November 22nd, 2012

School Supplies Gift Basket or Plant

Want to give a gift that is both practical and fun?  With a bit of creativity, it takes much less time and money than you might think to assemble some universally useful classroom essentials (like school supplies, crafts, plants, etc.) into an attractive decorative item that you’ll be proud to give.

Here’s one option:

 

 

 

 

Have a teacher who loves gardening?  Add a pot, some seeds, gardening gloves, and a clever pun (“Teachers plant the seeds that make us grow”) and you have a delightful gift. Instructions here: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2011/05/01/gardening-gift-teacher-appreciation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants are often a welcome gift (ask your child if the teacher appreciates plants and has a green thumb: some may not welcome one more life form to look after around the classroom!). To make the gift even more welcome, add “blooms” of common school supplies, always in need around the classroom!  (Most teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on school supplies each year — see our “Give Chalk, Not Tchotchkes” post for more…

Instructions: http://www2.fiskars.com/Crafting/Projects/Kids-Crafts/Teacher-Gifts/Measure-Up-with-a-School-Supply-Bouquet#.UK2jn4bTBqA

 

 

 

Monogrammed jars and lovely ribbons make this gift easy-peasy but still attractive!

Instructions: http://www.therachelberryblog.com/2008/09/teacher-gifts-for-1st-day.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers, some magnetic letters, tissue paper, ribbons, and glass jars are all it takes to assemble these adorable gifts!

November 16th, 2012

Teacher Christmas Gifts

Teacher Christmas GiftsLooking for a great Christmas gift for teachers? Choosing the right gift for a teacher can be difficult — first, there is the question of how much to spend. Second, you might not know the teacher very well, which generally makes personal items like clothing or knick-knacks a poor choice. Last but not least, you may have to contend with school regulations and guidelines on gift giving which further limit your options.

Despite the seeming difficulty of choosing a Christmas gift for a teacher, the rewards can be worth it: some of the teachers I surveyed said that receiving gifts and thank you notes from their students (and their parents) was one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. Some retired teachers I know have kept all of the thank you notes and gifts they’ve ever received over the years, proudly displaying them as evidence of the many lives they’ve touched. Teachers do one of the most important jobs out there, yet they generally don’t receive a lot of prestige (or pay). Giving a thoughtful gift is an opportunity for you to show how much you appreciate the work that they do. A great gift for teachers doesn’t have to cost a lot of money — the most important thing is the thoughtfulness and care you put in to the gift, which shows the teacher that you truly respect them and appreciate what they do — and that is a gift that they will truly always cherish!

“I am a preschool teacher and [...] I deeply treasure every gift I have received from every student and even write their names and the date on each one so when I get them out to display them every year I am reminded of them! These children are so proud of the gifts that they have lovingly picked out, I wouldn’t trade them for anything!”       ~Teacher from Indiana

Our Suggestions for the Best Teacher Christmas Gifts

The following list of teacher Christmas gifts is just a starting point. Please make sure to also read my advice on how to choose a Christmas gift for a teacher, and my list of recommended gift ideas for teachers. You can also browse according to gift occasion, recipient, or type, by using the navigation menu on the right hand side of the page.

 

  • Remember my TeacherBook: I Remember My Teacher
    Author David Shribman spoke with 365 people of all ages and backgrounds to find out about the role that teachers played in their lives. What emerged is a story as surprising as it is heartwarming, and one of the best books for truly understanding the enormous impact that teachers have in our society. A gift that will be appreciated by pretty much any teacher!

 

 

  • GiftCards.com - Always The Right Gift®Custom Gift Card
    Gift cards and gift certificates are almost always the most-wished for gift among teachers, and they are especially practical when you don’t know them very well. But how do you make a gift card a bit more personal and unique? Finally, someone came up with a solution: GiftCards.com lets you customize gift cards with a picture of your child or a thank you note, making this gift both personal and useful!

