Simply Sensational Gifts For Teachers!

teacher gifts

After spending several hours last night at the E.R. with my 17-year-old son Kell, I am particularly grateful it is “Save My Sanity Saturday” today! (No worries. A broken collar bone and a MAJOR case of “road ‘rash” were the outcome….but nothing that won’t heal.)

Even though it was the last place I wanted to spend my Friday night, the timing couldn’t have been better! If I’d come home after that experience (we rolled in about midnight) and had to still do a post I might have had to go right back to the hospital and be admitted for a nervous breakdown! :-)

Luckily I had just the post in mind to give a little Saturday lovin’ to, while at the same time giving myself a little piece of “sanity”. Only 4 more days of school here!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Original post – May 2, 2012

It’s getting treacherously near that time of year that strikes fear and elation into the hearts of Moms and Dads everywhere!  THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! (dun dun dun!)  It is almost laughable how every year at this time I cannot WAIT til school is out! And every year….fast forward a couple of weeks….I cannot WAIT til school starts! :-)  It’s a LOVE/HATE thing for sure.

I also have a LOVE/HATE thing when it comes to end-of-the-year Teacher Gifts.  I do LOVE to reward my kids’ teachers for putting up with teaching them for a whole year!  But I hate (well maybe hate is a bit strong) trying to come up with something! (I’d actually be very curious to hear what teachers think about this whole tradition? Do you look forward to the myriad of little trinkets your students bring in…or would you rather just not be bothered? I think I know the answer.)

So this year I was doing my usual “research” to come up with a good teacher gift that fit all my personal requirements: Useful, easy and won’t break the bank!  

That’s not too much to ask for is it? I don’t think so. And I think I found some good ones this year!  I hope you think so!

First off….give the gift of colored pencils…in a cute and creative presentation.

Found this idea over at Happy Clippings and couldn’t wait to make one! It was so quick and easy but so cute!  AND USEFUL! I mean what teacher can’t use more colored pencils?  And they won’t have to pry these off either! They are held on with a cleverly-concealed rubber band. :-)



My second idea came from Chocolate On My Cranium (love that name!) and is one of the most clever things I’ve seen!

Take basic ball point pens like these with clear casings…and pretty them up with cute bits of scrap paper that you roll up and tuck inside!  I just LOVE how these turned out! I want to keep them all for myself. :-)  (I have a “thing” for pens!)

It just doesn’t get much easier than that folks.


Of course I found SCADS more great ideas….but didn’t have the time nor inclination to make them all. So here are a few more that caught my eye for your consideration.

Here is a cute idea from Skip To My Lou.  A fun little gift tag all ready to print out and tie to a cute stack of notecards (or sticky notes, or whatever)!  It says, “Take “NOTE”, you are one of my favorite teachers!  Thanks for a great year!”

Useful? CHECK! Easy? CHECK! Won’t break the bank? CHECK!   :-)


And finally….get ready to have some fun with this one!  Take a little trip over to and create your own one-of-a-kind “Subway Art” piece using you and your child’s own words to describe his or her teacher. Or really ANY words you want!  You simply type the words into their “create” window and the site does the rest! You can change the colors, fonts, shape, direction, etc.  Then just print it out and stick it in a frame (or some other presentation of your choice) and you’re done!  It’s actually quite fun and would be a great gift for all SORTS of occasions!

Here are a couple I made up in about 5 minutes. :-)



If I had more time I could have gone crazy on that site!  It’s WAY fun!


OK…that’s MY contribution to the creative pool of teacher gifts this year!   What’s yours???   :-)



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  1. Tamara says

    Nice ideas that I can’t wait to try. I am a HS teacher and we don’t get these end of the year gifts but I have a kindergartener this year and am excited to create these. I use wordle with my students, but never thought about it as a gift. Thank you, thank you!

