Top 10 Gifts for TeachersWhat do you think are the best gifts for a teacher? Jamie will be putting some of your ideas together for a post on the eNotes blog. Here is her latest, "Top 10 Gifts for...

Top 10 Gifts for Teachers

What do you think are the best gifts for a teacher? Jamie will be putting some of your ideas together for a post on the eNotes blog. Here is her latest, "Top 10 Gifts for Readers and Writers."

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I receive a gift card to a books store, I am always thrilled.

I had one student as a ninth grader who every year thereafter has brought me chocolate chip cookies her mom makes during the holidays even though I no longer have this student in class. The cookies are the best, and getting to see the student is a pleasure with or without snacks.

Over the last four years or so, I have my students draw/write "Post Secrets." If you have never read, you should. Years ago Frank Warren started his project by giving out stamped and pre-addressed post cards to strangers asking them to write a secret they could not tell and mail it anonymously back to him. He has published several books. Some of the cards are loving, forgiving or life-affirming, while some are chilling. (It has been going on for six years now, I think...)

However, for my kids, I direct it to the age level (asking my high schoolers to keep it tame), and asked them to share their secrets: nothing inappropriate, and then I post them on the wall. (Kids from other classes, not my own, stop by between the bells to read the walls. We add more each marking period.) The cards are anonymous to everyone but me (as I use them for a few points extra credit at the end of the marking period: they put their student ID # and class period on the back).

The cards end up providing ideas for discussion and writing. Some of them are simple (still being afraid of the dark, or sleeping with a teddy bear). They also provide a sense of connection when students read a card about someone else's friend being mean or a parent moving out, when they are experiencing the same thing.

This past year, from the youngster of a fallen police officer, I received a book of Post Secrets on 4x6 index cards, placed in a photograph album. Some of the cards dealt with her loss, and some simply shared that she really liked vegetables, or that some kinds of noises annoy her.

Though it started as something for the kids, it became a something that I will always treasure: I can't spend it or eat it, but it is truly a gift that continues to give every time I open it, and I will always feel connected to that student.

I guess, as was shared earlier, the heartfelt, handmade gifts are the best gifts, and the connections we are able to make, the best rewards.

msmegmaynard eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kiwi, you are not alone! I am personally obsessed with new stationery! I relish the thought of back-to-school shopping, if only for the new pens and notebooks and other office supplies that most people don't care about. I am the teaching equivalent of the Office Space worker who loves his red Swingline stapler. Board markers in rainbow colors is a personal favorite, but I also love the stamps ("Way to Go!" or "Please Correct and Return") and the penspenspensepenspens!

Agreeing with previous posters, the sincere notes of recognition are awesome. I previously worked in a TEFL week-long school replacement program in South Korea. At the end of every week, students would write postcards to their favorite teachers. I kept all the ones I received in a shoe box and their sincere attempts, sweet comments, and broken English still warm my heart whenever I open that box.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I completely agree with auntlori -- my most treasured gifts from students are notes they write to me.  Sometimes their sentiments come as a very nice surprise and they certainly keep me motivated!  I have also liked small gifts that were connected to something we had done in class.  One student gave me a pack of cards that each had a quote from Hamlet on them.  Another student gave me an old copy (circa 1930) of a collection of Emily Dickinson's poems that she thought I would appreciate.  As a teacher of seniors in a very large suburban school,I don't get a lot of "teacher gifts" but those types of things are very special.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My number one idea that I think most teachers would like is a Kindle (or some other form of the same thing).  I think that most teachers (at the very least most teachers of literature and social sciences and such) love to read.  For most people who love reading the Kindle would be great because of how many books you can put on it -- easy access to lots of books without having to carry them around!

Outside of that, the only things I would want as a teacher aren't going to be available as Christmas presents unless Santa is real -- things like foolproof ways to get students interested in my subject...

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sometimes years after I have had a student in class, I'll get an email or a letter about how I have impacted them, and often times it's from a student I thought I missed or did not connect with.  Sometimes they highlight things I did or said that I thought inconsequential at the time, and it reminds me that I do have an impact.  And quite frankly, it makes up for a lot of lunkhead kids or irate/uninformed parents.  I print all of them, and every note that is given to me.  I have a box of them, and it's the best morale booster ever.

