The Best Teacher Gift: What to Get and What to Avoid


A girl handing a gift to her teacher. As the end of the school year approaches, lots of moms ask about what kinds of gifts to get teachers. Having been a teacher for many years before I was a mom, I figured I would address this very common question before any mom goes out and spends a precious dollar. If you want to know what teachers really want and need, let’s start with what not to get a teacher.


While we hate to sound ungrateful or rude, we definitely, for sure, positively do not need another mug. A mug that says #1 Teacher or World’s Greatest Teacher is probably the last thing we need. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the sentiment and don’t enjoy our caffeinated beverages. We really do. Well, it’s just that we have 75 of them already, and the cabinet space is just lacking for a whole collection. We still love you and your child, but no more mugs. Ever. Like ever ever. Even if it’s super cute.

But we wouldn’t mind a fancy water bottle or Starbucks gift card.


Hallmark is the devil, we know. They make these adorable ornaments for teachers with the year and the rulers and stuff. They are amazing and so easy to buy. Just don’t get this for a teacher gift. Again, we love the ornaments! We have nothing against Hallmark or the sentiment but we have a gazillion of them. Our whole tree is filled with figures of teachers in neatly pressed skirts standing next to blackboards that say ABC. We don’t even have room for our personal ornaments. Seriously. Don’t buy us any.

Instead, try gifting a personalized classroom door sign that we can display.

Weird Books

As an English teacher, it’s hard to say no to a new book. I love books in all genres, but it gets a little weird when a book comes across my desk that is vaguely self-help or a little too personal. If you found the book in the self-help section, you should leave it there. While teachers have the summer off, most of us don’t want to spend it analyzing why you gave us a book about dealing with menopause when we are only 28 (true story).

A membership to Audible would be a great alternative.

Home Baked Goods

Your heart is in the right place; we definitely know this. Students bearing unidentified goodies is usually a bad sign unless you own a bakery. In that case, carry on.

But teachers will never turn down baked goods from a local bakery.

In all seriousness, there are LOTS of things teachers love to receive! Don’t let the “don’t” list put you off. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make us happy. We love a small gesture to show your appreciation. 

Thank You Cards

We love these and they are the best teacher gift. You don’t have to get us a gift to make us happy. A handwritten card with a sincere thank you is ALWAYS at the top of our list! Even better, please send a note to the principal letting them know how much you’ve enjoyed the school year!

Gift Cards.

Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, CVS, we love them all. $5 is more than enough for that Cold Brew with foam we need to help us face a classroom of children on Monday morning.

In short, teachers aren’t expecting anything at all, but we appreciate when you think of us. If you must get us a teacher gift, please follow the guidelines above or our cabinets may burst or worse…


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