 

 

  • New Yorker Book of Teacher CartoonsBook: New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons
    Apparently teachers are a source of great humor for the witty intellectuals at the New Yorker, as they’ve produced an entire book of cartoons just about teachers, making for a perfect gift for a teacher with a great sense of humor. Try this one for your English teacher, art teacher, philosophy teacher, or any other intellectual teacher, as they are probably most likely to be a fan of the New Yorker!

 

 

  • photoworksCustom Photo Gifts
    Print a photo of the class on a coffee cup or a mouse pad. Make a calendar with all your child’s favorite memories from the year. With a few photos and a little bit of imagination, the opportunities for great gifts for teachers are endless!

 

 

  • Hand Sanitizer Bulk PackHand Sanitizer (Bulk Pack)
    Give the gift of good health! As you can imagine, teachers and daycare providers go through a lot of hand sanitizer around this time of year, making this a very practical and appreciated gift, especially for elementary school teachers and kindergarten teachers.

 

 

  • Apple BasketApple Basket — for your homemade gift basket!
    Use this super-cute apple basket as the starting point of a unique homemade gift basket with your teacher’s favorite foods, a book or two, and a sincere thank you card. Voila! The perfect Christmas gift for teachers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Over 100 Projects KitCraft Kits and Supplies
    Teachers of younger grades (elementary school, preschool, kindergarten) who do lots of craft projects are always having to restock their supplies (often out of their own money. You can get “Craft Kits” with dozens of fun goodies suitable for making all kinds of creative projects.

 

 

  • Save up to 40% on Office Supplies - PlasticJungleGift Cards for Less than Face Value!
    Plastic Jungle is one of those ideas so simple and brilliant you wish you’d thought of it: people sell their unwanted gift cards for less than face value; you can therefore buy a great gift card for a teacher at less than its cash value! The recipient doesn’t know that you got a great deal (although I hope they wouldn’t mind anyway!), and the upside is that you get a lot more bang for your buck. This would make a great gift for high school teachers, music teachers, the gym coach, the bus driver– anyone you don’t know as well but still want to show your appreciation for.

 

 

  • GiftCards.com - Always The Right Gift®Discounted Gift Cards
    Why pay full price for Gift Cards? Did you know it’s possible to buy unwanted gift cards at huge discounts to the face value? The recipient will never know that you didn’t pay full price, but definitely will appreciate the extra spending power!

 

 

 

 

  • Chicken Soup Celebrates TeachersBook: Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Teachers
    The delightful Chicken Soup series always makes for a great gift, but this special edition is unique, a commemorative dedicated especially to teachers and the gifts that they give our children every day.

 

 

  • Teacher MugTeacher’s Coffee Mug
    Coffee mugs are a popular gift for a reason: everyone can use more coffee mugs! This one stands out with a unique hand-painted sculpted ceramic design. Ask your child if the teacher drinks coffee before getting them a mug, of course, and it generally makes a better gift for new teachers than for more experienced teachers who may have already collected a lot of mugs over the years!

 

 

  • Make a Donation in their Honor
    Here’s a great gift idea: Make a donation on behalf of the teacher to an organization that you know they would like to support. Include a note telling them how they inspire you with the good work that they do. Perfect for that idealistic government/ history/ environmental science teacher.

 

 

  • Executive Essentials Weekly Hot Office BuysA Nice Pen
    A nice pen can make an elegant gift that everyone can use. This is one that male teachers will like as well! For a very special thank you (think advisor, long-time coach, favorite teacher, etc), nice metal pens can even be engraved to add a personal touch.

 

 

  • A Day at the Spa
    A trip to the spa is a luxury that few teachers can afford on their own. But how many would like it? Ummm, pretty much all of them could use that kind of relaxation!