I'll take one of those over a material gift any day.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best teacher gifts from students or parents are notes or cards.--as auntlori and lmatcalf wrote.  The notes can sustain me during a tough time, and they don't make me fat.  Of course, I know this may sound corny, but the absolute best gifts are students that are a pleasure to teach--those that are polite, dedicated, enthusiastic, and cooperative. 

The best teacher gifts from family and friends are those that help me cope with the stress of teaching:  a good book, a bottle of wine, a scented candle, a few golf balls, a surprise trip somewhere special.


mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Definitely the cards with sincere notes--reminders to us when we feel unappreciated or unsuccessful.  There is one that I mention to others sometimes: A Korean girl was in ninth grade at our school and she gave me small gifts from her country along with her very poignant note. One interesting point that she made was how thrilled she was that I had assigned Great Expectations for the class reading.  For, she had read previously in Korean.  But, she remarked, to have read it in its original language was a much richer experience and so much more interesting.

mamape eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with everyone else - definitely letters and e-mails from students and their families.

My ultimate gift was a pot-plant from my group of students - I drink a lot of tea, and often forget to finish a cup when I have a busy lesson. I felt bad about pouring tea in the bin, as I didn't want to upset the janitor, and I muttered something about needing a plant one day... turned out they were listening! I loved the thought they showed in getting this present for me.

I'm still hoping to get a "best teacher" mug... but it's early days for that yet! :)

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite gift is a visit from a former student.  This is incredibly heart-warming for me.  For a student to take the time to do this after having moved on in life is a powerful affirmation for me that what I do matters.  Most of my classes are night classes, and former students stop by after working all day, to let me know how they're doing, to talk to the classes I am presently teaching, and to tell me how what I taught them is of use.  That is a true gift for me. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best gifts for teachers are gift cards to book stores or superstores like Target and Wal-mart.  Teachers don't get paid much, and we are constantly spending our own money on things for our classrooms.  Gift cards allow us to buy those things we need, either for our class or for ourselves.  There have been times when I used gift cards my students gave me for things like groceries, because I spent so much of my money early in my career when I was already broke.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree with everyone else.  I have a few letters and notes from students over the years and they are the best gifts I've gotten.  I particularly like the ones that have some constructive criticism along with perhaps more positive things.  That always makes me think they weren't just kissing up!

They just have to be sincere, that makes them far more valuable than a gift card or anything like that.

And sure, a Kindle would be nice too!

kmalone614 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite gifts have always been books, cards, pictures or notes that have to do with something a student learned in my class. Once I received a Christmas card with lines from Romeo and Juliet, and another time a student carved a piece of soap to look like me, like the children in To Kill a Mockingbird found in the knot in the tree. These were so dear to me because they show that the student cared and learned something!

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

it is irrelevant what the top ten gift items are for teachers. As a teacher in NYC public schools, we all received an email about accepting gifts from parents, courtesy of our mayor and school chancellor. It is generally frowned upon, and over a  very small amount,  illegal. Therefore, the only and best gift a teacher can get is when a student tells you years later about the impact you had on their lives and their future.

jashley80 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 I love getting handwritten/hand created notes or cards from students. It's really nice knowing that they took the time to make something or write out a letter (even misspelled!) to me.

 If it is something purchased, I believe that most teachers would appreciate gift cards to places like book stores, movie theaters, or target or walmart, where we can choose what we would like to get to pamper ourselves.

zihala eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, appreciate the notes of praise and thanks. (I have a file in my desk drawer where I collect them.) And I truely don't need/want anything else from my students. If, however, they want to give a small token of appreciation, make it edible. A little treat in the middle of the day is nice and never has to be carried home, dusted, re-gifted, etc. LOL

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As others I love those words which say thanks - oral or written. BUT in my material world it is - stationery!! Pens pens pens pens. Coloured notepads, fancy staplers, highlighters, erasers - the list goes on. I still get gel pens as a Christmas present each year. The love of stationery is a very close second to the love of teaching. Or is it just me? 