  2. Miss K says

    I’m also a high school teacher so I don’t get many gifts, but the ones I do are really meaningful and useful. I know my elementary teacher friends end up re-gifting a lot of the things they receive…

    It sounds like a no-no, but a gift card for a local coffee shop, office supply store or book store is ALWAYS a great idea and appreciated by teachers. Even a $5 card helps out with purchases.

    On this vein, I saw some cute gift card holders that said things like, “Thanks a LATTE” or, “Thanks for helping me hit the books”. Even tucking the gift card into a hand-written note card the child writes would be a cherished gift. My favorite ‘gifts’ from students are the senior portraits with hand-written notes from my students on the back.

    • Nicole says

      I agree! After teaching for several years, it really is great to get something that a teacher can use outside of school. The colored pencils and pens I love and then just add a $5 or so -gift card to a coffee shop down in the jar :-)

    • Sarah says

      I plan to do a printable I found online, has the Target stores “target” on it and says “thanks for helping me stay on target,” you include a Target gift card and voila! And I know as teachers you’re probably cringing at my sentence structure, haha :)

  3. Vicky says

    I teach middle school, and for the most part the cute gifts never make it this far up the ladder. I love the pens though, cannot get enough of colored pens!!! I agree with the gift cards, and I also love getting heartfelt notes from students/parents. That does a tremendous job when you hit that one student that you can’t reach and you need a morale boost to get you going again! I taught primary for a long time, and trinkets come and go…but those notes are with me forever in a special file. Those are the treasures!

  4. says

    I wish I was still teaching and some lovely parent would make those pens for me! I would have gone bonkers for those pens! I’m an office-supply-a-holic so anytime I got/get office supplies I get all gooey inside! I’m definitely going to make them for my son’s 2nd grade teacher! FABULOUS!

    • Chris says

      Kirsten, I got such a kick out of you getting “gooey”. When my daughter was a little girl she loved playing school and loved office supplies. Midwest School Supply used to have a store in our area and when we got close she would take off at a run to get in there and start looking. She got all gooey inside, too. She is now a teacher but is at home with her small children and enjoys doing some subbing.

  5. says

    Okay, you asked! As a former school librarian and the recipient of a number of ‘teacher gifts’…yours are cute and useful, but I think most teachers would far more appreciate something like a gift card. It doesn’t have to be much, but a $5 or $10 gift card at Trader Joe’s or JoAnn’s or Michael’s would have been something I’d have loved. I’m sure teachers appreciate the thought…but believe me, you can always tell when you are at a teacher’s garage sale, where she’s trying to get someone to take all those tokens away!

  6. says

    I echo the teachers that commented before. My husband is a high school teacher. He doesn’t get many gifts, but when a student takes the time to give him something (even if the parent bought/made/wrapped it) it’s really appreciated and special. He wears great ties, so students have gotten him those as gifts, and it’s really nice to have something he can use and remember what being a teacher can mean. The note cards always last longer than any gift.

    • melissa says

      at the beginning of last year my son’s preschool made a sign for the outside wall it said follow me on the path of learning and had all of the kids footprints along with their names. I thought this was really cute (it stuck in my head) so at the end of the year we made each teacher a stepping stone with my son’s footprints with a thank you for putting me on the path of learning. I then sealed each one with a glossy sealer so it could be used in their flower beds. They all loved them and my son had the best time making them

  7. jennielynn says

    Such cute ideas! Last year, one of the mothers in my son’s preschool class took the initiative and organized a class gift. Everyone donated $5-$10 and the mom went out and bought gift cards to a local restaurant and movie tickets, plus some fun odds and ends. She put them in a large flower pot, using scrap-book paper to make flower shaped holders for the cards. It was SO cute, but what I liked best was the fact that it was cheaper for everyone than going it on their own, plus a much more substantial gift than the usual mugs and bric-a-brac.