 

More Teacher Christmas Gifts

  • Coffee Mug filled with chocolates or gourmet coffee
  • Handmade thank you card from your child, with a gift certificate for a nearby restaurant
  • Craft supplies the teacher can use in their class
  • Books are generally appreciated by teachers
  • Gift Certificate for an office supply store
  • Coffee mug with photo of the class
  • Handmade Christmas Ornament
  • Personalized Photo Book with best memories collected from the class
  • Gift certificate for a bit of relaxation at the spa
  • Gourmet Gift Basket
  • Thoughtful, hand-written thank you note – this is the most important element and should accompany any gift!

December 9th, 2011

“Give Chalk, Not Tchotchkes”
If You’re Giving a Teacher Gift this Year

Teacher Christmas gift ideas should be about restocking classroom supplies, not gift trinkets!

Growing up with both parents teachers at an urban public high school in California, I saw first-hand the impact that education budget cuts can have on teachers. My dad taught graphic arts, and frequently dug into his own pocket to keep his classroom supplied with printing equipment, inks, paper, and later, even desktop computers. Funding for vocational classes like his all but disappeared as higher-ups decided every student should be on a college track. To get the funds to keep his class relevant, my dad worked weekends and evenings printing brochures, newsletters, flyers, and T-Shirts for local businesses, plowing the proceeds back into classroom supplies.

My first “job” was screenprinting thousands of T-shirts for a local housing developer; I earned minimum wage but the classroom gained two new computers. Even many years later my dad still runs into students who thank him for what they learned in his class. Some are former gang members, or recent immigrants who barely spoke English — not typical college track — but they’ve been able to find good jobs in printing or graphic design thanks to having learned real world skills on up-to-date equipment.

The “Great Recession” Erased Many Teachers’ Budgets for Classroom Supplies
So it comes as no surprise to me to hear that many teachers are responding to draconian budget cuts by using their own money to purchase classroom supplies. As school districts across the country (CA, PA, OH, FL, NY, GA, ID, VA, HI, KS, and more…) contend with reduced funding, few classrooms are fully equipped with essentials like books, office supplies, craft materials, games, paints, puzzles, science projects and more.

At the same time, despite the clear preferences of teachers to the contrary, many well-intentioned (and equally cash-strapped) parents spend money buying the kinds of trinkets and knick-knacks that are frequently marketed as the “perfect holiday gifts for teachers“. Teachers don’t expect to receive Christmas gifts from their students, but in many schools it’s a fun tradition and a way for students (and parents) to show their appreciation.

Give the Gift Teachers Appreciate Most
I’ve yet to meet a teacher who would prefer an apple trinket or yet another coffee mug to school supplies, books, project materials, or other gifts that would benefit their entire classroom. Giving classroom supplies as a gift is better than traditional “teacher gifts” in several ways:

  • There’s no need to worry about what the teacher likes and doesn’t like; they need this stuff
  • It’s a gift that benefits the entire classroom, including your own kids
  • Giving to the class rather than to the teacher avoids the muddled legal boundaries surrounding gifts and public employees
  • Nothing better communicates that you respect and appreciate the work the teachers are doing than giving a gift that helps them do it better

This year, if you’re in the fortunate position to be able to afford to have your kids take a Christmas gift to school for their teachers, consider ignoring the cute gift shop marketing, and instead gifting something much more practical, like classroom supplies.

If classroom supplies don’t seem like the most exciting gift idea to you, try these tips to turn even the most “boring” holiday present like a gift card or a box of paper and pencils into something unique and personalized that is fun both to give and to receive:

  • Accompany the gift with an handmade thank you note created and signed by your child. It costs nothing, and teachers love receiving things made by their students. Many teachers say that the most meaningful gifts they’ve ever received have been simple thank you notes.
  • Try making your own “School Supplies Gift Basket” starting with a simple basket and filling it with essentials like pencils, whiteboard markers, construction paper, erasers, hand sanitizer and the like. Try making a fun spiral pattern or line pencils around the edges like a castle. Your kids can probably help with the creativity part ; )
  • Consider offering some of your unique skills along with (or in place of) supplies. For example, if you’re a sculptor, you might donate some modeling clay and also offer to do a demonstration for the class.

