Every year, the struggle is real: what to get for the teachers in your life. Seriously, this is tough. There is a ton of stuff out there that is marketed at teachers, but most of it is actually useless or will just take up valuable space. Whether you are gifting to a child’s teacher, or a teacher friend or spouse or family member, there is often a challenge to find something just right. So here’s what teachers really want (and need from you) for any gift giving occasion, straight from this teacher to you!
- Coffee or Tea for Me: Yes, teachers work hard and it takes caffeine to get many of us through the day. One of the best things to gift the teachers in your life is a soothing beverage to help them power through their day. You can go big with a gift basket or easy with a gift card. Or just swing by the local grocery store and pick up a few bags coffee or a selection of luxury teas. Pop your gift into a sweet bag or into a cute card, and you’re done!
- Gift Cards Worth Getting: This is super easy, as in one stop shopping easy. But some gift cards are better than others. Skip the restaurant cards, especially to the ubiquitous chains, UNLESS it is a local place or a really unique experience. A better bet is to get a gift card related to caffeine or to a place that offers a variety of items. Target gift cards are HUGE among teachers. This store offers home goods, clothes, and stuff for the classrooms. Another good bet are office supply stores, teaching supply stores, or bath and body stores.
- Roses are Red: Flowers and plants are a beautiful way to let a special teacher know that you appreciate her hard work. Cut flowers will brighten up a potentially dull classroom, and they can be taken home to remind her about how much her students love her. Living plants can serve as teaching tools for lessons on plant or flower parts.
- Cups, Mugs, etc.: Might I caution you prior to your purchase of a teaching themed mug or cup? Great! Have your student do some recon before you buy. If the teacher’s desk features one or more teaching related mugs or coffee mugs in general, skip this. However, if you have a first year teacher or know that an amazing travel mug might be right up her alley, go for it. But keep it classy and within the teacher’s tastes. If nothing else in her classroom or appearance screams with teacher cliches, but you know she is a hardcore yogi or runner, don’t go for the cutsey-cute teachery stuff. Get something that fits the teacher!
- Classroom Stuff: Every single teacher I know spends a literal fortune on classroom supplies and accessories every single year. Be the parent that helps out! Have your child ask what the class needs, or ask the teacher yourself. Chances are, they need something. Some awesome ideas are subscriptions to magazines/newspapers/book clubs, office supplies, whiteboard markers and erasers, sticky notes, books for the class library, or extra personal sized whiteboards.
- May I Help You?: The answer is almost always a resounding YES! Teachers need help with so many things, like creating bulletin boards, arranging furniture, staging special events, or hosting guest readers or teachers. So share your skills with the teacher in your life, and volunteer in the classroom. Even making copies would take a huge load off of a teacher’s super full work plate.
- Round of Applause: Some of the best things to receive are simply the appreciation and validation of the excellent work that is being accomplished. Send in a heartfelt note expressing how much you value the work that your teacher is doing, the time she dedicates to the students, and the difference she is making. Bonus points if your child helps you write this AND double bonus points for a hand drawn card.
- Stuff Some Chocolate in My Face: Everyone loves a sweet treat! And teachers really love getting candy, baked goods, or other yummy edibles. Jams, jellies, honey (to go with the tea), chocolates, fancy cookies, or a fancy pre-packaged mix are all excellent go-to gifts. Before you get ready to cook though, check to see if there are allergy issues or food preferences. Plus, think long and hard about cooking your own delicacies to gift. Many teachers have a strict personal policy against eating homemade treats, or only eat them from vetted students or families. It’s nothing personal, they just don’t know about cross-contamination, recipes and ingredients, or pets or smoking in the home.
- Liquid Courage: This one is slightly controversial, and for good reason. It’s booze. Yes, not every teacher enjoys this, but for the right teacher this can be amazing! It is a fun way to show appreciation for a job well-done, and let the teacher know that she has a right to be a real adult who consumes alcohol in the off hours. If you want to do this, but feel uncomfortable sending Junior to school with a bottle of wine or fifth of whiskey, get a gift card! There are many beverage retail locations in every corner of the country (and world), plus wineries, breweries, and distilleries that offer tastings. Having an excuse to pick out a nice bottle or enjoy a fun day out at a pretty winery with friends is wonderful!
So, with this list in hand, what are you getting the teacher in your life?