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I love gift guides, because good gift guides introduce me to cool new things I would have never known about. In fact, one of my favorite gifts for my Mom I found from a gift guide: the Re-wined Candles!
However, sometimes gift guides can just be money-grabs by websites or companies that want you to buy their stuff – even if it’s not the right gift for that special person in your life. I’m not a Mom and I don’t feel like a lot of gift guides are aimed at me (gift guides for your best friend, I guess, but everyone is different!)
One gift guide area I do feel confident about? Gifts for teachers! And the gift guides out there for teachers? They kind of suck.
See, I used to work in education – I studied to be a teacher, found out it was SUPER hard and low-paying, then worked in a children’s library. My husband stuck it out and IS a teacher. Being a teacher is hard and the pay is low (Arizona is the lowest paid state in the nation for teachers at the time of this writing).
No teacher expects gifts. Not. At. All. If you can afford a gift, that’s very sweet of you and your kiddo, but never expect that you should get your child’s teacher something. No matter how low paid teachers are, it’s not up to you or your child’s gift to balance out their low pay.
THAT SAID. There are awesome gifts that really will make the teacher in your life’s life easier. I went straight to the source (my husband) for the actual BEST teacher gifts – recommended to you by a current teacher!
The Best Gifts for Teachers
1) Gift Cards
Gift cards are super easy – if you’ve got $10 to spare, a gift card to Target, a major coffee chain like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, or a gift card to Staples is an awesome gift. Unfortunately, teachers do spend their own money on supplies – in many states, it’s a fact that school budgets don’t even cover the essentials. When my husband gets gift cards to Target or Staples, he definitely uses it on the kids.
Gift cards to major coffee shops? Again, for the kids! Even though I try to steal my husband’s coffee gift cards, he usually uses them up on coffee runs before school starts. And trust me – he teaches middle school. He desperately needs coffee.
One thing we really love that won’t get spent on the kids? Gift cards to movies! It’s one thing we can use together, and it’s nice to get out of the house to see a movie. Movies are expensive and aren’t something we regularly do, so it’s a true treat.
Tip: Use Swagbucks to get gift cards completely free! I’ve been using Swagbucks for just over a year, and I’ve earned over $100 in gift cards. Give your kid’s teacher a gift card for free by using Swagbucks!
2) Home-Cooked Goodies
Okay, this is one of those “every teacher is different” things, so if your teacher is diabetic or you know she or he doesn’t eat sugar, skip this one. For all other teachers… HOME-COOKED GOODIES ARE THE JAM!
Need some home-cooked goodies inspiration? Click on over to my holiday-themed truffles and cake balls post!
Seriously, my husband and his coworkers tear up home cooked goods, so much that I rarely get any leftovers when he gets home. Teachers are just like regular office workers: they freaking love baked goods.
If you make a mean plate of brownies, 5 bean chili, or box of truffles, this is perhaps one of the cheapest gifts you can give to your teachers. Depending on the ingredients in your recipe, you can probably make a big batch (one for each of your child’s teachers, or some for the admin staff and nurse!) at a very low cost.
Don’t have all the necessary pans to make delicious cookies or bars? I got you covered with our favorites below!
3) Glade Plugins or Bath and Body Works Plugins
Especially in middle school, kids can… well, smell. Maybe they’ve come back inside from recess or PE, and maybe they haven’t figured out how deodorant works. Regardless of why the kids smell, they just have a tendency to stink up a classroom
Glade plugins are much cheaper than the Bath and Body Works ones, but the Bath and Body Works diffusers have a lot of unique smells. If you want to splurge, the Bath and Body Works diffusers are a great gift! If not, Glade does an excellent job as well.
My husband’s favorite? The Apple-Cinnamon smell! He says it’s powerful and does the best job of eliminating smells.
4) Gifts from Your Teacher’s College or University
Does your child’s teacher love the school he or she attended? Your kid will know if the teacher displays his/her college diploma or other school memorabilia on the walls.
Many teachers are proud of their degrees, as they should be, and some may be big fans of their school’s basketball or football teams. Get your kid’s teacher a pennant/flag from their school, a mug with the school logo, or mini football with the school logo.
5) A Gift Subscription for the Classroom
Scholastic magazines are a good one for history teachers, and there’s probably some sort of classroom subscription you could pay for in every subject. Obviously, make sure it fits your budget – it might even be something you could split with other parents.
Really any educational magazine geared to students are great, affordable gifts for teachers. When kids have free reading time, an educational, kid-appropriate magazine (like Highlights magazine) is a great way for kids to learn in a fun way. Just avoid any political magazines. Educational magazines related to science, math, history, language arts are all great!
Want to get a magazine just for the teacher? Scholastic Teacher is a good option!
Literally, anything with coffee (or tea if they are so inclined) is a great gift idea for a teacher. Teachers are up early and stay up very late into the night making sure their students are cared for and getting the proper tools for their education. Giving them some well-earned coffee is a great way to say thank you.
This is a great set that says thank you and also shows you put some thought into it. Check it out here.
Teacher Gifts You Should Avoid Giving to Your Child’s Teacher
For the love of all that is good in this world, please don’t gift your child’s teacher homemade mugs, plates, pillows, wall art, etc. Your kid is wonderful but your child isn’t ours – we won’t take care of something homemade the way a Mom and Dad would.
Most of that stuff breaks easily, too, and I don’t want to clean any more exploded homemade mugs out of the dishwasher again. We have enough mugs. The exception is mugs from your teacher’s college/university – those are cool!
Teachers Don’t Get Into Education for the Gifts
The takeaway I want to leave you with is: teachers aren’t greedy. If you see gift guides out there that make you feel like you have to get all Pinterest-crazy to make THE BEST or most expensive gift – no! That’s not the point. Good teachers are selfless and, for the most part, love gifts that help their students.
It’s sometimes annoying to me because I’d like to enjoy my husband’s goodies, but the truth is he and his fellow awesome teachers are happiest when they can give back to their classrooms. So if you make a delicious freaking brownie (or truffles!) and pair it with a $10 card to Target – you’ve just made your teacher’s day.
Was this gift guide for teachers helpful? Are you a teacher – do you agree or disagree with this list? What have you gotten for your favorite teacher in the past?