Finally, if you support the idea of “Chalk, Not Tchotchkes”, please consider spreading the word by sharing this post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever your virtual friends hang out.

This holiday season, give chalk, not tchotchkes!

  • Consider having your child bring a personal thank you card rather than a gift
  • Ask his or her teacher which supplies are most needed
  • Many PTAs coordinate teacher wish lists
  • Consider volunteering a few hours of your time instead of spending money
  • Donations of used books, electronics, art supplies and school supplies are generally appreciated
  • Many schools prohibit gifts of food items – ask first!
  • As government employees, many teachers are prohibited from accepting personal gifts. Give to the class instead!

Most requested supplies:

See more of the most requested teaching supplies organized by grade level and subject area.

 

INFOGRAPHIC DATA SOURCES:

http://christmasgiftsforteachers.com/gift-preferences-poll
http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/24/news/economy/public_school_teachers_budgets/index.htm
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2024437,00.html
http://www.care2.com/causes/california-teachers-buy-supplies-and-clean-classrooms.html
http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/07/08/teachers-spend-1.3-billion-out-of-pocket-on-classroom-materials.aspx

Special Thanks to St Louis graphic designer Blue Canary Design for the awesome art!

May 6th, 2010

Best Teacher Gift Ideas

Looking for the perfect gift idea for a teacher who has gone above and beyond the call of duty? Perhaps a thank you gift to express your appreciation, or a gift for a new teacher to make their transition into that difficult new job just a little bit easier.

Let me Teach You to Find the Perfect Teacher Gift!

First, let me say thank you for having the consideration and thoughtfulness to care enough about choosing a great gift for a teacher that you’re even spending time researching it online. As a former teacher myself, I can tell you that teachers love thoughtful gifts, and in general we are a profession that truly desires feeling appreciated and respected. So, THANK YOU!!

Before I get into listing some of my favorite gift ideas (and the teacher gifts that have most thrilled my colleagues in the past), just a few brief recommendations on how to choose that ideal present:

  • The best gift ideas for teacher will depend upon the teacher’s personalities and interests. Not every teacher loves apples, or yellow school buses, or crafts. Maybe they’re really into sailing, or travel, or home decor.
  • Don’t hesitate to get something practical. Remember that most teachers don’t earn a lot of money, so a gift that’s a bit practical, like gift cards, craft goodies, or office supplies is often VERY welcome — maybe even moreso than the more typical gift items.

Gifts for Teachers

  • Remember my TeacherBook: I Remember My Teacher
    This is the kind of gift that can make nearly any educator feel pretty darn good about their choice of profession — and who couldn’t use days like that from time to time. The premise is as simple as it is effective: author David Shribman interviewed 365 people of all ages and backgrounds to find out about the role that teachers played in their lives. The story that emerges is as surprising as it is heartwarming, and one of the best books to paint a picture of the broad and lasting impact teachers have in our society.
  • A Trip to the Spa
    A visit to a day spa is a luxury that few teachers can afford on their meager salaries. But how many teachers would enjoy it? Ummm, pretty much every teacher I know would love that kind of relaxation!
  • Teacher NoteBook: Give Your Teacher This Note
    Everyone knows that teachers love notes, right? Well, even if your teacher doesn’t, he or she is bound to appreciate the humor and inspiration in this great book.
  • Teacher Gift BraceletThe Teacher’s Bracelet
    For the person who appreciates jewelery, this charming silver and crystal bracelet is a beautiful reminder of the tenets of the teaching profession.
  • GiftCards.com - Always The Right Gift®Custom Gift Card
    Gift cards and gift certificates are almost always the most-wished for gift among teachers, and they are especially practical when you don’t know them very well. But how do you make a gift card a bit more personal and unique? Finally, someone came up with a solution: GiftCards.com lets you customize gift cards with a picture of your child or a thank you note, making this gift both personal and useful!
  • Gifts for TeachersFirst Year Teacher’s Survival Guide
    I remember being absolutely terrified the first time I had to stand in front of a class of rowdy 11-year olds, and take the responsibility for their future development into my own hands. Maybe if I had this book back then, it would have felt at least a little bit easier?
  • New Yorker Book of Teacher CartoonsBook: New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons
    The New Yorker is beloved among teachers as it is among most intellectuals, and their famous political cartoons have a pedigree that goes back nearly a century. Now the New Yorker has produced an entire book of political cartoons focused on the life of teachers, making for a perfect gift for a teacher with a good sense of humor. Try this one for your art teacher, literature teacher, philosophy teacher, or any other intellectual teacher, or anyone with a good appreciation for finely-tuned wit!
  • Creative TeacherBook: The Creative Teacher
    These are the kinds of lessons that any new teacher can put to use– a gift that’s both appreciated and beneficial for her students!
  • Spa in a basketGingerbread Cookie-scented Bath and Body Kit
    Like a relaxing day at the spa, but in one low-priced gift basket!
  • Save up to 40% on Office Supplies - PlasticJungleGift Cards for Less than Face Value!
    Want to get a gift card but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Now it’s possible to buy gift cards for less than their face value! Don’t worry– the recipient doesn’t need to know that you got a great deal! ;) .
  • New Teacher BookBook: 101 Answers for New Teachers
    Everything a new teacher needs.

