“The exception to [not giving large gifts] though, is for new teachers. These young pups make crap for money and the PTA (bless their hearts) can’t possibly provide a big enough classroom budget for them to buy all the supplies and ”extras” (that’s sarcasm) they need. So if you want to give your teacher a valuable gift, ask her/him what s/he really needs for the classroom and spring for it. I’m talking heavy duty pencil sharpeners, gift certificate to STAR Teacher’s supply on San Pablo Ave., art supplies from East Bay Depot or gift card to an art store, a local book store (Pegasus and Black Oak being my favorites). Things like this become theirs, not the school’s, and they can bring them from grade to grade, school to school, as they will have to do until they have enough seniority to stay somewhere for a while.” ~Teacher in California
So that’s the upshot — be as generous as you can to the new teachers!!! An Old Teacher Who Once Was New
New teachers might appreciate a different kind of gift than experienced veterans. Of course this varies from teacher to teacher, but at risk of over-generalizing, new teachers tend to be more interested in developing their careers, and may be more likely to keep homemade gifts than more experienced teachers.
Of course new teachers are also generally younger, and that will affect their interests. For example, a younger teacher might prefer a trip to the spa, a unique experience, and anything that will help them in their professional development (books, supplies, etc.). On the other hand, those home-baked brownies might be less welcome for the young teacher on a diet, and that “#1 Teacher” broach — well, she probably won’t even know how to wear it.
Most importantly, keep in mind the advice I gave on choosing a gift for teachers — the best gifts combine something personal and thoughtful, like a handmade card, a heartfelt note, a craft made by your child, etc. with something practical and useful, like gift cards, school supplies, or other consumables. Whether a gift for new teachers or old, following this recipe will ensure your gift is appreciated and cherished.
If you are a new teacher, please take this opportunity to tell us what gifts you would like to receive. You can leave a comment in the box below, and I’ll make sure to add your comments to the site, where it can benefit new teachers everywhere. Thank you!
A majority of teachers are female, so I feel like I would be remiss writing a blog of Christmas gifts for teachers without including a page of gift ideas for female teachers. But the truth is that most of the gifts on this site are appropriate for women — even the ones I included on our page of gifts for male teachers (although the converse is not true, hence the inclusion of a separate page for male teachers).
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a gift for a teacher is to consider their interests. Even if you’ve never met them personally and have only seen their classroom once on Parent-Teacher Night (you did go to Parent Teacher Night, right?), there’s still a lot you can infer to help you in choosing the right gift.
For example, does the teacher display many handmade decorations around her classroom? Does she have prominent bookshelves, and if so, what kinds of books are on display? Ask your child what kinds of personal information the teacher has shared– for example, if she mentions going to the movies, you might get a gift certificate to the local cinema. If she talks about travel to Europe, a picture book for her favorite destination would probably be appreciated.
Whatever you choose as a gift for a female teacher, make sure you don’t forget the most important part: a genuine and heartfelt note of appreciation thanking the teacher for their work. They will treasure this note for years to come, and that’s the greatest gift you could give a teacher!
Last but not least, make sure you’re aware of school guidelines on gift-giving, and the teacher’s perspective on gifts, as discussed on my Advice page.
If you’re looking for some more concrete suggestions, I recommend starting with my list of Recommended Gifts for Teachers. I also have another list specifically for teacher Christmas gifts, and one with suggested gifts for new teachers.
And here a few specific gifts for female teachers, if you’re really looking for something that is particularly good for women (in general, of course!):
Ladies, I apologize in advance if the gifts on this page seem a bit stereotypically feminine. As I mention above, elsewhere on this site you’ll find ideas which will work for all teachers, including woman. So I decided to make this page about gifts that are most likely appropriate only for women.
Are you a woman and a teacher! Well, you’re in luck! In the brief moment that it takes to make a comment on the bottom of this post, you have the opportunity to help your fellow teachers everywhere by informing well-intentioned but clueless parents what it is that you really would like to receive as a gift. I’ll make sure your comments are added to this post!