Thursday, June 19, 2014

Teacher Gifts: The easiest guide in the world

I'm not sure when giving teacher's gifts at Christmas and the end of the year became the norm rather than an over the top gesture, but it seems like, since I started teaching, most of my students have given me gifts. Not that I mind... I love presents (ask Drew) and it's REALLY nice to be acknowledged and appreciated for my work. Not necessary, but a really nice gesture.

That said, some gifts aren't worth the money families spent on it. I can't tell you how many awful gifts I've gotten (or heard about other teachers getting). So here's my super simple guide to getting your child's teacher a gift they will actually enjoy (that is if you're going to, obviously this is not required).

1. If it says "teacher" on it- leave it on the shelf

I can't tell you how many ornaments, knick nacks, or other random crap I have that say "#1 Teacher", "A+ Teacher" and the like. Thanks, but no thanks. You would never give a doctor a "Dr. Awesome" sign. Chances are whatever "teacher" item you're looking at- your child's teacher has already collected 10 and thrown away 20 more.

2. If you wouldn't want it in your house, don't try to put it in mine

Some people just give junk. Pure and simple. Honestly think about whether you'd be embarrassed to give it to me yourself. Yes? Then don't send it with your kid.

3. Pinterest is full of lies, I don't want your craft project

Sure, they're cute. But I can handle only so many cute craft projects in my classroom. See #1. Pinterest has given you this false sense that you need to go over the top to thank a teacher. So not true. The worst part is that often these items have to be thrown away as a teacher moves classroom or packs up their things for the summer. They're cute, and we appreciate the thought and work that goes into them, but they're not a gift that's going to last.

4. Make it personal

The best gifts I get are ones that are meaningful or show that a kid really knows me. Case in point? This year I got a basket from a kid that REALLY knows me. I'm talking Reeses' Peanut Butter cups, Sour Patch Kids and an adorable pink breast cancer water tumbler and some school supplies that were pink, because she knows I love pink. Another kid made a slideshow of pictures from the year. I may have cried watching it. Bonus points for any (usable) gift that's monogrammed with my name on it. In the past I've gotten an L.L. Bean tote with my name on it, an engraved pen and a pencil-shaped ornament with my name on it. I'm a narcissist; if it's got my name on it, I'm a fan. 

5. Make it meaningful

Want to know the best teacher gift ever? A sincere note from a student and/or their parent thanking me for my hard work. This is especially meaningful from a student that I have worked particularly hard with or from a kid who isn't always appreciative. These are note that I keep for years and years. Notes that I put in my "yay me" folder- a folder I reach for on rough days when I need reminding that what I do makes a difference. 

6. If all else fails, gift cards are the

I've never met a teacher that didn't love a gift card. Whether it's a restaurant they love, a coffee shop near school, or even just Target, a gift card just works. My favs are my Dunkin Donuts cards because it means I can get my iced tea in the morning without having to scrounge through my change bin or put it on my credit card. 


  1. This is actually really helpful. I totally agree with you, I think people get caught up in twee Pinterest ideas and don't think about what they would do with this item if they received it themselves.

  2. My mom has been a preschool teacher for 20 years and has gotten a lot of good and bad gifts. She does love handmade things like the adorable bags some of her mom's have made or signs for her classroom door, but she has had her fair share of pencil ornaments and glass apples as well. I agree, gift cards are always good!


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