy a book or the combo of a coffee while reading a book.
Other options are gifts cards to the movie theatre, sporting goods store (if applicable), iTunes, music store, or Amazon. If you know the teacher’s interests or hobbies, then give them a gift card to the applicable store.
For those who don’t know, you can’t go wrong with a gift card to places like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Subway, Barnes & Noble or local bookstore, Cold Stone Creamery, Dairy Queen, or Walmart. In other words, gift cards to coffee shops, books, supplies, and treats are useable gifts teachers like.
Keep in mind a gift card to a place close to the school will be convenient for a teacher. Gift cards to shops teachers rarely visit won’t be such a great gift. Neither a gift card to an expensive store that forces the teacher to spend more than their budget.
A Thoughtful Gift
A thoughtful hug when everyone is rushing to the exit means a lot to teachers. The last day at school seems forever for students who want to be released for the holidays. The whole class is waiting in anticipation for the final bell to ring so that they can hurry out of the classroom into freedom.
A child that pauses at the teacher’s desk within the stampede is precious. It takes a few moments to hug the teacher and to thank the teacher for the year. That thoughtful gesture is dear to the teacher’s heart.
School Supplies for Next Year
Students aren’t the only ones who need school supplies for the next year; teachers need supplies as well. By giving it as a teacher gift at the end of the year, the teacher only needs to stock up on the missing items.
If uncertain what kind of school supplies to buy, give the teacher a gift card to an office supplies or educational supplies store. You can even team up with other parents to collectively give a generous gift. You’ll be surprised how much of their money teachers spend each year on supplies for their classroom.
Items you can consider in buying for the teacher are:
- Story or theme-based age-appropriate books for the classroom
- Indoor games or activities when kids need to stay indoors
- Monogrammed set of pencils or notepads
- Pens, highlighters, and pencils
- Post-it notes
- Glue, dry erase markers and sharpies
- Tissues and disinfecting wipes
- Coloring supplies
- Set of grading pens in various colors
- Desk calendar with trivia-facts or word-of-the-day.
Your time is one valuable teacher gift parents can give to a teacher throughout the year. It may be for a simple task as tidying the classroom library or making copies, help during art class, take recess duty or offer to deep clean the classroom. If you volunteer, be consistent with being available at the scheduled times.
Volunteer to help organize field trips or to be a chaperone on field trips. Field trips are fun for kids but are extra responsibility for the teacher; the more adults there are to supervise, the lighter the teacher’s load.
Teachers don’t have enough time for everything that needs to be done. Whatever time you have available will help the teacher. You can even volunteer to take things home to do like cutting out or organizing things. Helping with the small things lightens the teacher’s load. It also shows your appreciation and that you value the teacher’s time as much as your own.
Donate To A Cause
Donating to a cause the teacher is passionate about is a unique way of thanking the teacher. You can donate in the teacher’s name.
Teachers feel guilty to give gifts away that they can’t use or received too many of. They don’t want to give it away because it came from students and parents showing their appreciation. Donating to a cause solves this dilemma. All parties involved benefit. The cause is thankful for the donation. The teacher appreciates the gift and that it helps a cause close to their heart. The parents and child are happy because they could thank the teacher with a gift the teacher truly wanted.
Lesson Planning Credits
Teachers spend a lot of time in planning lessons for the classroom. Some websites provide material, ideas and the planned lesson that can help the teacher save time. These sites also inspire teachers with new ideas, often content from their peers.
Credits or subscription to such a site can be a very thoughtful and unique gift to a teacher. Make sure you purchase credits from recommended sites or sites that you know the teacher likes to use or would like to use.
Even if the credits are only enough for a trial, the teacher will appreciate it. When choosing the best site, the teacher needs to test various sites, and not all of them are free to try. Such a gift gives the teacher the luxury of testing the site without spending money during the trial period.
Homemade Gifts for Your Teacher
Creative Cards and Notes
As mentioned before, the handwritten cards and notes are precious. Ask teachers, and they will tell you those crayon-covered, personalized cards are priceless. Here are some variation ideas what to do with a thank you card. Let the child:
- Create a card from scratch
- Draw and write to the teacher in their own words
- Write a poem telling the teacher how much they appreciate them
- Share an incident or lesson in class that was a profound moment for the child
- Gift card holder for the gift card gift.
Gift Baskets and Bouquets
Gift baskets and bouquets with the right content are wonderful gifts to give male and female teachers. The content can be inexpensive items, homemade, or luxurious items.
Successful gift baskets or bouquets are theme based. Gift baskets can be a collection of items from the class or a teacher gift from one kid.
- Gift card bouquet. Create a bouquet in an inexpensive vase with a selection of gift cards. Stick the gift cards to paper flowers.
- Pencil vase filled with candy or school supplies. Use monogrammed pencils for a personal touch.
- Gourmet snacks gift basket.
- Coffee, tea or hot chocolate gift basket.
- School supply gift basket or layered like a cake.
- Summer relaxing basket or beach bag.
- Movie night gift basket.
