Teacher Worksheets
5 Teacher Gifts Teachers Really Want

Teachers do so much for our kids; we want to show them our appreciation.

5 Teacher Gifts Teachers Really Want

Sometimes, when we see other parents giving big gifts, we wonder if we should do the same. Because this has resulted in teacher gift one-upping by some parents, a few schools have even had to issue guidelines to prevent parents from getting too competitive.

The truth is, you don't need to spend a fortune to show your child's teacher that you appreciate everything they do. Whether it's a gift for a holiday or for Teacher Appreciation Day in May, there are a number of ways to express your gratitude without taking out a second mortgage.

So what do teachers really want? Here are some creative ideas to inspire you.

#1 - A Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon

Instead of buying stuff, why not give the gift of an experience, specifically, a faculty and staff appreciation luncheon? (There are only so many mugs and scarfs that one person can use at a time, after all.) You'll need to organize the event and possibly recruit some volunteers, but there's no better way to show teachers and school staff that you're grateful for their hard work.

Everybody loves free food - ideally, delicious free food. A beautiful meal is sure to bring some smiles to the table. Plus, it'll give teachers a chance to relax for a moment, and let other people cater to their needs for once. Who wouldn't feel special after something like that?

#2 - Gift Cards (and a Thoughtful Thank You Note)

Gift Cards for Teachers

Everybody loves gift cards. Teachers are no different! Gift cards are a great option because you may not know what your child's teacher really needs or wants, so a gift card gives them the freedom to choose. If you're not sure what kind of gift card would be best, it's fine to play it safe with a gift card from Target, or even a gas card (assuming your teacher drives, of course.)

More important than the gift card, however, is putting some time and thought into the thank you card. Have your child put real effort into the thank you card portion of this gift. You can suggest they draw a picture illustrating why their teacher is special (adorable, right?).

Encourage your child to do more than just say thank you, and be specific about why his or her teacher is so special, and what that has meant to your child this school year. Teachers love to know they're making an impact because it's easy to lose track of that in the day-to-day chaos of classroom management.

Here's another idea if drawing a picture isn't your kid's cup of tea: if your child has done poetry in class, let him or her use what was learned in class and write a poem! Nothing will show the teacher how much your child treasures their influence as when a child uses their new knowledge in this card.

Even if you can't afford a gift card, a personal note of thanks will be saved and treasured.

#3 - Plants for the Classroom

Did you know that having plants in a classroom has a positive impact on students' well-being? One researcher studied the effects of plants on student behavior and discovered that putting plants in the room resulted in stronger feelings of comfort and friendliness among students. The class also had significantly fewer hours of sick leave and lower recorded incidents of misbehavior.

Plants can lift our mood, lower stress, and may even improve indoor air quality. Every classroom could benefit from a small indoor garden to brighten the atmosphere. (And what teacher wouldn't appreciate better behavior from students?)

Here are five of the best classroom-friendly plants to consider as a gift for teachers. Before investing in a plant, be sure to do your research because some plants can be toxic and, therefore, dangerous to kids. Others require a lot of maintenance, so try to make sure you're selecting a plant that's easy to grow. Check out this list of the best and worst indoor plants for classrooms for even more ideas and tips.

This is a great gift idea for any teacher. Plants beautify the classroom environment, promote student responsibility, and can be a great way to supplement science learning as caring for plants is a hands-on activity that engages kids.

#4 - Classroom Supplies

Teachers don't have loads of cash, yet they often invest their own limited funds in buying school supplies. As a result, teachers can always use more classroom supplies!

Instead of giving them something they'll never use, consider gifting your child's teacher items they'll need throughout the school year. They won't complain about receiving extra glue, crayons, pencils, erasers, Clorox wipes, tissues, etc.-because that means they don't have to spend their own money when these supplies run out!

Some parents send school supplies at the beginning of the year, but they get used up quickly. So don't hesitate to gift additional supplies, even if you think it unnecessary.

Teachers work hard to provide the best possible environment for their students, purchasing things like Kleenex, hand sanitizer, pencils, paper and more. One teacher reported feeling "over-the-moon grateful" when she received supplies for her classroom.

Maybe this sounds like a boring gift. But who says necessary materials can't be fun? Why not make some ordinary items extraordinary? Silly pencils are just one fun idea.

#5 - Keepsake Photo Collage or Scrapbook

Make a Gift Card for your Teacher

Here's a creative, hands-on idea that your child can have fun with - print out photos from the class, and have your child cut and paste them into a photo album or scrapbook. This is a gift your teacher won't throw away! It's also a great project that improves writing and artistic skills, and it's bound to be a lot more meaningful than yet another coffee mug.

If class photos aren't readily available, you can even have your child embark upon a photography project. This can be done with a digital camera or even a cell phone. It may be best to plan a photoshoot during a break or after class, though, to avoid unnecessary disruptions.

Teachers love gifts that are handmade by their kids. Handmade gifts are meaningful and can be an inexpensive option if you don't have a lot to spend.

(Extra Credit: Maybe your child will be inspired by this project and do something similar for Mother's Day or Father's Day. Win!)

Bonus Idea: DIY Customized Puzzle Book

Thank you note for Teacher

Make your own personalized word search puzzle! The first page is a word search that you can make using your own words of gratitude. On the back of the page, you'll find a short poem thanking your teacher.

You can print this out and give it in addition to any of the ideas above. Another great idea is to print this out on any random day of the school year, "just because." There's no reason teacher appreciation needs to be confined to one day a year.

After all, your child's teacher works hard every day.

Why not thank him or her more than once a year?

Responses from Parents and Teachers

A Pedicure?

My vote for teachers is always a gift card for a pedicure. (I'm positive that their feet ache and could use some pampering.)

Lysol wipes and Tissues

One parent regularly sends Lysol wipes, not as a gift but for prevention. She also volunteers, sends snacks, and other supplies.

But beware. Note that some schools don't allow hand sanitizer because kids were sniffing or licking the alcohol.

One teacher wants mugs!

I love collecting mugs. Stop telling parents to quit buying mugs for teachers, because it hurts my collection! I also rely on hand creams and bath soaps. Get to know your teacher and find out what she likes, collects, wants, or enjoys. Every teacher is different. We need to be appreciated just as often. A kind word, note, or just asking what you can do or get can mean the world to a teacher.

Don't forget teachers in middle and high school!

Some parents and teachers have noticed that people, in general, quit caring by the time kids enter 8th grade, and it's sad.

You can never go wrong with a heartfelt note about the impact the teacher has made on your child's life.

No plants? You need to get to know your teacher first!

Kleenex is good. Don't bring something edible - teachers don't need the extra calories, and frankly, can't trust homemade goods were made hygienically. Don't bring plants either - no teacher needs something else to look after and try not to kill. Bring gift cards to practical places, not a $10 card to somewhere expensive that a teacher will have to find another $50 to attend. Hand sanitizer and dry erase board markers are useful. Pick any of the dozens of things teachers have to have on hand that comes from their own budget. Yes, it is the thought that counts and teachers' hearts are warmed by any gift from their students, truly. But if you'd like it to be something that's actually enjoyed or useful, put a little more thought into what you select instead of a regifted candle or a coffee mug.

Finally, it doesn't matter!

It doesn't matter what the gift is. It's the thought that a parent or student cared enough to think of you.