Other Stuff, Teaching

Gifts That Teachers Love

‘Tis the season for giving! Over the last few weeks, I have posted a few articles about holiday gifting ideas. Whether it is something small that is a person’s favorite thing, or a gift created by a local maker, there are so many unique ways to show people you are thinking of them at the holidays. I have received many requests asking, “What kind of gifts should we get for teachers?”

In my twenty years as a teacher, I have received some truly thoughtful gifts… and many where, um… well, it’s the thought that counts. Honestly, secondary school teachers don’t receive as many gifts, which is understandable, since our students have eight teachers, not just one. However, there are always families that are kind enough to show us some love too. Here are some ideas to get you thinking. (And a few things to avoid.)

Teachers love caffeine. It is our life-blood and our salvation at 6:30 AM, when grouchy teenagers come shuffling into our rooms. How about a gift card to Starbucks, or better yet… a local coffee shop? Or, perhaps a freshly ground bag of coffee or a strong loose leaf tea paired with a cute mug? (I recommend Rae Dunn pottery, which can be found at Marshall’s and TJ Max.)

For many of us, our PM beverage of choice is a nice glass of red or white. I once received a bottle of Cabernet, with a card that said, “I know my child is why you drink.” However, please don’t sent that liquor to school… your teacher would like to keep her job. Instead, consider a gift card to a local wine shop, with some cute charms, or a personalized glass.

Gift cards are always a terrific idea! Target is a wonderland of possibility. Restaurant cards are perfect on a busy night. Movie theater cards are a great idea for teachers to take a break. If you know where your teacher likes to shop for clothes, a gift card to their favorite boutique could also be an option. Lottery scratchers are a fun gift with big potential. And spa cards are wonderful for a much needed manicure or massage. (For my local readers, I have received a massage card for Bei Jing Foot Spa in St. Peters… It. Was. Awesome.)

By the time second semester rolls around, our supplies are already starting to run out and there is not money to buy them. Dry erase markers, paper products, and other classroom supplies are a fantastic gift idea, that can save your teacher some money in her own budget.

Now, please hear me out. I mean no disrespect when I say this next part. Here are a few things that we really DON’T need. We don’t need a dollar store mug of candy or a Christmas ornament that says “World’s Best Teacher.” (We already have a tree full.) We don’t use bath beads or Walgreens perfume. And just being honest… we don’t often eat homemade treats. (The world is a creepy place and you just can’t trust people.)

The best gifts, honestly, are the ones that are personal and from the heart. If we know that a student has poured a lot of love into the gift, that makes it incredibly meaningful! A nice, handwritten note or card is always welcomed. Some of the best gifts I have ever received were things that you can’t buy in any store. A handcrafted piano bench, a personalized Disney ear holder, a song learned and performed just for me, and a bracelet with the GPS coordinates of my classroom (because it is my student’s home) have had a lot of weight in my heart.

Just a few days ago, I received an amazingly meaningful gift from a student. It was an ornament with a picture of my family on it, including my recently departed buddy, Oscar. It was so thoughtful, I sobbed right there in the middle of class. That gift was so much better than any corny mug could ever be.

Whether you spend a little, or a lot… teachers love gifts from the heart. I hope this Christmas, you are able to treat your special teachers with something that warms their heart.

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