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because teachers generally do spend their own money on things for the classroom, gift cards are always welcome. I once needed a podium and had a parent buy one for my room, so things like that are appreciated. What I really hold dear is notes from students and/or parents--I'll take those over gifts any day.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I still have all the cards I have received in my time as a teacher! They are very special to me and provide me with valuable pick-me-ups when the lows of the rollercoaster of teaching come my way. Apart from that a Kindle, or heah, since it is Christmas, why not an Ipad! Let's go wild!

psmortimer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Handmade cards and whatnot from kids are always great. Otherwise, gift cards are the way to go, especially if they are for a department store with a wide variety of items. Some malls actually have all encompassing gift cards, which is great.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with many of the other posts--notes from students mean more than any other type of gift. I keep those notes/e-mails and read them again when I need to be reminded of why I teach.

Other than that, gift cards are my top choice!

Scott Locklear eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here is the post on the eNotes blog. Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions!

arrellbelle | Student

I think anything like office supplies should be suitable gifts for teachers. For example, sometimes teachers run out of these supplies because they misplace it, or they use it up too much, sometimes students even forget to give them back, or worse, students steal your supplies as well. So it's always nice if a teacher has back-up supplies and it shows how professional you are.

intel2003 | Student

At the conclusion of the semester, one of my students, who loved going back and forth with me, gave me a picture and a written letter.  In the letter, she said that she did not feel like she could relate to the other students, but she found me to be a person she could "bother" and still know that I wanted the best for her.  She went on to say that I was her hero and she would be applying to my almer mater with an early decision application.  I must say that this is the best gift that comes to mind.   

cvest | Student
Top 10 Gifts for Teachers

What do you think are the best gifts for a teacher? Jamie will be putting some of your ideas together for a post on the eNotes blog. Here is her latest, "Top 10 Gifts for Readers and Writers."

I think the best gift for teachers would be gift cards to book stores or teacher supply stores. Teachers spend so much of their own money on classroom supplies and every little bit helps. Gifts that would be able to help students would the most helpful. Teachers do so much for others that having the means available to keep doing for others is priceless.

crazyface22 | Student

i think it is the gift of learning

rbschreiber | Student

Other than a wonderful, personal note or letter of some sort, I love when a student gives me something personal, something related to a 'moment' we had or a discussion in class. As simple as something related to my favorite sports team I mentioned, or something related to the subject I teach. I enjoy having things around my room that remind me of certain years or students, and seeing the knick knacks or tsotchkes given to me by special individuals.


For example, I have a Build-a-Bear that was personally designed for me and really bears (get it?) a striking resemblance. I have a drawing a student made of me. Or, as a drama teacher, a Hollywood-style director's board. These personal gifts mean more to me than the ever useful Staples or Starbucks gift card.

mgraham71 | Student

Teachers love receiving gift cards, candles, bath goodies and even chocolate but the most treasured gift I have received over the years has been the respect of my students. Right before winter break, I sit down with my group of third graders and we talk about our wants and wishes for the holidays. I always end the discussion by having them volunteer an answer to the question, "What gift have you received by being in this class this year?" Presently, I have a student with a major anger management issue and he receives consequences daily for his outbursts, backtalking, etc. I always tell him how much I care about him and that I understand that he gets frustrated but there are other ways to take care of his anger. There is not a day that goes by that he does not get positive responses from me, even during the most tense, frustrating times. This past December, during our discussion on what gifts we have received this year, this particular young man raised his hand and when I called on him, he said, "You are my gift because you love me even when I do not like you and you always forgive me when I want to throw something at you. You always make me feel like it is okay to be myself but you make me want to do better too." How powerful! I will gladly take material gifts any day but the intrinsic reward of knowing that I am a positive force in a troubled child's life is so much better!!

profdotson | Student
Top 10 Gifts for Teachers

What do you think are the best gifts for a teacher? Jamie will be putting some of your ideas together for a post on the eNotes blog. Here is her latest, "Top 10 Gifts for Readers and Writers."

  Gift cards to places like Walmart, Kroger, and maybe


The reason I say this is because teachers spend their own money in their rooms and this would allow them to not be so overwhelmed in spending their own money.  Also I mention because many books are so cheap on that site and school systems rarely allow you to order from this site due to purchase order issues.

meganp0504 | Student

i love to give my teacher homade treats like fudge,gingerbread cookies,brownies,ricecrispies and stuff like that and they love it so it mostly depends on what they like .(chocolate)

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