  8. Cou says

    This is cute, but coming from a family of elementary school teachers I can tell you teachers usually appreciate a gift card (coffee, gas, bookstore, etc.) or unique homemade gift more. My sister once received a bottle of homemade chimichurri sauce that was fabulous!

  9. Ashley says

    I loved Starbucks or Michael’s gift cards, but I had some teacher friends who got sick of the Starbucks! I also always loved heartfelt notes or pictures, or books for the classroom. I even had a parent bring me a healthy salad for lunch one day and that was awesome!

  10. Jens says

    As a teacher, I wish I could give all my parents a link to this post!!! I love your checklist (useful, easy, won’t break the bank) — my favorite being USEFUL. I really don’t want to sound ungrateful, I appreciate all my students/parents, but I can only use so many bottles of bath and body works and costume jewelry (I rarely wear jewelry other than my rings and a watch). I would love it if one of my students brought in any of the cute gifts you wrote about!!!

  11. Samantha Norris says

    For my little ones teachers I have made a poem i found online and a cup of M&Ms to go with it! Its teacher appreciation week for us next week. For her bus driver i have another poem and his favorite candy bar in a hand written card!

    Green is for the inspiration you give me each day.
    Blue is for your patience in showing me the way.
    Orange is for your warmth and caring style.
    Yellow is for the way you always make me smile.
    Red is for my life that you have touched this year.

    You place knowledge in my hands
    that melt into my heart and live forever!
    You’re a “Magnificent” & “Marvelous” Teacher!
    Thank you for being my M&M!

    Here’s the poem for her bus driver!

    There are heroes in our land today that never receive any recognition
    some of these are a child’s first acquaintance of education.
    Now a teacher might be the first one who comes to your mind,
    but I speak of the bus driver for which the kids wait in line.

    For a moment, put yourself in the bus driver’s shoes,
    and I’m sure you will find that it’s a job you might not want to choose.
    Just think what it would be like to baby sit for sixty kids or better,
    and remember you must chauffeur this bus load of kids regardless of the weather.

    I must admit, to be in front of a classroom with 20-30 kids wouldn’t be a picnic,
    but to drive 60 kids over icy roads would set my nerves on edge and make my stomach sick.
    A school bus driver is like the postman and must go regardless of rain, snow, gloom, and darkest of night,
    but no postman ever had to have 60 kids, clean up their mess, or break up a fight.

    A child can have a bad day at school without any warning,
    But can be forgotten when a bus driver says, “Have a good evening; I’ll see you in the morning”.
    Ask any student, what heroes of theirs never received any fame,
    and I’ll bet a bus driver will be among those that they name.

    • Vicky says

      I love this Samantha, and I hope you won’t mind but I am going to adapt of for all the teachers and give them small bags of candies for teacher appreciation week, its a great project for our student council!!!
      Thanks for sharing!

    • MaxS. says

      That poem is adorable, I wish I’d had it way back when. My city only buses kids up through 8th grade, so when the youngest was near the end of the school year, she found out the driver’s favorite cookies. We baked up a batch. We then made him a t-shirt. Ironed on a decal of an image of a school bus with kids spilling out of the windows, and the heading “Three Cheers for the Bus Driver” at the top, and “The BEST of them ALL” at the bottom.

  12. Beth says

    I teach at a Montessori school in the Childrens House.I don’t need mugs and photos of the children. I have received some lovely jewelry. But the best gift was a cash gift. I was traveling to New Mexico that summer and really appreciated the extra $.

  13. Ayshela says

    I am sooooo stealing that pen idea, and passing it on to my daughter! What a wonderful way to keep track of your pens! Pen thieves beware, I WILL know which ones are MY pens! ;)
    Though, come to think of it, they might be even more tempted to steal them. *g*

  14. Nicole says

    I love the pen idea! Those are so cute, and useful too. I had an idea to make them even more awesome though. You could always print something on the paper before cutting it and sliding in the pen. You could completely customize it and do anything! You could do school colors, or a mascot or the teachers name. I’m definitely going to have to remember that one.

