Let’s be honest — teachers are not only the backbone of the education system but probably the closest thing to a superhero that you can encounter at a young age. They shape the minds and touch the hearts of future generations — talk about an important job! So when it comes to finding a gift, it can be a challenge to pick out something to express appreciation for someone who does so much.
We gathered a list of practical, thoughtful, and unique teacher gift ideas that teachers actually want from their students. Whether it’s the beginning of the school year, winter break, or Teacher Appreciation Week, you’ll be able to find the perfect teacher-approved gift no matter your budget.
What Do Teachers Really Want For Gifts?
When you buy a teacher a gift, you want to get something they actually want and will be useful to them. They probably don’t need another apple-shaped knick-knack or “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mug. So what is it that teachers really want?
To keep it simple, make sure your gift incorporates at least one of these categories:
Practical: Get your teacher something they’ll actually use like gift cards. Things that’ll be used up during the year (or could be used for the upcoming year) like classroom supplies are always appreciated, but considered more as a classroom donation.
Thoughtful: Getting a teacher something thoughtful like personalized accessories or an experience gift you know they’ll love will be very valuable and appreciated.
Simple: Teachers will appreciate the little things like tasty treats and handmade cards. However, you could spoil your teacher with an expensive gift by getting the whole class to pitch in.
Meaningful: Things like homemade cards or keepsakes from the school year will be something a teacher will cherish for years to come.
As useful as all of this information is, every teacher is different. You’ll need to get to know a teacher to understand their wants and needs. Have a teacher fill out this back-to-school questionnaire to find out what their wants, preferences, and needs are so you can provide them with the best gifts throughout the school year.
Practical Teacher Gift Ideas
There’s nothing more practical than a gift that can be used inside and outside the classroom. Check out this list of teacher gift ideas for the classroom that will most-definitely be appreciated and valued.
1. Fun Posters
Poster designed and sold by Risa Rodil
Honestly, most classroom walls are bland, pale and just straight up ugly (we know teachers would agree). To add some pizzazz to their classroom and gift them with a fun poster! There’s plenty of options to choose from that can feature anything from an inspiring quote, a funny pun, or a unique design. For teachers who love books, this book-lovers poster is perfect for the classroom or as a fun addition to the home.
2. Stylish Pens
There’s nothing like writing with a good pen (seriously, why is it so satisfying?!) Teachers can spend hours of their time grading papers, so give them a pack or two of stylish and smooth-writing pens to help make the process that much easier. Also consider getting a pack of different colored pens so there’s a variety of colors to choose from when teachers or other students are marking each other’s papers.
3. Face Masks
Mask designed and sold by Colordrilos
Since face masks are essential for teachers returning to the classroom, gifting masks is never a bad option. Leave the bland and unsustainable surgical masks behind and grab a few cloth masks for teachers so they can have a fresh one for every day of the week. The best part? There’s plenty of designs to choose from so a teacher’s personality won’t disappear behind a mask.
4. Desk Organizer
Gifting some trendy desk organizers can be a very useful gift for teachers. It’s simple yet practical and adds more personality to their desk and classroom. You could provide desk tidies, canvas organizers or a desk planner pad — whatever works for the teacher you are gifting for.
5. New Laptop Accessories
Laptop sleeve designed and sold by Camille Chew
For the most part, school has gone digital. So grabbing an accessory for their laptop like a nifty new sleeve or skin is both valuable and adds more personalization. Find out what a teacher enjoys and grab a laptop accessory that reflects just that.
6. Personalized Classroom Sign
If you are looking for a unique and thoughtful gift for your teacher, give them a personalized sign they can hang around their classroom. Add their teacher name or a personalized message to a wooden plaque, custom metal sign, or personalized banner — they’ll love to see it everyday in the classroom.
Clock designed and sold by eviebookish
Classrooms usually come with a standard clock, but those are generally boring and bland. Gift a teacher with a clock that reflects their personality, whether it be a punny reference to their favorite school subject or something happy like their favorite animal.
8. Cute Notebooks
Notebook designed and sold by highhopesclub
Back in the day, there was nothing like stocking up on all the school essentials, especially when you got to pick out cute notebooks for each subject — well, teachers still feel that way! Gift them some new snazzy notebooks that they can keep at their desk for all of their teaching and grading needs.
9. Sanitation Essentials
Sanitation supplies are always important in a classroom — especially in a post-pandemic society. Stock up on disinfectant wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer and give them to a teacher so they can have them handy at all times. To make these simple—yet very effective gifts more special, print these sanitation labels and tape them to each sanitation container.
Gifts For Days Off
To all the students out there — yes, teachers actually have lives outside of school. Finding out what a teacher’s hobby or interests are will help you get the best gift for them to enjoy on their days off. Use this lineup of out-of-the-classroom ideas to inspire your teacher’s gift ideas wishlist.
10. Water Bottle
Water bottle designed and sold by oshupatterns
Standing in front of a class teaching lessons all week has got to take a number on the throat, so give them a nice reusable water bottle to help keep hydration near. Find a fun design you know a teacher would like so they can take it anywhere they go.
11. Self-Care Package
Teachers work hard and long hours, so spoil them with a self-care package full of goodies to pamper and treat themselves. Include items like bath salts, face masks, cozy slippers, and other self-care tools to make sure a teacher is taking time for themselves on their days off.
12. Throw Blanket
Throw blanket designed and sold by TheLoveShop
You can never go wrong with a cozy throw blanket. Throw blankets can be used just about anywhere, whether it be cuddling up on the couch, on a picnic at the park, or even back in the classroom when it gets cold sitting under the air vent. Pick out the perfect throw blanket size and style that matches your teacher’s personality.