Gift basket ideas for male teachers:
- Fishing basket or bucket
- Fishing gear cooler
- Barbeque or grilling gift baskets
- Filled jar or basket with snacks and treats men enjoy
- Sports themed gift basket or bucket
- Camping gift cooler or basket
- Car care gift basket
More homemade gift ideas
- Reversible tote bag
- Mason jars filled with consumables or practical items like paperclips
- Cozy blanket
- Gift card holders that make the gift card a more fun gift
- Fresh flowers from your garden
- Canvas water-resistant lunch bag
Memory Gift Book or Album
A memory yearbook or photo album is a gift the teacher will treasure for years and years. It doesn’t take up a lot of space so is easy to store. A gift book or album can be a class project or created by one student.
- Photo album with class pictures throughout the year.
- A yearbook that has photos of each student and their favorite memory.
- A gift book filled with handwritten notes or drawings from students.
- A gift book with short messages to their teacher.
- A combination of any of the above.
- A journey book from a student’s perspective of special moments they experienced throughout the year.
- A memory gift book reminding the teacher of all the fun times and funny incidents.
- A class recipe book where each child writes by hand a recipe of their favorite dish with a drawing or photo of the dish.
Gifts for the Male Teacher
Finding a gift for a male teacher isn’t as difficult as one would think.
Gift cards may seem unimaginative, but to a male teacher, the right gift card gives him double delight. Firstly, he appreciates it that he received a gift from a thankful student or parent. Secondly, a gift card to a coffee shop, restaurant or movie theatre allows him to treat his loved one.
Gift cards that are food related are winners as well as gift cards for gas, special car wash or his favorite hobby, gardening or hardware store. These are practical gifts that save him money too.
If you don’t want to give a gift card because you deem it too impersonal how about:
- Magazines subscriptions related to his interests, hobbies or sports. Magazines are nice for summer reading.
- Selection of spice mixes for dinners or barbeques.
- Variety of barbeque sauces for the summer barbeques.
- Tickets to his favorite sports.
- Ballcaps, sun hat or fedoras if your teacher wears hats.
- Takeout gift cards when he wants to stay home and watch the game.
- First-Aid kit he can keep in his card, desk or take with when he goes camping or hiking.
- Passes for the local swimming pool if he has a family that would enjoy it.
- A beach towel and sunscreen.
- Punch card for buckets of balls at the driving range or a round at a local golf course.
- Locking glass lunch containers.
- Flasks to keep beverages cold.
Remember, gifts like wine, beer, and multi-tools should be given directly by the parent to the teacher. Outside the classroom or school could be the safest option.
Unique Inexpensive Gifts
If you have a few kids at school, giving gifts to teachers and coaches can become an expensive exercise.
Here are a few ideas of inexpensive gifts that teachers will appreciate:
- Handwritten cards, poems or stories are always appreciated by teachers. If you decide to put it in a frame, don’t use too large frames that the teacher doesn’t have space for.
- Flavored coffees or teas if the teacher enjoys drinking coffee or tea.
- Health foods like nuts, bottled water, or fruit.
- Desk supplies like post-it notes, pens, notepads, stamps, and paperclips.
- Fun socks
- Consumables (g., olive oil, mustard) in a nice bottle that lasts a while but doesn’t take up storage space.
- Lanyards, badge pull or wristlet for your teacher’s keys.
- Personalized rubber or self-inking stamps.
- Room refresher spray.
- Binder clips and folders that aren’t ordinary and dull.
- Art supplies for art projects: tissue paper, pipe cleaners, paper cups, cotton balls.
- Items for their snack drawer when they are working late missed lunch or feel like a snack.
If you want to be prepared next year, let the teacher fill in a get to know you survey or find out what is their wish list
Do I need to get gifts for the supporting teachers in my child’s life?
It’s your choice if you want to thank a teacher with a gift and how much you want to spend. That includes the supporting teachers who influence your child’s life.
- High school teachers receive fewer gifts than elementary and mid-school teachers. These teachers will be pleasantly surprised in receiving a gratitude gift from a student or parent. It’s easier to give to them because they don’t receive that many gifts.
- Volunteers don’t get paid for their services. Giving them a small gift is a thoughtful way of acknowledging their contribution.
- Assistant teachers won’t expect the same gift as the teacher, but they will appreciate you acknowledging them.
- Resource teachers and special education teachers are often forgotten. Yet, they are the ones giving your child that extra help they needed.
- Daycare teachers and workers are also teachers you can thank. Although your child isn’t going to school yet, these teachers are already taking care of and teaching your children foundations for school life.
- Coaches are teachers too. They are the ones motivating your child to excel in specific sports or other student activities. Often, it’s their coaching and support that takes your child to the next level.
- Non-tenured teachers will appreciate a letter to the school’s principal or Superintendent of School that can impact their future. Make sure you copy the teacher so that they can use it as a reference.
- Support staff like librarians or nurses will appreciate a thank you note or small gift if your child often makes use of their services.
What teacher gift ideas do you recommend and are there ones we’ve missed that are a definite no?