  15. Andrea S says

    Hi Jillee,
    As a teacher, the best gifts I’ve gotten from students have bene the hand made and untraditional ones. Some of the hand written notes, cards and hand drawn pictures I’ve gotten over the last 9 years are in a bright yellow folder-It’s my “HAPPY FOLDER”! It’s my go to place during a tough day or during tough times with kids. I sometimes need a moment to remind me why I teach-some days can be trying. Over the last 9 years, that folder has gotten pretty fat, and I might need to upgrade it to a binder with some plastic pages to keep those memories.
    I love the idea of the pens. I am going to go the extra step and print her name on the paper to make them more personalized. What a cute idea-no more pen thieves! I am also planning on making these for their teachers-

    Thanks for all your great ideas!

  16. says

    I taught high school for years and hardly ever received gifts. Now I am homeschooling my kids, so I get gifts every day :o) As a crafty person, I would have appreciated anything homemade. It if is consumable then it is even better! Right now I am making homemade vanilla and vanilla sugar. How easy would that be to gift to a teacher??!! I saw this oven mitt for teacher appreciation on tip junkie

  17. Andrea S says

    Made them! They were so pretty I made some for myself. I even printed their names (and mine-of course) on the paper. My son helped me roll them and decided he wanted a few for himself too. They were irresistible! Thanks for another wonderful idea!!!

  18. says

    As a homeschooling mother, why don’t I ever get teacher appreciation gifts?? I should get onto my kids about that. :)

    Glad you liked the “Pretty Pens.” I give them away ALL THE TIME with journals, planners, notebooks, stationary, etc. So simple and useful and personalizable.

  19. jackie says

    hi! you are my favorite!! thank you so much for sharing your different recipes, etc.
    i did read your note about your addiction. i hope the higher power you were referring to was Jesus! i figured that if you were at a place called the ark…He’s the very best!! don’t know where i’d (or we’d) be with out Him!! prayers for you and your family, jackie

  20. Jill Storer says

    I was looking for end of the year teacher gifts and started reading all the comments. I am also a teacher (High School English) and a mother of five. I have three in school right now. Two are in elementary and have two teachers each. My oldest is in Jr. High with a total of nine teachers including his coaches!
    My comment is this: Yes, as a teacher, I love gift cards!! But it is the thought that really does count! I’m so tickled to get any gift no matter how much was spent. I would never sell any gift one of my students gave me or re-gift it! So thanks Jillee for the awesome affordable ideas!! I think I can actually give all of my children’s teachers (13) a gift thanks to these clever ideas.

  21. Heidi says

    My daughters teachers always appreciate board games. For those rainy and snow blistery days. Christmas time is a great to buy these items. I love the pen idea for myself. I have a pen obsession and only like blue ink; it is really hard to find pretty ones with blue ink.

  22. Mary says

    2 years ago my oldest daughter was REALLY into comic books. She had tranitioned from homeschool & into a public brick & mortar school. Her teacher would tell stories about her family & her shoe obsession in class sometimes in a effort to keep things lighter on certian days. The kids enjoyed it. This teacher is the most popular teacher in the school.

    Anyway at the end of the year my daughter wanted to make the teacher a comic book. I found printable blank comic book pages for free & my duaghter created a comic book about her teacher “Miss. Morrison VS The Snazzy Shoe”. The shoe was the villan, but my daughter also includedthe teachers family in the comci as well.

    I don’t know if the teacher liked it, but I’m sure she appreciated the time & effort my daughter put into it.

    I also take a picture of my kids teacher with their class at the end of the year & give it to the teacher. They all seem to really like that & sometimes use the picture in a craft project on the last day of school parties.

  23. Julie says

    I LOVE the pens. As PTO President I often have a hard time coming up with ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week. We try to do a small gift each day for our entire staff. Which means 100 gifts times five days, it really adds up. I’m going to pick up the pens now while they are on sale for back to school. We may even make a few to put in our Santa Shop :) Thanks for the idea!

