Teacher Gifts – Dos and Don’ts

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

Teachers, teacher assistants and school staff often spend as much time with children as their parents.

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5 – 10, is the chance to show educators how much their patience, care and lessons mean to students and parents.

There are a lot of great ideas out there to celebrate our devoted educators. Here are a few of the best gift ideas for your favorite educators.

Gold Star Gifts

1. Gift Card 

To some, a gift card can seem impersonal or a last-minute gift. However, many teachers appreciate the cards’ flexibility so they may select something for themselves or their classroom.

Buy a few from different vendors – coffee shops, arts and crafts stores and even restaurants – and send them with a personalized note a few times during the week or on that Tuesday (National Teacher Day).

2. Plants/Flowers

Flowers brighten virtually everyone’s day. Fresh-cut flowers are a great adornment for the teacher to take home or keep in the lounge for everyone to enjoy. Try to remember a vase or holder so the flowers can be immediately enjoyed.

If buying a plant, limit your choices to those that require little or no maintenance. Not everyone has a green thumb, so plants that do well when neglected by busy schedules, like aloe, jade and snake plants, are the best options for dedicated teachers.

3. Classroom Supplies/Wishlist Items

With so many teachers and educators dipping into their own wallets to buy supplies and extras for the classroom, it’s always welcomed when a parent contributes items or money toward those supplies.

Ask your teachers, assistants, administrators or parent/teacher organization leaders if the school has a Wish List of items needed at your child’s grade level or for the use of all students (think gym or playground equipment).

Consider volunteering in the classroom, sponsoring an event or even bringing in a class snack or treat day (with allergies considered).

Common Gift Flops

Yes, it’s the thought that counts. Every acknowledgement of thanks is appreciated, however, sometimes, a simple thank you card would be better than these gift giving faux pas.

1. Perfume or Makeup

Scents and cosmetics are extremely personal.

Not everyone appreciates the same perfumes or color pallets, no matter the price tag. Plus, with natural pH that differs from person to person, perfumes and colognes often vary depending on who wears them.

An exception to these would be gift card to get their makeup done or to a store that sells perfumes that you believe your favorite educators would enjoy.

2. Number One/Best Teacher Knick-Knacks

It may be true that your teacher is the best in the world. But, as years go on, there is only so much room for World’s Best Teacher coffee mugs and #1 Teacher holiday ornaments or desk décor.

Tell them how amazing they are in a note, not a novelty gift.

Handmade gifts are charming and meaningful for educators. It showcases creativity and sentiment. Let your kids get creative in making a thank you card, but keep the gift or token of thanks as something that can be used to pamper or help the educator in their work.

3. Clothing 

There are some limits to how personal gifts for your children’s teacher should be. Even if you are very close to your gift recipient, a gift card to a specific store is likely more appreciated than an item of clothing.

A few exceptions that could be acceptable; a pair of fuzzy socks or a reusable tote bag.

About National Teacher Day and Week

The National Education Association defines National Teacher Day “as a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.”

Its history dates back to 1953 with Eleanor Roosevelt’s effort to make March 7th the official day we honor educators. It was changed to a full week in May by the National PTA in 1985.


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