Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas
(that Teachers Appreciate!)

Creative teacher appreciation gift ideas go beyond mugs and apples. Here are useful and meaningful gift ideas that teachers will treasure.

Teachers appreciate being acknowledged! Their dedication - and workdays - go well beyond classroom hours. Teachers deal with a host of learning

styles, behaviors and personalities (among colleagues and parents too!), and they are all too often taken for granted. So your teacher appreciation gift ideas will be gratefully received.

Let's begin with two very thoughtful gift ideas for teachers that do not involve buying an actual gift:

1. A thank you note or card from a student or parent always pleases a teacher. Even more meaningful is a formal letter, giving specific examples to illustrate the teacher's dedication, with copies to the principal, superintendent, and school board.

2. Teacher of the Year – An outstanding teacher will be honored to receive a State Teacher of the Year nomination. This teacher appreciation gift idea could be a good class project. A parent or room mother (at lower grade levels) or a middle/high school student delegate should consult with the principal for more information. The National Teacher of the Year is selected from among State winners (including DC, US Territories, and military). Search for teacher of the year program, your state, for nomination procedures. Also, TeachersCount.org has information about teacher awards in specific subjects, regional teacher awards, and other teacher appreciation ideas.

An Apple for the Teacher:
Still a Good Idea

Teachers who have been in the profession for a number of years have probably seen (and received by the dozens) the most commonly-given teacher appreciation gift ideas. But teacher gifts with an apple theme are still a good choice for a newer teacher who does not already have them in abundance. Here are some favorites:

  • glass, metal or wooden apple paperweight
  • apple-design mug for coffee or pencils
  • tee shirt, necktie, scarf, lapel pin, keychain or other accessories
  • desk items: pencils, pads, mouse pad, memo holder, name plate
  • Ornaments with variation on the apple or "#1 Teacher" theme
  • apple wall plaque, message board, sign or sampler
  • tote bag with apple design

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas
for Early Grade Levels

At preschool and early grade levels, you might choose a gift for a teacher to use for classroom activities or decorations:

  • Age-appropriate books. Alphabet/word books help build reading readiness, and books of children's stories are popular through the early grades. Duplicates will be welcome in classrooms where children borrow books to take home.

  • An apron or smock with lots of pockets is always useful during art or other projects with young children.

  • A gift certificate to an education supply store or website will help to provide supplies for the classroom or special projects (teachers typically spend a lot of their own money on supplies). American Express or VISA gift cards are more versatile teacher appreciation gift ideas, because they can be used at almost any store.

  • A library kit to help the teacher manage loans of classroom books. It's the easiest way to keep a record of who has borrowed each book, and how long they've had it.

  • A calligraphy set with instructions may introduce a new hobby for the teacher, but in any event will be useful for designing classroom decorations and student recognition certificates.

  • A countdown clock showing number of days, hours & minutes until...

  • Teacher appreciation gift ideas made by the students are perennial teacher favorites that can be organized by a classroom aide or room mother. Have each student make one unit that can be joined with the others to form a whole.

    Examples: gather individually-made paper flowers into a bouquet and add a pretty vase; assemble decorated fabric squares into a quilted wall hanging; collect student self-portraits, poetry, and/or thank-you notes for a scrapbook.

A Note About Group Gifts

A whole class may have a substantial teacher appreciation gift idea that would not be affordable (or appropriate) from an individual student. At the lower grade levels, room mothers can invite all students and/or parents to participate; at higher grade levels, students may organize the project themselves.

Contributions should always be optional and collected privately outside the classroom. Those who do not contribute cash may be willing to help provide refreshments or do the shopping. A card should be signed by all of the students in the class, no matter who has contributed.

(continued... lots more gift ideas for teachers!)
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