    • Nicole C. says

      At my kids’ school, the “teacher appreciation week” plan is usually the same each year. One day, the kids are encouraged to bring a flower(s) (from their garden or the store) with the room mom usually bringing in a vase to make a large bouquet. One day they’re encouraged to write a note. One day they’re encouraged to bring something from the supply list for their classroom. Another day they’re asked to bring in a gently-used book to add to the teacher’s class library, and then the last day, they’re encouraged to bring anything they’d like.
      This year on the note day, my kids wrote notes plus we gave their teachers a pack of notecards tied up with ribbon from Target’s dollar bins. On school supply day, I bought those colored Ink Joy pens (I bought in advance when Target sold them BOGO free) and placed them in a fancied up soup can covered with scrapbooking paper and decoration. On the last day, I picked up lunch from Panera for one teacher and gave a giftcard to the other since she already had lunch plans. Other years, I’ve sent a homebaked treat or a recyclable shopping bag or something I know they collect. It can get expensive and some years I can afford to give more than other years so creativity helps. I think when you ask yourself whether or not you’d enjoy receiving the gift you plan to give especially if you were to receive that same gift from several kids, you get a clearer perspective on whether or not to gift it.

  24. Comet says

    My daughter made “Crayon Picture Frames” for her daughters pre-school Head Start teachers and aides. This was very easy using 1$ store crayons and frames and pics of the kids and teachers. Just hot glue the crayons on the frame in whatever patterns you like–can even do some names if they are not too curvy! Easy to cut with a serrated knife.

    The teachers seemed to love them!

    This year for the end of K. my grand daughter and I made terrarium’s for her teachers, aides and bus driver. (My three kids–well grown now!–all had the SAME bus driver as my grandkid does—from K to 12!!!!!!!!) We used re-cycled thrift store glass fish bowls and large vases and did fish tank rocks on the bottom and cactus potting mix with small succulents from Lowes—these come in packs of 4-5 plants but if you have plants that would work that would be even more special. We then used sea shells we had collected and some rocks for landscaping.

    For Christmas we gave a tin of home made pretzel /Hersheys kisses sandwiches—line a baking pan with foil, place the little waffle square pretzels on top, warm them in the oven and then place UNWRAPPED Hersheys kisses on them—you might have to pop back in oven to just melt a bit–and top with more pretzels. We have a long standing relationship with my grand daughters K teacher–she was ALSO the K teacher for TWO of my kids—her mother and her uncle! (People here are very loyal to our rural school!) She liked these SOOOO much we went home and made several more batches for her to take home over Winter break. Tins and pretzels were from Christmas Tree shop and were very cute and we were able to get all different ones. Of course you can save and re-use any you have or I have seen some really cute ones painted with funky designs that would make great gift tins–made from cookie tins etc.

  25. Jeannie Smith says

    I just found your site from your hand scrub on pintrest and I just made some and LOVE it. So easy I can’t believe I never did this sooner. I am making several of you things for Christmas baskets for my kids teachers but I ran into one problem, my 11 year old has one male teacher! While I am sure his wife would love the bath bombs and stuff I was really trying to think of something for him. Any ideas? Please help :) Jeannie

  26. Mandi says

    I know that a teacher would really appreciate the gift cards and such, because they are usable, but what about the supplies that the teachers pay out of pocket each year? Extra pencils for the students, crayons, tissues, Clorox wipes, dry erase markers, or disposable cameras or even a subscription to snapfish or some other photo printing site. I can only imagine how much a teacher finances for out beloved photograph hand made gifts.

    Not sure if a teacher would rather have a gift they can keep for personal use or one for sharing with their future students, but I was just thinking, why not?

    • nwrain says

      Must say, I love this website!

