What teachers want for an end of year gift

What teachers really want as an end of year gift

With tools like Venmo and Apple Pay it’s easier than ever for room-mom’s/dad’s to have each parent chip in for one “class present” for the teacher at the end of the year. Even in high school, if a special teacher has 150 students and each student chips in $1, that would mean a pretty awesome gift.

Working together means a class can get the teacher something that teacher really wants, needs, or can use, rather than 20 containers of cookies that go stale before he/she can eat them.

The question then is: “What do teachers want?”

I have some suggestions based on my own experiences and in talking with other educators at the elementary and middle school levels.

1. An Amazon gift card

You can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card. It allows the teacher to get something they really need or want either for themselves, their home, or their classroom. The flexibility to get nearly anything is what makes this gift so appreciated.

An Amazon gift card would seriously be the best gift a student/group of students/parents could give me (or any other teacher as far as I’m concerned).

I used to suggest a Barnes & Noble gift card, but these days you can get everything you would get at Barnes & Noble (and more) on Amazon.

2. A gift card to a nice local restaurant

I’ve never met a teacher who didn’t enjoy a nice evening out at a local restaurant. Support both teachers and the food culture in your town by purchasing a gift card for a non-chain restaurant.

3. A heartfelt note from the child &/or parent

Thank you card from student
I keep thank you cards on the board next to my desk to remind me of why I do what I do.

Either in combination with a gift, or just on it’s own, a heart-felt card or note is always appreciated. Teachers don’t hear how much they are appreciated nearly enough. A heartfelt card says thank you for all the hard work the teacher does for your child specifically and the greater school community. What is most meaningful is noting something specific the teacher did that was helpful or special. Make it personal and not cliche.

4. A VISA gift card

A VISA gift card is great for the same reasons an Amazon gift card. It gives a teacher the choice to get whatever they want or need.

If they need gas in their car to get them to school for the last week, then so be it. If they want to use it to get toilet paper at Walmart, fine. If they want to treat themselves to chocolates, or a book, or a massage, then they can.

5. A giant bottle of hand sanitizer & throw in some clorox wipes

Every teacher knows that children brings the germs. I keep one of these giant Purell bottles on my desk for my use and the students’. They know if they blow their nose or other wise feel icky, they can come up and get a squirt of hand sanitizer, but this is just one of many examples of how teacher spend their own money to outfit their classrooms. I also purchase my own containers of Clorox Wipes to wipe down my own desk, door knobs, and student’s spaces.

Show a teacher that you know what’s up and that you care about their health and the health of the students he/she will teach next year by giving a gift that helps that teacher keep their classroom sanitary.

6. A laminator

I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to laminate something for my classroom (signs, exemplary student work, flyers) and ended up not doing it because of the hassle involved.

Most schools have a laminator in the building, but only certain people are allowed to operate it and laminating only occurs on certain days, etc.

I know a teacher who has one of these and she loves it! I can’t imagine any teacher who wouldn’t be super stoked to be able to laminate their own stuff at the push of a button.

7. An amazing laptop tote bag

Most schools have nearly or totally eliminated desk top computers. My entire district is almost exclusively laptops and Chromebooks.

The problem is that laptops and Chromebooks don’t often fit in a traditional purse or bag. Tons of teachers I know have been transitioning to bags that are specifically made to hold both a laptop and papers, pens, sticky notes, etc. Compartments are key!

8. A relaxation gift basket

Teachers are stressed all year, but especially at the end of the year. The last few weeks of school bring squirrely kids who are difficult to keep focused, assignments to grade, numbers to crunch, data to present, and so on.

A small gift basket with items to help that teacher relax could be just the ticket. Think bath bombs, chamomile tea, aromatherapy candles.

9. A smart watch or fitness tracker

Teachers need to be good role models not just of academic ability, but also of life balance, which includes staying physically fit and healthy.

Many school systems offer teachers gift cards or discounts on insurance if they track their steps and reach certain milestones.

My school system uses Virgin Pulse which allows us to link our fitness tracker directly to an app and earn points towards rewards.

10. A charging station

Teachers are constantly dealing with students who’s devices have gone dead. The problem is most classrooms have very few outlets. Mine has four outlets with two plugins each. Three of those plugins are taken up by the Promethian, my computer, and the printer. This leaves very little opportunity for students to charge computers or other devices they may need to do their work in my class.

I know some teachers who use a charging station as a way to “house” student’s phones during class so the kids are focused on learning instead of their phones. Kids plug their phones into the charging station during class and then they aren’t accessing that phone during the lessons.

I hope you got some good ideas for an end of year teacher gift! Please tween, pin, post, and otherwise share this message with other parents who might find it helpful.

If you’re looking for a future teacher or recent graduate check out my post on graduation gifts for future teachers!

Full disclosure: some of the links above are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product and use the link, I will get a small commission that goes towards the maintenance of this site (at no extra cost to you). If you enjoy the content on this website, please do use the link if you choose to make a purchase.
Thanks for your support! 

A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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