With four school-aged children, I interact with a lot of teachers. My kids have had some amazing teachers. They’ve also had some that I don’t adore, but I still have a profound respect for all teachers, even those I don’t always see eye-to-eye with. That’s because no matter how they perform their job, teaching requires certain levels of sacrifice, selflessness, and kindness that you don’t find abundantly in many other fields. They are the primary influencers in our children’s lives for a large part of each day and most of them take that responsibility very seriously. Because I appreciate the importance of their presence in my children’s lives, I look forward to Teacher Appreciation Week each year and the opportunity to share my gratitude with these amazing individuals who help shape the people my children will grow up to be.
I want my gift to somehow capture how grateful I am without breaking our household budget in the process. Before I show you some of the clever teacher appreciation gift ideas I’ve found on other blogs, I must share the gift ideas teachers have told me they appreciate the most.
Gift Cards – Teachers, in general, do not make big bucks. They do however, spend a lot of their own hard-earned cash on their students. Because of budget cuts in schools, many teachers provide a lot of their own classroom supplies. They also splurge on items throughout the year for class parties or holiday events. If you know your child’s teacher has a favorite restaurant or store, a gift card is always very much appreciated.
Handwritten Notes – No one chooses to be a teacher because of all the cool gifts they think they’ll receive. What matters more to all of them is something money can’t buy–to know they have made a difference in someone’s life. You can brighten a teacher’s life more with a few sincere words of gratitude than any gift you can find in a store.
Consumables – Let’s face it, teachers don’t have any more storage room than we do so where do you expect them to put years’ worth of mugs, trinkets, and mementos from all of their students? For this reason, they appreciate gifts that are things they can use immediately and not have to make room for or find a place to store. Classroom supplies, food, and for some teachers, candles or hand soap/lotion are gifts they can put to good use. Be wary of gifting homemade food gifts though. Some teachers are wary of these types of gifts, especially if they have food sensitivities.
With those ideas in mind, I went looking for gift ideas that would help me honor what teachers really want but with an extra dose of cute or clever to make the gift memorable. Here are my favorites from around the blogosphere.
Gift Card Holders
If you’re a regular here, you know as a general rule I avoid giving gift cards because I think it’s the gift equivalent of saying, “I feel obligated to give you a gift even though I don’t really know you.” However, since so many teachers have told me they really WANT gift cards, how do I honor their wishes without feeling like I’m not being thoughtful enough? Deliver the gift card in a super adorable gift card holder, of course!
Clearly, I have a thing for superheroes (note the blog name and my mascot). So, I obviously flipped for these Super Hero printables from 100 Directions. Teacher are super heroes so these are perfect for them.
Second Chance to Dream has you covered for all of the popular teacher gift cards from coffee shops to book stores with her Free Printable Gift Card Holders.
Teachers always need pencils since the ones they keep in class often walk away or are simply, well used. Rather than sticking a bow on a box of pencils though, why not package them in this adorable DIY Pencil Holder from Mama of 3 Munchkins?
You could also make the gift out of the pencils themselves. I’ve seen other pencil vases before, but I love this one from Saving Said Simply because the pencils are removeable (and therefore useable!).
Teachers are also always jotting down notes–reminders for students, changes to lesson plans, notes for a substitute. Up the cute-factor of a standard memo pad with this “You’re One in a Melon” Note Cube idea from Organized 31.
If your child’s teacher is more of a Post-It note person, you might opt instead for this DIY Post-It Note holder from My Mommy World.
When I volunteered in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom, her teacher used binder clips for everything–as bookmarks, to hold project pieces together, to hold posters up on the easel, etc. You can dress up these much-needed classroom staples with this easy DIY Metal Clip Makeover tutorial from Ribbons & Glue.
You can make the metal clip gift even better by including them in this super cute Magnetic Desk Caddie from My Very Educated Mother.
Of course, you can gather up several different classroom supplies and just package them in a super adorable way. That’s exactly what Crafting in the Rain did when she found these adorable Paper Backpacks (visit her site to find out where you can get them).
Teachers use a lot more than paper and pencils in class. In addition to traditional school supplies, teachers also purchase a lot of cleaning supplies to keep their classrooms clean and germ-free. As we all know, the cost of cleaning up after several children can be pretty high. This Classroom Cleaning Supply Basket from the Suburban Mom makes a great gift and she even provides a free printable gift tag to make the gift even more special.
I’m a sucker for a good pun. I don’t think puns are the lowest form of humor. I think they are downright clever! As it turns out, lots of food items lend themselves nicely to puns and several creative bloggers have made good use of them for gift ideas.
For example, check out this Riesens Gift Idea from One Creative Mommy. If you head over to her site to get the details, you can also download the printable for free.
Or how about this Mighty Marvelous gift? Again, with free printable gift tags!
And just because I like to say “Oh Snap!” I really like this Tea-riffic Teacher gift idea from Mission to Save.
Teachers are talking with people all day and usually have very few spare minutes to themselves, let alone to dash off and brush their teeth before the parent teacher conference right after school. Give your child’s teacher an emergency breath-saving supply of gum along with a note to make her smile with this Give Extra Thanks gift idea from Kid Things.
The Neighborhood Moms have come up with several Punny Teacher Appreciation Gift Tags like this one.
If you just aren’t sold on the guidelines I provided at the beginning of this article and really want to make a gift that your child’s teacher will cherish for years to come, here are my favorites that even though they don’t abide by the rules above, are too darling to not be loved by whoever receives them.
For example, what teacher wouldn’t be tickled to receive this beautiful Etched Glass Water Bottle (instructions courtesy of Creative Green Living)?
And this Succulent Garden from DIY Inspired would brighten up any classroom.
Teachers are always toting homework assignments to and from work, along with lesson plans, classroom supplies, and school reports. I’m sure every teacher would make good use of a handmade Teacher Tote Bag and Crafty Cupboard walks you through the process of how to make one.
I’m also pretty sure that any teacher would make room in their classroom for this creative Ruler Frame Chalkboard from Thinking Closet that can be used for everything from listing the current day’s date or making note of special events.
Which one is your favorite? I’m an office supply geek so I’m in love with all of those gifts, but if I were a teacher, I’d love to receive any of these! If you have your own ideas that I haven’t listed above, please share them in the comments. I have over a decade more of teacher gift giving to do so I’m always looking for more ideas!