gifts teachers actually want

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and that means it’s time to start thinking about thank you gifts for your kid’s teachers. I don’t know about you but I have always wondered what teachers actually want. I mean do they really like cheesy knick-knacks or would the like something a little more useful like a gift card.

Having grown up in a family full of teachers, I decided to pick some brains and learn exactly what gifts teachers would love and things they would rather not get.

First, let’s set some ground rules…

Before I get on with the list of gifts teachers would love, let’s go over the basic rules of things to avoid. Now like all things, not all teachers will feel this way about these items, but many do.

So play it safe and avoid the following:

Forget about “world’s best” items

Come to find out, an item that says “world’s best” or “#1 Teacher” can be left in the back of the coffee mug shelf.


Now I never would have thought about this before it was pointed out, but using a coffee mug saying “#1 Teacher” in front of other teachers can be kind of embarrassing. I mean imagine standing among your parent friends with a mug that says “I am the world’s best parent,” it can be a bit uncomfortable.

Knick-Knacks just pile up

The amount of knick-knacks (mostly apples) that teachers get is ludicrous and year after year they pile up. So, unless you know for 100% certainty that the item is something your kids’ teacher wants, just skip the knick-knacks.

NOTE: If you know the teacher legit collects a certain item (like teacups, or starwars mugs) then by all means add to their collection. Just don’t don’t go over board!

Don’t buy anything, just to buy something

You are in no way obligated to buy your kids’ teacher a gift, so don’t just buy a random item just to give the teacher something. Even the best-intended gift can end in unintentional hurt. Sometimes just grabbing anything can give an ungrateful vibe instead of the thankful vibe you are trying to send.

If you feel obligated to gift the teacher something, check out the list of teacher approved items below.

Teacher Approved Gifts

Teachers are with our children a good portion of the day, and giving a gift to show your appreciation is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work!

Here are some things that are teacher approved…

Gift Cards

Not to get political, but not all teachers get paid through the summer. So when kids are home resting and relaxing this time of year can be really stressful for the teachers. Giving gift cards can allow teachers an opportunity to relax and get some much-needed self-care throughout the (sometimes stressful) summer.

NOTE: I know sometimes we feel like gift cards are an impersonal touch to gift giving, but this is actually the #1 request from teachers!

Here are some top notch gift card ideas:
  • Fancy Restaurant
  • Really Nice Coffee Bar (like Starbucks, or somewhere they use real mugs)
  • Spa Stores (like LUSH ? )
  • Massage Therapy
  • Movie Theater (make sure the theater is nearby and not 2 hours away)

Practical Items

Teachers love practical items they would not typically purchase for themselves and some like to get office/classroom supplies.

As a self-proclaimed office supply snob, I will say these kinds of items can be tricky so if you are thinking the office supply route, I would just give a gift card so they can pick their favorites.

NOTE: Don’t forget what I said about avoiding the Cliche “worlds best” and “#1 Teacher!”

Practical Gift Suggestions:

Don’t forget the thank you note!

Whether you decide to skip the gift or go all out, don’t forget to send a heartfelt thank you note. These teachers do so much to help give our kids a great foundation of learning. They genuinely and deeply care about the children they teach as if they were their own kids. So be sure to include a handwritten note thanking them for significant differences they made in your child’s life.

Here are some things to prompt some ideas of what to include:
  • What fears did your child overcome?
  • What subjects were they struggling with that they now like or understand better?
  • Did they dislike school last year and love to go now?
  • Have you seen your child’s curiosity bloom?
  • Does your child speak of their teacher often?

need a cute card?

check out these super cute custom cards by Paper Bird Art Shop

thank you gifts teachers actually want

I can’t wait to hear what you decided to gift your kid’s teacher so comment below with what you decided!

Need help brainstorming? Comment below or send me a message and I will help you brainstorm!