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Three dozen teachers can’t be wrong! That’s how many teachers I asked. “What is the best teacher gift you ever received? Or wished that you had received?”

Believe it or not, most teachers would prefer to receive a gift card. While it’s definitely not the most creative teacher gift, it is probably the most practical.

In fact, twenty of the teachers I asked mentioned gift cards. Eight teachers said that they prefer Amazon gifts cards. And six specifically mentioned Starbucks.

And so many teachers just want school supplies for a gift!

School Supplies For Teachers

School supplies, teaching supplies, classroom supplies, office supplies – no matter how they chose to describe it, the teachers that I asked just plain love receiving supplies as gifts!

Forget about stealing supplies from the office to take home. For teachers, it’s just the opposite. They have to purchase supplies to bring to work!

As a parent that has to buy school supplies for you own children every year, you might think that teachers and students have all the supplies they need. However, that’s just not the case. 28% of the teachers that I asked would love to receive supplies as a gift.

Here are some of the items specifically mentioned by the teachers I interviewed for this post:

I teach elementary- amazon, target, and Starbucks gift cards are wonderful. A sweet note with classroom supplies (copy paper, colored paper, tape, bright colored pens, etc) are my favorite non gift card gifts. Sad to say- but we usually don’t have the classroom supplies we need so I always appreciate that over a “knickknack” type item! Cassie Pierce

Best Gift Cards For Teachers

Overwhelmingly, teachers want gift cards!

My own mom really dislikes giving gift cards because it just seems so impersonal.

But if you were brought up the same way I was, you don’t need to worry about buying gift cards for teachers. They will love you for it.

As one teacher told me, they can apply it towards a want or a need.

Here’s a list of the best gift cards for teachers:

  • Amazon (available online here)
  • Starbucks (available online here)
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Teachers Pay Teachers (available online here)
  • Office Depot or Staples
Definitely can’t go wrong with gift cards. Coffee shops are always my favorite and fellow teachers agree. Teachers always have a coffee in hand for those early meetings before school starts! Second would be Target– teachers eat up the dollar spot! Brittany Danielle

The Savvy Couple

Group Gift Ideas For Teachers

A group gift is a great idea if you want to do something special that will create a long-lasting memory for a teacher. And for older students, it’s even something that they can do on their own.

Putting together a photo book or a even just a group photo in a cute frame is something that any teacher would cherish.

Graphic arts teacher here! I love when the students do a group gift. It’s special knowing that they went out of their way to work together. A group photo in a signed frame, one year they put our class photo on a mug which I use on my desk. Jamie Wheeler

Give A Teacher The Gift Of Your Time

Teachers are a busy bunch! Not only do they teach your kids all day, but a lot of teachers have kids of their own. Anything that you can do to help a teacher and save them time is always appreciated.

At my kids’ school, teachers are over the moon when parents volunteer to make copies. Or volunteer for lunch duty so they can get a break.

If you have a skill or talent that you can gift to a teacher, put it to good use! Volunteer to decorate a bulletin board or create printable worksheets that can be used in the classroom.

If you’re a skilled photographer or even an amateur wanting to sharpen your skills, give the gift of your time and shoot individual or family portraits for your favorite teacher. With digital photography, you wouldn’t even need spend a lot of money. Simply gift the digital images and they could print their favorites images.

If you really want to give a physical gift as well, you could always pair the gift of the digital images up with a cute picture frame set like this one.

Hmmmmm, that’s a great question! I had a parent who was a photographer that did family pictures for me. Rachel Gromala Lawson

If you enjoy DIY projects, you could also put together a darling set yourself, just by picking the frames up at garage sales or estate sales or thrift shops and painting them in your child’s teacher’s favorite colors.

Another super cool idea would be to come photograph the teacher, in her classroom and with her students, and to put together a memory book for her.

The teachers at my kids’ elementary school put together these elaborate end-of-year slideshows for the parents with music and hundreds of pictures featuring our kids and for the most part, they aren’t even in the slide show themselves because they took all the pictures.

And they somehow manage to remember to take all these pictures while teaching our kids, being responsible for them, answering hundreds of questions, making sure they get food, bio breaks and exercise, while at the same time making sure they don’t get hurt and are returned to us safely and a little bit smarter at the end of every school day.

I get tired just thinking about it!

They do this day in and day out, for seven hours every day.

The other day my son told me that his English teacher is strict. This same teacher told me that she has 27 kids in his particular class and 17 of them are boys! I sometimes can’t even keep up with my three, much less a classroom full. I am continually amazed by teachers.

