Your Kid’s Teacher Doesn’t Need A Crayon Monogram: Gifts Teachers Really Love

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Teacher gifts.Do you know how to tell how long someone has been teaching? Look in their cabinet and see how many mugs they have. I get at least one every year. As a teacher, I always appreciate the well-intentioned thought from a student who beams at me, saying, “I know you love coffee, so I got you a mug.” However, I know some quick, simple things your family can do this school year that would be even better than the same old teacher gift.

Pinterest is great. It really is. However, I do not need a monogram in a frame made of a crayon. The art teacher in me cringes at the waste of crayons. I don’t want a vase made out of pencils either.

If you want to give the teacher something made out of supplies, how about giving them some actual supplies!

Teachers notoriously have to use hundreds of their own dollars to make their classrooms run smoothly, so why not give them some extra pencils, markers, glue, etc. If you are itching to make it crafty and cute after hours of Pinterest browsing, then put them together in a cute way. A year or two ago, I gave my daughter’s teacher some kindergarten-sized pencils that I stuck together with pipe cleaners and cute tissue paper to resemble a bouquet. Crafty and appreciated! 

Another great gift is time.

If you have it, volunteer some free time if the school allows it. Help your child’s teacher with the never-ending list of things they need to do. Cut out a class set of construction paper shapes for an upcoming project, write names on folders, check homework. Whatever little help you can give is bound to put a smile on the teacher’s face.

I did an informal social media poll and asked the dozens of teachers at my school what their favorite and least favorite gifts were. The overwhelmingly popular answer was a GIFT CARD!

Gift cards are great for teachers for many reasons. First of all, they are versatile. You can get them just about anywhere. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like something at Dunkin Donuts (they can get their coffee fill, or pick tea, a muffin. Really, everyone can find something there). 

The second amazing reason I think gift cards are perfect is that you can pick whatever amount you are comfortable giving. Last year, I had two teachers to buy for plus four classroom assistants. Even at $5.00 each, that’s already $50 spent! Then there are all the other important extras to give to – the art teacher, the gym teacher, the crossing guard… those lists can get extreme. 

Getting to pick exactly how much you’re going to give has its perks. Don’t forget to take into account that some districts have monetary caps. Many teachers cannot accept very expensive things, nor do we expect them. It’s the thought that counts. Some other great gift card ideas are cards to Amazon, iTunes, Scholastic Books, Staples, Lakeshore Learning (a great teacher store), Starbucks, or a local establishment (think mani-pedis or a massage from a local nail salon). Teachers can always use an excuse to relax!

Another popular gift among teachers is an edible choice. 

Many teachers enjoy getting Edible Arrangements or some fruit and nut baskets (Stew Leonards has great selections online!). I also like this idea for the versatility in price range and many choice options. They are also nice because the teacher can share with friends or family.

Many teachers also would appreciate a heartfelt sentiment. 

A nice card or a little hand-drawn picture can go a long way. If teachers were all about gifts and money, they more than likely wouldn’t be in the teaching profession. 

There are some gifts that you may want to think twice before handing out this year.

Teachers, like anyone else, have their unique tastes. One choice to reconsider is lotions and perfumes. While these gifts seem so nice because they often come in nice seasonal packaging, scents are a very personal choice. What smells nice to you may not smell nice to the gift recipient. They may not wear perfume at all! 

I have gotten many lotions over the years that come with the best intentions, but I can’t use them because my skin is sensitive or I don’t enjoy the scent. They wind up becoming re-gifts or sitting in my bathroom unused. They are like mugs. They multiply every year, and many teachers have more than enough.

Clothes. Please no clothes. It’s not a great choice unless it is something universal like a scarf or nice gloves. Chances are, you do not know what size is best. 

When it comes to gifts for teachers, my thought is to make sure your child is comfortable giving them to the teacher. Some teachers love getting wine or alcohol; some think it is borderline unacceptable to take wine from a child. Similarly, children may not feel comfortable walking through school with a bottle of wine and handing it to their teacher. Have your child help decide what to get. After all, they are the ones who spend six or more hours a day with their teacher. Chances are they have picked up on some clue as to what they may like.

Whatever you decide, make sure it is from the heart, and it is sure to be a hit. Just letting the teacher know you care will make it something to remember.

Have you given a gift to a teacher that received rave reviews? Share it in the comments! 

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Kristen is the proud mom of two wonderful, smart and sassy daughters (born in 2007 and 2011). Raising her kids as a single mom is a challenge and an adventure and she loves every minute of it. Kristen loves bringing up her girls in the same area of Westchester that she grew up in, having only moved a few miles from her childhood home. A long time passion for working with children led Kristen to pursue a career in education and she has been an elementary school teacher in the Bronx for over a decade. Her teaching career has taught her that every day is a new experience and to "expect the unexpected." If she can find any spare time between teaching and motherhood, Kristen likes to read, binge watch horrible romantic comedies on TV, bake, and go on road trips with her girls.

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