November 17th, 2009

Gift Ideas for a Male Teacher

Buying a gift for a male teacher? No problem! The general advice on choosing the right gift for teachers remains the same, but of course you should take into account that men often have different preferences than women.

For example, that trip to the spa may not make such a good gift anymore. “Old favorites” like ornaments, pins, decorations, candles, lotion, etc. are similarly less suited for a male teacher than a female teacher (in general).

Perhaps the biggest challenge is that male teachers are (again, speaking in generalities here) often less likely to be very sentimental about handmade gifts and purely symbolic gifts (“#1 Teacher”, etc.) — in general, men prefer something useful.

Fortunately, there are a number of great gifts for male teachers that you can get which are quite useful and will still allow you to express your creativity and personality.

Suggested Gifts for a Male Teacher

  • Teacher Water BottleTeacher’s Water Bottle
    Everyone likes these cool stylish water bottles — might as well have one that shows you’re proud to be a teacher!
  • New Yorker Book of Teacher CartoonsBook: New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons
    Apparently teachers are a source of great humor for the witty intellectuals at the New Yorker.
  • Personalized MY M&M'S® Candies.Personalized M&Ms!
    Sweet gift idea for the creative chocolate-lover: personalized M&Ms! Personalize with school logo, name, teacher’s name — even pictures of the students in your class!
  • Remember my TeacherBook: I Remember My Teacher
    David Shribman’s quest to explore the role teachers have played in the lives of ordinary people (one for every day of the year) will warm the heart of any teacher.
  • Save up to 40% on Office Supplies - PlasticJungleGift Cards for Less than Face Value!
    Plastic Jungle is one of those ideas so simple and brilliant you wish you’d thought of it: people sell their unwanted gift cards for less than face value; you can therefore buy a great gift card for a teacher at less than its cash value! The recipient doesn’t know that you got a great deal (although I hope they wouldn’t mind anyway!), and you get a lot more bang for your buck.
  • Teacher MugTeacher’s Coffee Mug
    Coffee mugs are a popular gift for a reason: everyone can use more coffee mugs! This one stands out with a unique hand-painted sculpted ceramic design.
  • Teachers Rule MugTeachers Rule Coffee Mug
    Another cute coffee mug gift for teachers. This can be personalized with your child’s name, teacher’s name, class year, etc — it just takes a little (non-toxic) paint and a little patience!
  • Pay it ForwardTeacher’s Movie Night
    How about a movie night that helps remind them what a huge impact teachers make on the world? Pair a few great teaching DVDs with a basket of popcorn and a thank-you card.
  • Teachers Mug Gift SetTea for Teacher Mug Gift Set
    If you don’t feel like putting together a homemade gift mug for your teacher, you can buy one ready-made that will look just like a homemade gift for only a few dollars more.