I think they deserve a memory book with pictures they are in. Or at least take some pictures of them for the slide show. Am I right?

Food Gifts for Teachers (And How To Do THEM The Right Way)

If you’re a working mom, you know how precious every waking moment is. And while you can’t literally give a teacher more time in their day, you can give a gift that frees up valuable time to do something other than cook dinner. Give a teacher a restaurant gift card and she can treat herself or her family to dinner out after a long day teaching your kid. Bonus: she won’t have to wash dishes either.

$200 to a local restaurant! But the ones that were also so meaningful were the ones where kids wrote me super meaningful cards. Melissa Camilleri Anicich

I like gift cards especially for dinner since we work long hours… I also like it when someone offers to bring me lunch when they bring their own child lunch. It’s a thoughtful gesture. Amy Smith Scott

If you’re looking you’re looking for a beginning of the year gift, a classroom survival box be super appreciated by your child’s new teacher. Grab a plastic tub or storage box and fill it up with all those little things that a teacher might need during the course of the school day but not have on hand. Fill the tub with extra things to have on hand for the classroom, like:

  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Band-aids
  • Push pins
  • Extra school supplies

I’m sure that teachers can never have enough extra pencils and dry erase markers. When you’re doing your own back-to school shopping for your kids, look for the deeply discounted items like markers, colored pencils and so forth and throw those in the tub too. Want to take this gift up a notch? Fill a smaller (and cuter!) storage container with items especially for the teacher, like:

  •  Gum
  • Chapstick
  • Safety pins
  • Cough drops
  • A lint roller
  • Tylenol
  • Extra gloves

Plus all those other little things that your child’s teacher will inevitably need at some point during the school year. The dollar spot at Target or Dollar Tree can be a great place to stock up on some of these essentials without breaking the bank.

Best Beginning of the year gift ever… a survival box. It was a plastic tub containing: Tylenol, deodorant, chapstick, cough drops, lint roller, gum, chocolate, vitamin c packs, hand warmers… basically everything you might need, but don’t have at school. It was great. Other gifts…restaurant gift cards, or a date night gift. It had restaurant gift cards and movie gift cards. Alison Martin Healey

Teachers Deserve More

It’s easy to say teachers deserve higher pay, but that’s easier said than done. While that may be totally true, what I think is that teachers deserve to be pampered. Who doesn’t like to be pampered? I know I do! And you can bet that teachers do too. If you can afford it, a spa gift certificate or a gift certificate for a mani/pedi, facial or massage is a no brainer kind of gift. After being on their feet all day, every day, teaching and loving on our kids, I can’t think of anyone that deserves a little pampering more than a teacher.

Any pampering types of gifts. Facial, massage, mani/pedi. Those are treats teachers don’t often spend their own money on.– Holly Cowan-Haynes Holly Cowan-Haynes

Special Gifts for Special Teachers

If you’re looking for gifts for fine arts teachers (or “specials”, as they’re called at my kids’ school), it may be that you can find inspiration in the subject being taught.

  • A metronome for your piano teacher
  • A pitch pipe for your choir teacher
  • A new whistle and lanyard for your P.E. teacher or coach
  • Paint brushes and paint your art teacher

If you know that the teacher’s personal interests and hobbies are the similar to what they teach, you could take the same idea but make it a bit more personal. Does your child’s choir teacher also compose music? Perhaps she would appreciate blank sheet music paper or a songwriting journal . Side note: unbeknownst to me at the time, my junior high choir teacher, Emily Crocker , was actually a composer on the side. I never would have thought to give her music paper, but in hindsight, that would have been a perfect teacher gift for her.

While you’re at it, don’t forget these teachers and educators!

  • P.E. teacher or coach
  • Music teacher
  • Art teacher
  • Principals
  • Sunday school teacher
I’m a Guitar Teacher.. I don’t know if that qualifies ? Well for me… my students have given me everything from a seasonal craft beer 12 pack to reams of music paper, mechanical pencils,those little battery chargers for phones etc.. inexpensive but thoughtful. Craig Smith

Life in 12 Keys

Best Gifts For Teachers That Keep On Giving

Do you subscribe to any subscription boxes like GlossyBox or Stitch Fix? A subscription box is a great idea for a teacher gift. Not only that, if you ordered one at the beginning of the year, you would be covered for a beginning of the year teacher gift, a Christmas gift and an end school year gift and every month in between.

