There are many articles out there about what to get and not to get teachers. I often get asked this question as well since I am(was) a teacher and have two children of my own.
Most teachers do not expect to get anything from their students, but truly appreciate whatever you give them. But, just know that the space in classrooms to store gifts is very limited. I have a few items that I have kept over the years, two are poems about being a teacher that were framed. This goes against most of what you read about teachers. But, these were both given to me by students after they had left my classroom. They were given 1 or 2 years later and they came back to say thank you. This is when a teacher gift means more, this means that you have touched that child beyond the academic year. Beyond that I have gotten rid of everything that was given to me with the word teacher on it. (Sorry to anyone who gave me these gifts). I typically keep them on my desk for the rest of that school year and then donate them.
One of my favorite gifts I was given was a basket of cleaning and teaching supplies. Yes, you read that correctly. It was filled with Clorox wipes, tissues, sharpies, glue sticks, and other things to use in the classroom. You may think as a parent that this isn’t a good gift, but as a teacher it means less money out of my pocket to buy these items that we use in class. I have also gotten gift cards to teacher stores (Teacher Pay Teacher gift cards would be a big hit with many teachers), Amazon gift cards and even grocery store gift cards. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on their classrooms.
Over the years I have collected all the cards and letters that have been written to me by both parents and children. Not the “I love you teacher” things that the children bring in, the ones that someone took time to sit down and write. The cards and letters that say thank you for making me feel special. Thank you for helping my child love to learn. Those that said you noticed that I put time and energy into helping the child grow as a person. I have printed out e-mails and saved the cards. Taking the time to sit down and put your appreciation on a paper is the best gift you can give a teacher. And, if you really want to make a teacher smile… send a copy to the principal.
As to what I typically get my children’s teachers it changes over the year. I typically get gift cards and chocolate (good chocolate like Lindt truffles or Ghiradelli squares). For gift cards I tend to stick with things that many people would like (grocery store, Target, Amazon, unless I know a place they enjoy eating at or shopping at).
One important thing to remember with teachers, it’s not how much you spend, its the thought behind the gift. Teachers understand that this time of year is expensive. Teachers know… but they also appreciate!