Teachers are probably the closest things to superheroes many of us will encounter, but for whatever reason, gaining the right gifts to express appreciation for them can be a considerable challenge. We found out what teachers want from students and parents…and what they don’t. These 18 teacher-approved today have the personal and working elements teachers of all grade levels love. The best part? It’s effortless to make your teacher’s day (or year), no matter your budget.
Save the apples for your lunch and surprise your teacher with one of these thoughtful gifts instead.
- The pencil sharpener that all the teachers are talking about
Seriously, teachers are all about this pencil sharpener that was created by a teacher with the sole purpose of eliminating every teacher’s number one irritation: noisy pencil sharpeners. These colorful bad boys are quick, quiet, and not falling off the wall by the classroom door.
- Everyone loves a good book.
Perhaps your teacher introduced you to an author who just released a new book, or maybe you read a story that reminded you of something your teacher said in class. Books can be great gifts for teachers because there are tons of opportunities to make them personal.
- Personalized pencils
Nothing is worse than having your pencils stolen. Help your teacher keep remains of their supplies with personalized school supplies, like these customized pencils.
When asked what their ideal gifts are, teachers commonly place gift cards near the top, especially for places nearby so they can enjoy some quality off-campus time. Think coffee workshops, restaurants or movie vouchers.
- Their go-to grading tool, but better
Teachers spend a considerable amount of their time grading assignments, so giving them something to help with that process can be a great gift.
- A bottle of sweet wine
It’s mild and sure to get used while your teacher unwinds at home after class. We suggest that parents drop this gift off.
- A new lanyard
A thoughtful gift to help your teacher keep their ID, classroom key, and other needs in one spot.
- School supplies
Teachers usually pay out of pocket for the supplies in their classrooms, which can add up speedily. Pencils, pens, dry erase markers, coloring supplies, disinfecting wipes, and tissues are used daily, so whenever teachers get a new stock of any classroom supplies, it’s a big help.
- A movie night
Treat your teacher to a night at the movies. A gift certificate or a couple of notes and concession vouchers is a fun gift that gives teachers an easy way to spend some time with a friend or loved one.
- Sponsorship or donation to a cause close to their hearts
Teachers tend to work within limited space and may feel guilty when a gift obligation be given away because they don’t have room to keep it. Distributing in their name to a cause they support is a thoughtful gift that doesn’t take up any space.
- A sturdy, personalized tote purse
Teachers have a lot to haul to and from school. This gift is a simple pose that shows you pay attention and care for your teacher, and it won’t go unappreciated.
- A well-thought gift basket
When done well, gift baskets can be a huge hit and a lot of fun for students and fathers who are more DIY-oriented. The key is to make the basket useful and geared toward the teacher’s interests. Teachers are pragmatic folks, and if the basket is more style than substance, its contents will probably still be appreciated, but not necessarily used.
- Something fun to add to their collection
Does your math teacher always work Star Wars characters into word queries? Or maybe your teacher is a Volkswagen fan and has a row of plaything cars on their desk. Teachers are people, too, with lives and interests that extend beyond the classroom.
- A keepsake or memory book
Whether it’s a scrapbook-style binder loaded with quotes, pictures, thoughts, and notes or a blank book that the teacher can keep all the doodles and letters they receive from students over the years, teachers will cherish something like this forever.
- A handmade plaque or decoration for the classroom
This is added fun idea for the DIY-minded. As with many of the other provisions in this list, the key to this is personalization.
- Your time
This provision doesn’t cost anything, but teachers highly value it. An excellent way to display appreciation is to hang out after class or at the end of the school year to help make or clean the classroom
- Something that reflects a class memory
This kind of gift can take different forms, like a note, a doodle or some knick-knack. If it is meaningful and will remind your teacher of a specific, decisive moment in class, it will be valued. Try a class picture with each students’ signature.
- A letter or card.
By far, this is the best gift a student can give a teacher. Teachers live to see their students’ growth and growth, and the thing they treasure the most is a handwritten letter from a student thanking them and signing them know that they made a difference. While meals get eaten, candles burn down, and mugs get donated, the gratification and confirmation that comes from knowing they’ve made a difference in the lives of their students stay with teachers forever. Pair this with the keepsake book and get the whole class in on letter-writing for a gift that will most definitely be cherished by your teacher perpetually.