      As an elementary teacher, I feel awkward about receiving gifts at the end of the year or at holidays. It breaks my hear when a little one who didn’t bring anything tells me they forgot. I always give them a hug and say, “But you’re the only present I need!”

      Here is what I appreciate:

      1. A handwritten letter from a child mentioning something they enjoyed or how I helped them grow that year or a hug and a quiet word from them about the year

      2. A thank you note from a parent or family for something they appreciated that

      3. A photo of the child and me slipped in a thank you card

      4. In December, I LOVE to get family Christmas photo cards! I keep them on a small bulletin board behind my desk. It’s a touching gift, especially if I have had other children in the family.

      5. School supplies you know the class needs and uses–a package of stickers slipped in a card, some cool pens, distinctive pencils so I know who’s taken mine :), little pencil sharpeners with the container for shavings since most classrooom sharpeners eat pencils, packages of notebook paper, (My district no longer allows parents to donate items to the classroom and buys all school supplies for the classrooms. Great idea to keep costs down for families, but means you can’t ask for even ask for donations of liquid starch for art.)

      6. Gift card to stores where I can buy school supplies

  27. Rhonda says

    I really hate to sound ungrateful but as a teacher of over twenty years I have to say that I really can’t use another decorative item made from crayons or apples. They go straight into the trash. Students bring colored pencils and crayons and classrooms literally have bins full of them. Pens are nice. I agree with the posters who have said we can’t use more mugs. We get several cheap mugs a year. I have probably received hundreds. Gift cards in even the smallest amounts and a note of appreciation are every teachers favorite.

  28. Norma-Jean says

    As an elementary music teacher, I appreciate any gifts that I do receive. My favorites are gift cards (almost any kind is fine – local restaurants, local grocery stores, local coffee places etc.), something that the students made themselves or a homemade food type treat, and anything related to music! My school publishes a teacher “wish list” near the holidays, and I always request tissue (for use in my classroom) and post-it notes and blank cds. I use all that stuff regularly and purchase them with my own money. I love your idea with the pens – I’m sure any teacher would appreciate that gift. You could use more masculine paper for the male teachers.

  29. Carol Jackson says

    From another veteran high school teacher, I echo the fact that we seldom get gifts, but I understand. Parents go from one teacher to eight teachers, so it’s too expensive. However, I help many AP students write essays for top-tier colleges and spend time crafting the perfect recommendation letter for scholarships. I am not required to do this, and I would never charge for my time. However, when the student gets into that college and acknowledges that I had a part in helping him or her achieve that goal with a thank-you letter (hand-written is always best) and maybe a coffee or bookstore or iTunes gift card, then that makes me feel appreciated. Of course I will continue to do it with or without the thanks, but it’s always nice and really just human decency to acknowledge those who gave of their time to help you achieve your goals. It would be nice for students to realize this, but parents should be the ones to lead the way. So, parents of seniors, who wrote the letters and helped with the essays for your child’s college applications? It was done after school on the teacher’s personal time. Maybe that deserves some appreciation.

    • Lillian says

      I think for me, the main factor in stopping teacher gifts at around middle school age will be less the expense and more the fear of my kids seeming “weird” – even if I bring in the gift and don’t have the kid bring it in, a teacher still may thank the kid and then they look like they’re sucking up? This is proabbly an unrealistic fear, but there you are.

      Fortunately, my children are still elementary age so all bets are off! I include instrumental teachers and teacher’s aids and anyone I can think of, and between music lessons and my kids’ special ed needs, it came to 15 teacher gifts across two kids. Not too far from what I might see at the high school age range. (Gifts this year were small 4-oz. jars of homemade apple butter. I don’t like the stuff, but other people go gaga for it and it’s fun to make.)

      I will tuck away what you’ve said for future reference. Encouraging students to thank with a small gift is not just good manners, it’s an important lesson for after school, say when a colleague stands in with an excellent reference for you. It’s smart to teach them to build good relationships.

