Gifts Teachers Actually Want
Many teachers are lucky enough to get lots of gifts from students throughout the year. Whether it's a holiday gift, a teacher appreciation gift, or an end-of-the-year gift, teachers can wind up with a very generous pile of things stuffed into their desk drawers.
That said, these aren't always things that we necessarily want or find useful.
As a minimalist and definitely not a sentimental type, I don't like hanging on to a bunch of things I don't need just because they were gifts. In an effort to help out all the other teachers out there, here is my list of top wish list items for families who want to get me a small teacher gift.
1) Student Note/Artwork
Teachers love getting thoughtful gifts from students that actually take time and effort. Coming back to the room after indoor recess to find 40 new coloring pages on your desk is one thing. But a heartfelt note, or a personalized piece of art is a prized gift. I like taking pictures of these items, or even keeping some of them from year to year. I know other teachers struggle to parse down student gifts, but I'm pretty minimalist. I highly recommend if you go this route to give something flat that can be saved in a file folder.
2) Pre-packaged Snacks
Teachers all have their vices, but we don't necessarily want every baked good that ever passed through your kitchen. Frankly, pre-packaged foods are the gold standard for small gift giving. We've all had that student who showed up with a smushed, strangely colored muffin. (Erm...thank you!?) What we do want, though, is our favorite candy bar, soda, or chips. These are perfect treats to pull out of your desk drawer after school is out! Students generally know the favorite vices of their teachers - so just ask!
3) Small Gift Cards
Gift cards are amazing (and very generous) gifts, but it depends where they're from. As a non-coffee drinker, I have gotten so many gift cards to coffee places. I never know what to do with them. I usually regift them to my coffee-loving friends, but I know that isn't what my students had hoped I'd do with their gift. Gift cards to places where teachers have more variety are better, for instance a office supply or craft store or a restaurant.
4) Classroom Supplies
Teachers all spend money out of their own wallet for classroom supplies. There are a few hot items that nearly every teacher needs throughout the year. Some teachers' lists will be slightly different from mine, but I would say every year I've taught I'm always running out of dry erase markers, pencils, chart paper, facial tissue, and hand sanitizer. In addition, I can never get enough fun writing utensils and craft supplies. If you aren't sure what your child's classroom teacher needs, I refer you back to the gift card idea, or just ask!
Teachers are all book lovers and want to keep the best possible classroom library in their room. We love picture books we can read aloud for class and we want to keep high interest books in our classroom library for students. If your child loves a book, it's likely others in the class would like it too.
If your child's school uses Scholastic Book Clubs, every time you make a purchase you're contributing points and books to your child's teacher and classroom. Some schools will also put out "wish lists" during book fair time with teachers adding books to their list based on what they need or want for their rooms. I can promise that all teachers appreciate book gifts!
Before we go, let's talk a moment about what NOT to give. Teachers do not want more coffee mugs, lotion, decor items, jewelry, candles, etc. Please, no! In general these items accumulate too quickly for the space teachers have. (No teacher needs five coffee mugs at school.) These just won't get used or loved the same as the gifts I mentioned above.
Teachers are so appreciative of the families that share gifts throughout the year, but save yourself some money and stress, and get something you're child's teacher is sure to love!
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