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 top list for small teacher gifts.
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 or displayed on or inside a cabinet in the classroom.
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. Small gift cards to places where teachers have the most variety are best, for instance an 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!
Teachers are so appreciative of the families that share gifts throughout the year, but save yourself some money and stress, and get something your child's teacher is sure to love!
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