Feels kinda self-serving being a teacher and doing a post on teacher gifts, but today I’m coming at this from a parent’s perspective. This past week I’ve been brainstorming teacher gift ideas to thank my boys’ AMAZING teachers for everything they’ve done this year. But I am applying my 20+ years of teaching — and being around teachers — to this task.
Here are some ideas and tips for selecting the perfect thank-you gift for your kiddos’ awesome teachers.
1. You don’t have to give a gift.
First things first, while all teachers do appreciate gifts from students, they are definitely NOT expected. At the high school level, not that many kids give their teachers gifts anymore. It’s hard because you have to decide whether to give gifts to ALL of their teachers (if you do, go small!) or just a few special ones. Some of the best “gifts” I’ve received over the years are cards with handwritten notes from students telling me how I’ve helped them and what they have enjoyed about having me as a teacher.
2. Gift cards are always a good idea.
If you do decide to give gifts, gift cards are a quick and simple idea that are always appreciated. Just like regular people, teachers do eat out, shop, and go to movies (even if your kids don’t believe it, we do human things too!). Unless you’re sure about the teacher’s interests, though, it’s best to stick with a gift card to someplace safe like Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Office supply stores are also a good choice. Stick the gift card in an envelope with a picture or handwritten note from your child and you’ve got a winner.
3. Help the teacher relax.
Relaxation-themed gifts are always nice, too. I’ve gotten gift certificates to spas, hand lotion, essential oils, bath oils and fizzies, and even slippers from students before. Other gifts along these lines could be coffee/tea mugs and water bottles. I’ve seen even gifts that involve a bottle of wine and a note that says, “Our child might be the reason you drink, so enjoy this bottle on us.” I don’t actually like wine myself, but I know teachers who do and if you knew the teacher well enough, something like this might be fun.
4. Go the DIY route.
If you have the time and inclination, DIY gifts are really special for teachers to receive. I have gotten a lot of DIY gifts over the years (always a teacher gift-giving “do”) and I personally love this type of gift. Examples include potted plants, hand-picked flowers from the yard, home-baked goodies, various gift baskets (gardening, cooking, office supplies, etc.), and paintings or drawings from students. If you’ve been on Pinterest lately, there are about a million cool DIY teacher appreciation gifts you can make complete with clever (often rhyming) printable tags.
Check out some of these great ideas from Pretty Handy Girl’s Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea Series.
5. Speaking of plants, most teachers love ’em.
Plants are inexpensive and you can put them into just about any type of container (or leave them in the original one from the garden center). I love it when I get a petunia in a little pot or bowl that a student has made out of clay or a flower pot or jar they’ve painted themselves. Once I got a little succulent plant in a pretty teacup. It was adorable!
Air plants are pretty and require almost no maintenance, so they’re great for busy teachers. These cuties (below) by Swoon Studio would be super-easy to put together, even for multiple teachers, bus drivers, and coaches.
This year my high schooler didn’t want to give gifts to his teachers and I said that was okay. Instead, he’s going to stop by each teacher’s classroom and personally thank them for teaching him. He did this last year, too, and it was very well received.
My first grader’s teacher will be getting this (below — hope she’s not reading this today!), probably with some sort of air plant or maybe a few (small-scale) fresh flowers like pansies or a cyclamen tucked in as well. He’s not giving it to her until later in May, so I will wait to add that little touch until a few days before he gives it to her.
It’s a ceramic sea urchin type dish/planter with two types of DoTerra essential oils (Citrus Bliss for a mood boost and stress relief, and Wild Orange for more mood-boosting and energizing), DoTerra Citrus Bliss hand lotion (smells heavenly!), and some of the DIY Mood-Boosting Shower Bombs my son and I made. Don’t you think this will look pretty with some bright fresh flowers tucked in?
Are you planning on giving end-of-the-year gifts for your kids’ teachers? Or if you’re a teacher, what are some of the most special gifts you’ve received from students?