  30. Stacey says

    I’ve been teaching for nineteen years and the majority of it has been with junior high aged young people. We rarely get gifts at this age because each student has so many teachers. I will agree with most people so far that the best tangible gift a student has given me is a note, card, or letter letting me know that in some way I made a difference in their lives. Teaching 160 young teenagers each year is a tremendous amount of fun but is also tremendously emotionally draining. I also keep a folder or box with these words of encouragement in them to help me on days when I struggle. The one thing I wish the student would include is a picture of themselves and the year I had them in class. I am finally getting to the point where I remember names and faces but don’t always match them up correctly. I would love to look at these memories when I’m 80 and have that photo to help spark a more clearer memory.

  31. Emmy says

    The schools supply these kinds of supplies. Though a lovely gesture, this kind of gift just gets added to the stash. Yes, gift cards are the nicest and most thoughtful. But a handwritten note of thanks is a treasure. (And a copy to the principal.)

    • Nicole C. says

      I would think colored pencils are not used so much by the teacher but by the students so in that way, it’s not really a thoughtful gift BUT not all schools supply them. Lots of schools, in CA anyway, don’t have extra money so the kids bring all their own supplies and anything they wish to donate in the beginning of he school year. My kids’ school even requests copy paper because at some point before the school year’s over, the supply will run out and they’ll have to fall back on donations.

    • Lillian says

      A copy to the principal? That’s a GREAT idea!

      My son has a teacher in the skills room – a special ed room – who’s unbelievable. Now I know just the right gesture to make!

  32. Cindy S. says

    This year my kiddo is in pre-school, with five teachers, so I did fun summer survival and celebration baskets: bucket and shovel, beach towel, Boca Clips, flip flops, sunscreen, and a snazzy plastic pool cup filled with Crystal light drink mix packets. His teachers all seemed to appreciate a practical but fun gift.

    I love all the ideas! I am taking notes for next year;-)

  33. Julie says

    I have to agree with the previous comments about the”cute” things we receive. I teach half day kindergarten, morning and afternoon, and have 47-50 students every year. With kindergarten being the first year of school, parents are very appreciative….which is so nice. However…..I re-gift/throw away/donate mugs, ornaments, picture frames, chocolate, movie theme idea, and knick knacks. Cards with written thanks and small gift cards that have nothing to do with teaching feel like a hug from that family.

  34. Ginny says

    I just retired after 35 years as a teacher, counselor, and school psychologist. After 10 years, my desk couldn’t hold all of the cute things I’d been given, and I could decorate a tree with the ornaments. What have I really loved:
    Notes from children/parents appreciating my work with them (I still have all of them)
    Gift cards – restaurants or bookstores in your area
    A gift card for a school supply catalog – the school secretary can tell you the names of some- a lot more items to choose from than a local store.

    Teachers spend a lot of their own money, especially those in their first few years of teaching. We’re also great scavengers, like getting the roll ends of newsprint from printing companies for students to draw on.

    Appreciation is the most valuable and beloved gift you can give any educator. Thanks so much for all you do to help.

  35. CTY says

    Being a middle school teacher I too have received many gifts. One thing that bothers me about receiving the gifts is that the student wants to watch you open it–right then with the eyes of the whole class watching. Many times I have felt that students in some way are competing to give the best gift. It may be a middle school age thing–I am not sure. One thing I want to stress is keep it simple.
    A roll of Life Savers, a nail file, chap stick etc. I had a student write on 2 pinch clothes pin–one said “to be graded” the other “graded”.
    My feeling is that the gift should not cost much more than $1.

  36. Karen says

    I just did the idea with the pens and the scrapbook paper, I put the scrapbook paper through my printer and printed ‘Thank you, Ms. _______’ on the paper before putting it in the pen. I included some notecards that I had made at VistaPrint, I was able to get 10 notecards for each teacher for $3.99 per set, and free shipping. I tied the notecards and enevelopes together with some twine and attached the pen to the twine. The teachers loved them!

