There is something undeniably sweet about seeing my desk piled high with little gift bags, shiny chocolate boxes, and fruit on the last day of school before Christmas break. It’s a special feeling that I carry with me into the new year. Gifts for teachers don’t need to be pricey or elaborate to hit all the holiday “feels”. If you’re making your list, check this one twice!
Cards and notes from my students are my absolute favorite gift. I keep a bundle of them in a basket on my desk and on days when I’m losing traction on a project or just feeling low, I’ll read some. Without fail, I feel uplifted and energized. Teaching can be emotionally draining, and a nice word from a student is like a deposit in the bank–ready for when it’s needed. They may be inexpensive, but cards and notes are more precious than rubies!
The year I received a mega-huge bottle of hand sanitizer, I almost wept. Sneezes, coughs, accidental slobbers? No problem–we have that mega-huge bottle of sanitizer! Having supply levels topped off will lift a weight from your teacher’s shoulders. It’s okay if pencil leads break, erasers crack in half, chalk pulverizes, etc., because there will be plenty of supplies to replace those. No one wants to stop in the middle of explaining a concept to scavenge for a pencil. I believe this worry/frustration can cause a lot of stress for both teachers and students, and having a massive stash of fresh supplies will alleviate that pressure. I’m currently in seventh heaven over a donated bag full of highlighters. I’ve got whole classes color coding *everything* and it’s fantastic. (It’s the little things, what can I say?) Teachers are natural givers, and when you trick out their students with nice, new supplies, it will touch their heart.
Listen, all that paper, hand-sanitizing, and washing can do a number on hands. And since we often help students by pointing at the steps or directions on a page, our hands get noticed. There’s nothing like having a teenager say, “Uh, you’re bleeding,” because one of your ragged, winter hangnails got snagged. (And it’s always when you’re out of band-aids…class supplies!!) Keep your teacher’s digits dazzling and send them back in January with soft, revitalized hands and nails. Even gentlemen teachers can appreciate fine cuticles!
Drinks and Snacks
Having a board right beneath the heat vents means that every time I look up to write an announcement or procedure, my tears instantly evaporate and I feel like I’m lecturing in a desert. Flipping papers and talking all day can leave teachers feeling like raisins by lunchtime. (Gerry Brooks got it right!) Hydrate that educator!! Snazzy clip-on water bottles, packets of their favorite drink mixes, six-packs of up-scale soda water, and gift cards to the cafe nearest school can all be fantastic helps.
Likewise, ahead of a tight deadline, we’ll take lunch on the run — or at least a very brisk walk to the copy machine. This week, I found I can sort of eat with my left hand while mouse-clicking with my right… Sort of. Lunch-on-the-go kits, real-food meal bars, and heat-and-eat soups all make a nice, wholesome change from vending machine fare. And have you seen these gourmet oatmeals? Add hot water and voila!
Speaking of adding hot water, I cannot survive in class without my electric kettle. It makes a little coffee/tea break possible in those pockets of time when students are occupied on a worksheet or activity. In other words, it makes a coffee break possible, because it ain’t gonna happen otherwise! Check your school’s regulations first to make sure electric appliances are allowed in a classroom. At under $15, you’ll get big bang for your bucks.
A unique gift idea? Pay the class fee to a local museum or gallery. Many educational field trips greatly reduce the entrance cost, but there’s a fee or donation still required. Make your teacher’s day by treating him or her to a day out with the herd….and don’t forget to volunteer to help chaperone. 🙂
Okay, hear me out. The days before Christmas break can be…high-energy. The students go bananas. The staff looks hunted. Parents are panicking. After a week like that, who feels like making a casserole or complicated dessert for a party? One of my students gifted me with an enormous tin of fancy popcorn. I mean really fancy. The kind I’ll eat in one cold winter evening if not restricted. So I lugged the whole thing, unopened, to a family get-together and it was a home run! Turns out, I’m not the only one who can’t leave that stuff alone. I got to sample all the mouth-watering flavors, and so did everyone else. Win-win! If you’re stuck for ideas, gift some party food with a little tag from Santa’s Helper!
Please, no _________.
I may be an outlier, here, but I have a full cabinet of coffee mugs that I love. The staff break room’s cabinet is also full of coffee mugs. I’ve planted houseplants in coffee mugs. I’m using some for pen holders. Please, no more coffee mugs! The exception might be for a new teacher. He or she would love to strut down the hall with this bad boy.
You may also think twice before grabbing that cute, inspirational-teaching-quote ornament. I always love these but I have to admit, they accumulate over time. And any kind of decluttering of these items is accompanied by waves of guilt because a student’s precious face comes to mind. In fact, I can’t really part with them, even though my tastes (and trends!) have changed over the years. Choose carefully…
What about you? Do you have a memorable gift idea for teachers? Add your ideas to the comments section below!