Last Minute Teacher Gift Ideas: Teacher Appreciation Week


Teacher Appreciation Week is next week, and have I prepared anything for my son’s teachers? NOPE. 

I do this every year. Every. Single Year. 

Early in the month I daydream about the cute, personalized things I will do for my son’s teachers. Then, I get busy. I forget. Time escapes me. And here we are…a few days away and I have to scramble. 

As a former teacher, I feel like this really should not be so hard, and it isn’t….I just get soooooo busy and this task gets moved to the bottom of the list, until it is only a few days away. 

So if you are like me and need some ideas to make your children’s teachers feel as special as they deserve, here are some last minute gift ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week from a former teacher and a procrastinating mom. 

Teacher Gift Ideas

  1. Pens– Teachers LOVE pens. But not just any pens. Flair Pens or Sharpie Pens tend to be the favs. All colors!
  2. Bottled Water– Sounds weird, maybe. BUT as a teacher, I was always so thankful for the parents who gave me a case of water to keep in my classroom. I could save them for when I forgot a drink, or give them to a kiddo who needed one. 
  3. Gift Cards– Amazon, Teachers Pay Teachers, Walmart, Target, Academy, Lowes, local restaurants…any of these will do! Teachers spend a lot of their own money in their classrooms, so items like this, it can be a small amount, even $5-$10! The amount is not important, any little bit is appreciated by teachers. This is my go to teacher gift idea, and as a teacher, it was one of my fav gifts. 
  4. Healthy SnacksGranola bars, trail mixes, protein bars, etc. Teachers often do not have time to eat. Even during lunch breaks we are sitting at our desk grading or sending emails and just don’t have time to get our lunch from the break room that is sooooo far away from the classroom. So having some healthy snacks on hand is a real treat!
  5. Coffee– It is cliche, but statistically likely your teacher contacts like coffee. If you know they do, a gift card to a local coffee shop is a great idea or maybe a bag of coffee.
  6. School Spirit Gear– School spirited shirts and other items are a great gift! Teachers love to show their school spirit but that isn’t always in their budgets.
  7. Homemade Gifts– I still have a book mark a student made me, a painting from another student, and other cute art work. I won’t lie, after a few years I did have to throw some items away, just like I do not keep all of my son’s art work. I have kept a handful of things though, and for the years I keep what I can, I enjoy those special made gifts and always think of my students when I see them or use them. I especially love a book mark a sweet student name Emily made me! She is in high school now, and I love thinking of her when I use it to make my place in a book.
  8. Heartfelt Thank You Cards– A thank you card from a parent or student truly expressing how much they have impacted your child’s life can be the BEST gift. Stuff means nothing- it’s all about the heart, and teachers have pretty big ones. Teachers need to know they are making a difference. Even if you do not provide a tangible gift and “just” send a thank you card, trust me, that is more memorable than the chocolate we also love to stuff in our faces. I still have a box of thank you cards that students and parents wrote me, I will treasure these forever.
Example of gifts I have made before. Tin buckets from Walmart, filled with granola bars, protein bars, jerky, gum, etc. I was able to make 6 of these for about $25.

Teacher Gifts to Avoid

  • Apple themed stuff- It’s been done before, and then again, and again. A real apple would be cool though! 
  • Sweets/Desserts- Everyone gives teachers sweets and goodies, and teachers LOVE them! BUT there is no way a teacher can eat as much as they are given. I have had to throw away so many delicious treats even after gorging myself and sharing with everyone I knew. If you do want to give a teacher a sweet treat, make it a single serving or a very small treat, don’t give by the dozens. 
  • Coffee Mugs- Don’t worry, we have 100 of them, and maybe even a few more at home. But trust me, we will still take them if you do gift them…we love them regardless! 

Don’t Forget ALL the Teachers!

I was a middle and high school educator for 12 years. I was always so shocked when students would deliver a gift for each teacher, that was 8 teachers! That means their parents got 8 gifts per kid. I was always in awe and felt so special. 

My son is in 2nd grade, and I know he has a homeroom teacher who we adore. But he also has a PE teacher, art teacher, music teacher, and technology teacher. Not trying to stress you out or make you break the bank, but if your child is in elementary/intermediate school, don’t forget the teachers who teach those special programs.

Again, it can just be a thank you card! 

Teachers never compare what parents and students give them, they never equate the amount spent on the gift with how special they feel, and they know life is hard and that time is a thief…they get it all. 

So no stress. I need to take my own advice and begin those thank you cards. 

To any teachers out there reading this: You are loved. You are treasured. You are shaping the world. THANK YOU.