If you want to give your kid’s teacher a gift for the classroom, The Teacher’s Crate is an awesome teacher and classroom oriented subscription box.

Want to pamper your favorite teacher? Pampered Teacher offers a subscription box curated by teachers, for teachers.

They offer monthly subscriptions and one-time boxes. They also offer a one-time lite version of this box with four to five carefully chosen items including fashion, personal care, classroom and snack items.

Coffee Gifts for Teachers

17% of the teachers I interviewed specifically mentioned Starbucks gift cards. Is it any wonder? At about $5 a pop, Starbucks is one of those guilty pleasures that we all love, but feel guilty about spending money on.

I personally go back and forth between stopping for a daily skinny vanilla latte on my way to work and limiting them to once a week or less, simply due to how crazy expensive they are! My sister gave me a $25 Starbucks gift card for Christmas once and I know I appreciated it every time the barista put a free latte in my hand!

Here are some reasons that Starbucks gift cards are awesome gifts for teachers:

  • It’s a personal gift, rather than a classroom or household gift.
  • Coffee won’t clutter up your kid’s teacher’s classroom or house.
  • Coffee is consumed/used up.

If you’re not stopping by Starbucks to grab your own coffee, you can get Starbucks gift cards on Amazon . And some options are even Prime eligible.

Coffee Gifts for Teachers

17% of the teachers I interviewed specifically mentioned Starbucks gift cards. Is it any wonder? At about $5 a pop, Starbucks is one of those guilty pleasures that we all love, but feel guilty about spending money on.

I personally go back and forth between stopping for a daily skinny vanilla latte on my way to work and limiting them to once a week or less, simply due to how crazy expensive they are! My sister gave me a $25 Starbucks gift card for Christmas once and I know I appreciated it every time the barista put a free latte in my hand!

Here are some reasons that Starbucks gift cards are awesome gifts for teachers:

  • It’s a personal gift, rather than a classroom or household gift.
  • Coffee won’t clutter up your kid’s teacher’s classroom or house.
  • Coffee is consumed/used up.

If you’re not stopping by Starbucks to grab your own coffee, you can get Starbucks gift cards on Amazon . Some options are even eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime.

I taught high school math for years. I personally really liked them bringing me Mountain Dew, also enjoyed Starbucks gift cards. But really the best gifts are thank you notes from former students who were in college and appreciated what and how I’d taught them. Kelly Howarth

While we’re on the subject of coffee gifts, your child’s teacher might love a coffee subscription, like one of these:

Coffee Mugs for Teachers

The subject of coffee mugs deserves an entire section of its own in this post…

I feel 99.9% certain that teachers probably get a dozen coffee mugs per year. Even though we should all realize by now what a lame gift that really is. I’m also pretty sure they don’t want another one, no matter how cute it is.

And just think about it…

When was the last time that you went out and bought a dozen mismatched coffee mugs? Must less went out and bought twelve more a year later.

For me, the answer is “never.” I’m sure your kid’s teacher doesn’t need a dozen mismatched coffee mugs either.

Unless, of course, your kid’s teacher is trying to break the world’s record for the largest collection of mugs.

If you feel like you just have to give a coffee mug, consider a travel mug (make sure it’s the type that fits in a car cup holder) or a refillable Starbucks coffee cup or insulated tumbler instead. Several teachers I talked to do like those.

Have your heart set on giving a coffee mug? Well, if you must…

These cute sets include a coffee mug for “before school” and a matching wine glass for “after school.”

[The best gifts I ever received were] gift cards, hand sanitizer, timers, books, school supplies, and a set of one coffe mug that says “before school” and one wine glass that says “after school.” Juli Kittrell

Just in case you only had time to scan this post, here’s a cheat sheet for you, including the best and most popular gift for teachers (according to actual teachers and former teachers), as well as what not to give teachers!
Z

BEST GIFT IDEAS FOR TEACHERS

  • Gift cards
  • School supplies
  • Gifts that can be used up
  • Personalized gifts, like stationery or note pads
  • Edibles, like chocolate
Z

MOST POPULAR GIFTS FOR TEACHERS

  • Starbucks gift cards
  • Amazon gift cards
  • School supplies
Q

WHAT NOT TO GIVE TEACHERS

  • Trinkets that will clutter the teacher’s classroom or house
  • Scented gifts, like candles or hand lotion. Instead, go with a Bath and Body gift card.
  • Coffee mugs!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you're having an awesome day!

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ManiThanks

FREE printable gift tags!
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