At the beginning of the year — or at any time, really — there are so many ways to show a great teacher that you appreciate all of their hard work. They play such an important role in caring for your kids and shaping who they’ll turn out to be in the future, and we all know that it is by no means an easy job. When it comes to selecting teacher gifts, there are many options to choose from — and we’re here to offer some helpful advice.
First of all, you’ll never be faulted for choosing the gift card — teachers always appreciate them, and they often turn around and use them to spiff up their classrooms again.
Even better than a gift card, especially when school is starting and teachers are setting up their classrooms, is a donation to Donor’s Choose (if your school participates).
On that site, teachers let parents know about specific projects they want funded— things like a new classroom library, a collection of STEM materials, or flexible seating options — and parents can contribute directly to those projects, and feel good knowing exactly where their money went.
But, if you’re looking to give something beyond the gift cards and class supplies, you can make a teacher very, very happy with one of these creative teacher gifts. See below some of our favorites!
PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag
In a test by the Good Housekeeping Institute, this BPA-free bag kept food at a safe temperature for up to three hours. So a turkey-on-wheat will still be fresh come her long-awaited lunch break.
Expo Low-Odor Dry Erase Markers, Chisel Tip, Vibrant Colors, 16-Count
Another much-appreciated classroom-related gift would be “Expo markers! Teachers are always running out, and they can get really pricey,” explains Marty Rogachefsky, operations manager at Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston, Massachusetts.
No teacher should suffer the indignity of cold coffee. Not only does this mug keep hot beverages nice and toasty, it comes with a five-year warranty on heat retention.
Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point (0.7mm), Assorted Colors, 12 Count
“I totally second the idea of classroom supplies,” says Gus Jacobson, a high-school English and theater teacher in New York City. “Multicolored pens like the Paper Mate Flair series are very popular right now, especially with middle school English teachers. Those can get fairly pricey when you buy in bulk, so it’s not a bad idea!”
Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer
Perhaps the best gift you can give is an escape from your kid’s icky, sticky germs. This five-pack of pocket-sized hand sanitizers comes in classic Bath & Body Works fragrances, so they stave off germs without smelling like a doctor’s office.
Herbal Bath Soak Blend of Epsom & Dead Sea Salt Infused with Lavender Essential Oil
“Bath salts are always nice, teachers work hard, and they work long hours, often arriving at school around 7 a.m. and staying up late at home marking tests and homework. It’s nice when parents give a gift that says “Thank you for spending so much time caring about my child — we’d love to know that you are taking some time for yourself now.” Kate, a music teacher at a Boston-area private school.
Foam Roller or RumbleRoller
“If a student got me a foam roller (or the even fancier RumbleRoller, hint, hint), I would be thrilled,” says Dan Safer, head of movement training at New York University’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School. “After teaching five dance classes in a row, I am ALWAYS sore, and having a foam roller available everywhere I go — several of different lengths at home, one at school, a short one for when I travel, etc. — would rock. This would even be good for a math teacher. I mean, everyone gets sore, right?”
If you’re still in doubt about what gift to give a teacher, there’s one fail-safe option. “Families often mean well by trying to get you something very specific and elegant but most teachers actually need things that are boring and unglamorous.” says Caplan ”A parent thanking me in a note attached to a gift card can mean a lot and also be used to help purchase a new vacuum I need, groceries, or fun night out with friends.”
After all the stress of the kids yelling all day, is there any better gift than a rejuvenating night’s sleep? This sleep mask, from the makers of the weighted Gravity Blanket, weighs a full pound and blocks out light for a full night’s rest.
Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator
Finn Menzies, a first grade teacher at Lowell Elementary in Seattle, Washington recommends giving the eco-friendly gift of lamination, something all lower school teachers can appreciate. “I mean, honestly, it would probably be a laminator. It just makes my centers [classroom work stations] last so much longer and our school’s machine is broken. It’s also an ecological factor. If I have to print papers for each kid — Oh my God — but if I laminate the sheets and they use dry erase marker, I’m saving paper and also I can use the same sheet over and over for years.”
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