  37. Kayla says

    Let me be the odd Elementary teacher, here. I LOVE supplies. I’d go crazy over those pens and little kids often break colored pencils over the year. I’d toss these right into the collection.

  38. Shannon says

    I taught pre-k for several years and received the good, the bad and the ugly teacher gifts. One year a mom contacted all the parents and they all contributed to a spa day for me. Perfect way to celebrate the end of the school year.

  39. says

    I have worked as a Sign Language Interpreter in all grades and I can tell you that the gifts with the “personal touch” have touched my heart the most. One student was shopping with her Mom for me and her Mom wanted to get me some nice body spray or body wash. But my student told her mother that I am allergic to chemicals so she hunted for something that didn’t have a sent. It ended up being a note pad stack. I was so touched that this student was so thoughtfull! And that was over three years ago.

    If you want ideas for the classroom here’s a list:

    Crayons & Color pencils are great! But check with the teacher they may have a huge stash already.

    We had a parent bring in personal hand sanitizer for each student and then a big jug for the classroom. I can’t tell you how helpful that was!

    Facial tissue

    EXPO Dry Erase markers: I’m all about generic products to save coin, but Expo is the way to go.

    White board cleaner: I like Expo but if the cleaner is made for whiteboards then it most likely will work…there are exceptions.

    Copy paper: This is like gold at any school!

    Notebook paper: Ditto as the copy paper.

    #2 pencils: Cannot go wrong with these.

    A GOOD Quality pencil sharpener.

    At the moment I am working with Special Needs students the list above is good for them as well but here are some specialty items for these teachers:

    Laminating sheets

    Velcro rounds or strips

    Magnet letters (or just letters)

    Those placemats for kids that let them write their ABC’s.

    That’s all I can think of at the moment. What a great post!


  40. Ellen says

    Three thoughts:

    –at my sister’s suggestion (a school administrator), I purchased $5 Starbucks gift certificates for my sons’ teachers, through high school; nope, not an upscale neighborhood, just thought it was an appropriate thing to do. One teacher sent an email noting that she wasn’t a coffee person, but just loved their muffins and hot chocolate in the winter, and a second teacher stepped outside the classroom to yell across the hallway to another of my oldest son’s teachers (always open doors), “YESSSS, GOT IT!” :)

    –purchased some seasonally-decorated dish towels (at a craft fair) for one of youngest son’s early grade school teachers. Five years later, she stopped him in a hallway to tell him she still used them every season. (whether or not she did isn’t the point; she remembered them, and he was delighted she did);

    –when oldest son graduated college, I emailed a pic of him in his gown, in front of his college seal/gate (traditional photo) to a teacher who, long story short, literally turned his school world around for him in 7th grade. I wasn’t sure if she’d think I was stalking her, or would be uncomfortable with the contact after so many years, but I sent it. Her response: “You made me cry. I remember him, and so appreciate knowing he’s done so well.”

    The bottom line is, as usual, as parents, we do the best we can. Some are homeruns, some are strikes… but we try!

  41. says

    I taught special education students (3-18 year-olds) and Master’s Level students for 15 years. I must admit that the gift cards were always a favorite. I really enjoyed receiving gifts that I could use for myself. As teachers, many of us spend quite a bit of our own money on supplies (or have them donated by parents). So, it is nice to receive something that can be used outside the professional environment. One year, a mother brought me a pink box of baked goods wrapped with a bow! I loved it!!! I received hand-knit scarves, homemade tamales, and MANY personal notes and pictures from students and parents. The notes and pictures were by far my favorite.

    This year, I am trying to find a gift for each of my 13-year old’s junior high school teachers. They have been awesome! I just received a LIFE magazine from the week that my son’s US History teacher was born. It was $4.99 online! I think he will be thrilled!


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