October 22nd, 2012

Personalized Christmas Gifts for Teachers

In an ideal world, we would probably all make most of the gifts we give each holiday season. Applying our considerable craft talents, we would carve a beautiful wooden hiking staff, knit a delightfully soft wool scarf, and fill a handcrafted basket with freshly-baked cookies. Personalized gifts like these are guaranteed to be unique, and demonstrate caring and thoughtfulness in a way that no amount of money could ever match.

But in the real world, most of us are far too busy to make craft gifts for even a small number of the people on our gift list. Enter personalized gifts from sites like PersonalizationMall.com, GiftsForYouNow.com, and even Amazon: they allow the busy person to give a gift with that extra personal touch that is bound to make it memorable, but without having to spend two weeks crafting it yourself. Consider these gift ideas a shortcut to making something yourself — and chances are, the end result will be much more practical too!

My Favorite Teacher Picture Frame
best personalized gift idea for your favorite teacherAny teacher is guaranteed to love this picture frame which can be personalized with the teacher’s name, school, and grade. Include a photo of the whole class as a memorable teacher gift from the entire classroom, or frame a photo of your student with one of the projects they made during the year. You can also have your child make a special thank you drawing and frame that.

 

 

Photo Cookie Jar
This delighftul cookie jar can be filled with treats for an extra special thank you (just make sure you know your District’s rules regarding baked goods; some schools don’t allow them!). Once those are gone the teacher can use it to hold crafts or school supplies. But the best part is the option to personalize it with your own photo – what a great way for the teacher to remember her class for years to come!

 

custom engraved kaleidoscope gift ideaEngraved Desktop Kaleidoscope
This cool wooden kaleidoscope would make a fun gift for an art teacher or science teacher, or really anyone who appreciates the classic fun and beauty of a well-made kaleidoscope. It can be engraved with an inspiring message, or simply a note of appreciation.

 

 

cool wooden puzzle can be engraved with your messageWooden Puzzle with Free Engraving
Both kids and adults will love this wooden puzzle, which can stand up to the abuse of younger students while still challenging older grades. Engraving adds a classy touch that lets you tell your favorite teacher how much you appreciate them!

 

 

Engraved Ballpoint Pen
Everyone can use more pens, and really any sort of pen can be a simple can’t miss gift. But for an extra special thank you– say, as a gift for a favorite professor, or the teacher who put in so many hours of personal tutoring, few gifts are classier than an elegant engraved pen like this one from Executive Essentials.

 

 

Personalized “Mix Tape” CD
One of the coolest personalized gifts I received was a collection of MP3s from a student musician. It was clear that he had picked out each of the songs because they were deeply meaningful to him, and I was touched to be able to share in his discoveries. Apparently iTunes lets you gift a collection of MP3s, sending a link via email so that the recipient can download each of the selected songs straight to their iTunes free of charge. Very practical and enjoyable yet still personal gift.

 

Personalized Teacher Thank You Card
I’ve written this elsewhere, but many parents still don’t believe me ;) One of the nicest things you can do for a teacher is also one of the easiest: a heartfelt and genuine thank you card written by you and your child. Not only is it something that the teacher will appreciate tremendously, it’s also an excellent lesson for your children, teaching them to show gratitude and appreciation for others who are working on their behalf. You can even make a thank you card into something personal and extra special using one of these 40 ideas for easy handmade thank you cards. If you still don’t feel it’s enough just to give a card, consider enclosing a gift card to a store that the teacher can use to purchase classroom supplies, such as Amazon, Walmart, or one of the many stores at GiftCards.com

 

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Teacher
Suppose you’ve waited until absolutely the last second, but still want to do a thoughtful and caring gift for a teacher? When it’s too late to go to the store, and too late even for overnight shipping, you can still give a last minute gift using electronic delivery of a personalized thank you card. I like the ones from American Greetings, which you can get for free with this 7-day trial.