Best (and Worst!) Gifts for Teachers

by Desiree Miller

Best (and Worst!) Gifts for Teachers

What's a good present for a teacher? Teachers tell the best and worst gifts they've received

Your elementary child spends half of his or her waking hours mostly with one teacher. Show how much you appreciate the teacher who (second to mom and dad) is the most important person in your kid’s life. Choose a gift they will enjoy and appreciate as well!

To find out what teachers really want, we asked the teachers themselves to reveal the best and worst gifts they have received.

From a 3rd grade teacher in Georgia:


Any type of figurine; mugs (even if they’re filled with candy, but maybe ok if they’re filled with money!), or stuffed animals


Gift certificates of any kind, unique stationary (especially Post It notes), supplies for the classroom, donation to charity in the name of the classroom

Most of our teachers agree with these first examples. Plus here are additional ‘no-no’s’ and ‘yes, please’s!’ to consider when buying a gift for a favorite teacher


Candles (we stash them in a closet and it’s overflowing!), food (especially Christmas cookies adding weight at exactly the wrong time of year!), soaps (unless you're trying to tell us something), or dollar store items


Combined gifts: A single gift card from the entire class (VolunteerSpot makes it easy for one parent to coordinate the collection with easy online sign up sheets—one big gift card means a lot to a teacher’s budget).  Group gifts the entire class contributes towards are always well received;  for example, a gift basket themed around a favorite pastime of your teacher, handmade gifts from the children (especially letters), trendy personalized items such as monogrammed cozies or purses, etc.

Make sure to check out VolunteerSpot's Teacher Gift Ideas eBook for even more ideas on how to find the perfect gift for your child's teacher.

Included within this eBook: 

  • Seasonal gift ideas honor teachers throughout the school year
  • Handmade kid-to-teacher gift ideas that will show kids how to express their appreciation
  • A teacher approved list of the best and the worst gifts

The easiest way to know if your teacher will love the gift is to think about the teacher as a person; ask about their hobbies, likes or dislikes. If they golf or play tennis, love the beach or love photography, those are big hints. If you still need ideas simply think about what you'd love as a gift from your boss or colleagues and give it to the teacher.

Remember, a nice handwritten note about what they mean to you and your child is a super nice bonus!

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