So you've decided to get your favorite educators some gifts — the question now becomes a matter of
to give them. Scented lotions, tea candles, and baked goods are par for the course, but there are a variety of ways to stand out and give the educators in your life something they need and will truly appreciate. Below are 10 of our favorite suggestions.
1. School supplies
Believe it or not, educators spend A LOT of their own money on school supplies. And those supplies tend to run out pretty quickly. Whether the class ran out of lined paper mid-year or the can of extra pencils suddenly appears empty by November, chances are the bold men or women running a school's classrooms are out at Staples or Office Depot making extra purchases. One thoughtful way to help your favorite educators save money is by replenishing their school supplies! Pencils, tape, pens, staples, and lined paper are probably the most used and quickest to go, so that could be a good place to start.
That said, you could also consider some of the more unusual requests that the teacher may only be able to buy with your help. An ELMO
projector or tablet could be an amazing
(albeit pricey) gift for an educator — and could really have a massive impact on what that teacher is able to accomplish with his or her students.
While the school year will have only been in session for a few months at this point, memories have still begun to form. Create a scrapbook for your favorite educator to show them just how much you appreciate them. With the abundance of high-quality cameras on smart phones, it shouldn't be too hard to snap a few pics to use for the book. Be sure to include a page where you tell your teacher just how much they mean to you or your school.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, the website Write. Click. Scrapbook. posted some good ideas for creating scrapbooks for teachers. While Teacher Appreciation Week is over, the ideas are still applicable and definitely worth consideration.
This can go two ways. You could get your favorite teacher a number of classroom books that can then be used by students. This, like school supplies, will definitely help the educator's bank account and be much appreciated. Not an English Language Arts teacher? Not a problem. Books come in all subjects and can be a great independent activity for when students finish their work early.
On the other hand, you could get them a great piece of literature that they can escape to in the evening or over the holiday break. Schools can be stressful environments and having a good literary respite is the best antidote to come back feeling refreshed. Of course, there are also a number of great books specifically for educators
, as well.
Not sure what to get? Amazon Gift Cards are great if you want to give an educator the opportunity to choose what sort of books they want to purchase.
4. Sticky Notes
"Hey Ms. G can you write me a late pass?" "Hey can you recommend a book for me?" "What's my math average?" Teachers are constantly answering questions, and typically those questions require some sort of note. Notepads and sticky notes are a great way to help them conserve the class' lined paper supply. Sticky Notes can also be used for "DO NOW" or "bell work" activities — the options are somewhat limitless. Want to bring it up a notch? Skip the yellow sticky notes and go for some funky colors, designs, or even personalized notes.
Vista Print allows you to personalize sticky notes for prices starting as low as $2.96.
5. Coffee Mugs and Tea
This one is debatable. Some think mugs are cliché, but the reality is that you can never have enough of them. More mugs means teachers can have an arsenal of options for when they're ready for their morning joe. Up the ante and give them some coffee beans or special tea to really make the gift stand out.
Cafe Press has a variety of teacher-centric coffee mugs, with the average pricing around $15.
6. Classroom decorations
Similar to school supplies, classroom decorations are pretty much on the teacher. While every educator wants to create a certain mood in their classroom, sometimes it's just not in the budget. Find out what they want or need. Maybe it's a rug for the reading corner, or a rocking chair or bean bags.
Classroom decorations can make or break the learning environment, so your gift could have a great impact and, most importantly, it will be long-lasting, as decorations can be used year-to-year. Be sure to find out a teacher's style and desire before giving decor as a gift, though. Some teachers want to keep their classroom bare so that there are no distractions, and if that's the case, the crazy, tie-dye "I love to read" poster may not be the best gift.
7. Tote bags
Schlepping papers, tests, and notebooks across town is pretty par for the course for any educator. Make their life easier by getting them a roomy tote bag to stick all of their "take-home" work in. Like the sticky notes, a personalized touch is always appreciated.
Etsy has a number of affordable and chic handbags to choose from, with an average price around $20.
Brighten up the room and get your favorite educator a plant! Since you don't want to accidentally stick them with EXTRA work, go with a succulent. They don't need to be watered as often, which means your gift won't accidentally be a burden.
While you can typically buy succulents at the local farmer's market or grocery store, Etsy also has a wide array of plants to choose from. They range in price from $5 to $25.
9. Spa Day
Perhaps this is one that would be best as a "class gift" where everyone pitches in, or as a holiday party prize, since it's a bit pricier. That said, it would be hard to find a person who wouldn't love a day of pampering. As we've mentioned before, teaching, while rewarding, can be incredibly stress-inducing — not to mention the amount of time spent standing. A break and a chance to feel rejuvenated goes a long way.
Spa days can range in price from anywhere between $60 to $250 depending on where you go and what city you live in.
10. Your time
Last but certainly not least, give your favorite teacher your time. Nothing is better than classroom volunteers. Some teachers like visitors who are hands on and can pull students out for extra help with reading and math. Other times, they may want someone to come in and grade papers or organize the classroom libraries. Find out what would be most helpful for your favorite teacher and make the commitment to get it done.
And of course, don't forget to tell your favorite educator how much they mean to you and — as they ask their students — why.