13. Experience Gift
A really thoughtful and memorable gift you could get for a teacher is an experience gift. Depending on the teacher’s interests, you could get them tickets to an interesting museum, the movies, and so much more! This is a great gift to have other parents help chip in on.
14. Travel Mug
Travel mug designed and sold by EduEly
With the amount of caffeine a teacher drinks, they are bound to have an extensive collection of coffee mugs. To help transport the unhealthy amount of caffeine they probably consume, gift them with a travel mug. Add a gift card to their favorite coffee shop inside for some extra flair.
15. Coffee Subscription Box
Another way to support a caffeine addiction is by signing a teacher up for a coffee subscription box! This is a super cool gift that offers a variety of brews, roasts, and exotic coffees to try. To go above and beyond you could even pair this with a cute mug and other accessories like frothers and coffee grinders.
16. Gift Cards
If you’re ever in doubt of what to give as a gift, a gift card is always the answer. Find out what a teacher’s favorite restaurant, retail store, cafe, or local attraction is and get them a reasonably priced gift card. Don’t forget to use this printable gift card tag to make it even more special.
17. Jigsaw Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzle designed and sold by salami-spots
Puzzles are fun side projects to take on after school or on the weekends. If you know your teacher is a jigsaw puzzle fan, gift them with a new puzzle to assemble. Even when it’s complete, they can frame the puzzle and display it in their home or in the classroom.
18. A Collectable
Does your teacher make a lot of Harry Potter references? Maybe you noticed a collection of toy cars on their desk. Adding something to their collection or gifting something referencing their fandom is a thoughtful gesture that is a really touching gift, as it shows you’ve been paying attention and picked out something special for them.
DIY Teacher Gift Ideas
DIY gifts are sometimes the most valuable and meaningful gifts of them all! From letters to homemade crafts, taking the time to make something for a teacher to show your appreciation will no-doubt be cherished. Check out these DIY teacher gift ideas so you can provide a simple yet loved gift for them.
19. Gratitude Card
Greeting card designed and sold by Annie Riker
Expressing your gratitude and appreciation for your teacher is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give them. Teachers love to see their students progress and growth, so a greeting card with a handwritten note letting them know they made a difference will be cherished forever.
20. Homemade Treats
Whether you have a mean cookie recipe or know how to make some delicious tamales, homemade treats are a way to touch not only a teacher’s heart but their stomach.
You could even include a note with a written recipe on the side so they can recreate it themselves so it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Just be sure they don’t have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
21. DIY Mug Garden
Whether you have a green thumb or not, making a mug herb garden is easy, fun, and makes for a unique gift for teachers — especially if they love to cook with fresh herbs! They’ll love looking into their kitchen windowsill to see a creative herb display that their student took the time to make for them.
22. Drawing or Picture
Kids drawings, especially ones done at a young age are adorable (and sometimes hilarious). Have your child draw their teacher a picture of their favorite memory of the school year.
Make sure you frame it and caption the drawing as young children’s artwork are complex masterpieces that only a child’s mind can fully understand.
23. Tote Goodie Bag
Tote bag designed and sold by Catarina Book Designs
Forget old school goodie bags or gift baskets — do a “tote goodie bag” instead! Give your teacher a tote bag and stuff it full of all sorts of goodies like school supplies, gift cards, coasters and more. This way, teachers won’t have a giant useless basket or box lying around afterwards. With all of the things teachers have to haul around anyway, a tote bag really comes in handy!
24. Funny Poem
Have your child write their teacher a poem about all the things they enjoy about being in their class and their favorite things to learn about in school. This way, they can see all their English lessons put into practice while getting some humorous insight on their student’s feelings about school.
Teacher Gift Ideas For the Holidays
As holiday break approaches, there’s pressure to get a gift for everyone in your life — including your child’s teacher. We’ve created a list of teacher gift ideas for Christmas as well so you don’t have to stress about it anymore.
25. Thoughtful Ornament
An ornament may be a standard holiday gift, but it’s a kind gesture that becomes a part of their holiday traditions every year. It’s timeless! To make it extra special, make it a DIY project or buy something that represents their favorite TV Shows such as Schitt’s Creek.
26. Cozy Hoodie
Hoodie designed and sold by AndyWestface
Gift a teacher with a nice lightweight or fleece hoodie to keep them warm during the winter break. Choose a holiday-themed design or something they can wear for the rest of the winter season — like a funny coffee pun to reflect their love of java.
27. Holiday Plant or Succulent
Show your teacher appreciation by gifting them a houseplant or succulent to take home. Plants make ideal gifts for your favorite teacher as they offer so many mood-boosting and air purifying benefits while lasting way longer than a bouquet of flowers. Don’t forget to add this holiday plant tag to make the gift even more special.
28. Funny Apron
Apron designed and sold by Sam Spencer
If your teacher enjoys cooking, baking, painting, or gardening, then a new funny apron is the perfect gift. Grab a cute or punny design from our apron collection to give them right before the holiday break so they can show it off during family gatherings or have it handy for their favorite hobbies.
Additional Teacher Gift Ideas
No doubt you’ve found something that a teacher in your life will love. If you’re still eager for more ideas, we’ve put together a few additional teacher gift ideas to either add to a gift basket or to pool together with other parents or students.
29. Personalized Pencils
30. Picture Frames
32. A Keepsake Booklet
33. Acrylic Block
36. Scented Candles
39. Bouquet of Flowers
40. Jewelry or Trinket
41. A Donation To a Charity of Their Choice
44. Blue Light Glasses
46. Cozy Slippers
47. Fun Socks
48. Specialty Tea Variety Pack
In a nutshell, teachers will love any gift that’s from the heart or blends practicality with thoughtfulness. Whether it’s the beginning of the school year or the last day of school, these teacher gift ideas will be cherished for years to come. Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of gifts at Redbubble so you can find the perfect gift for anyone in your life.