Parenting

14 Teacher Appreciation Week gifts that show you care

Show your appreciation with thoughtful and useful gifts.

Woman wearing face mask standing over young girl who is also wearing a face mask, while holding pencil and sitting at a desk in a classroom with other students Credit: Getty Images / FatCamera

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School this year has been frustrating for everyone. Teachers have gone from virtual instruction to in-person and back again, all while keeping your kids engaged and on track with their learning. Teacher Appreciation Week starts on May 3 this year, so if you'd like the educator in your life to know that you appreciate their hard work in these trying times, here are some ideas for gifts that show you care.

1. For the teacher who has made an impact: A framed note from your child

Walnut Personalized Frame
Credit: EcoEngrave

Life's most precious memories should be preserved in a beautiful frame.

There is nothing like the words of students to remind a teacher why they got into this in the first place. Using specific examples of times when a teacher went above and beyond to make your child feel seen or help them tackle long division will make all the Zoom calls and socially distanced lessons feel worth it. A personalized picture frame will give your child’s words some lasting power.

Get a custom engraved wooden frame at Etsy starting at $24.99

2. For the teacher who loves to read: A Barnes & Noble gift card

Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Credit: Getty Images / Ivan Pantic

There couldn't be a better gift for a teacher than a good book.

Most teachers are readers. Whether they are looking for a great mystery, a vegan cookbook, or a chance to bolster their classroom library, Barnes & Noble gives a whopping 20% educator discount.

Get a Barnes & Noble gift card

3. For the teacher who needs some TLC: Calming shower steamers

Calming Shower Steamers Gift Set
Credit: Uncommon Goods / Getty Images / Cunaplus_M.Faba

A hot shower mixed with some aromatherapy sounds like a great way to decompress.

If there is ever a time to “treat yo’ self,” this is it. These calming shower steamers are made in California and can turn any bathroom into a spa-like atmosphere. The essential oils will calm, uplift, and relax any weary teacher’s soul. Wrapped up like sweets, they are beautiful to behold and can also be used as body scrubs.

Get a set of 5 Calming Shower Steamers at Uncommon Goods for $28

4. For the teacher who has everything: Personalized pencils

Lillian Vernon Customizable Pencils
Credit: Lillian Vernon

These vibrant customizable pencils are sure to leave a lasting impression on your child's instructor.

Teachers always need pencils, why not purchase some with a little personality? A student will always know where to return the pencil, or perhaps your teacher will be happy for students to hold on to them as a keepsake of their time in their classroom—which was likely limited this year. You could even add some humor by having a teacher’s catch phrase printed on them. (“Kiss your brain!” is one beloved kindergarten teacher’s favorite expression.)

Get a set of Personalized Pencils at Lillian Vernon for $12.99

5. For the teacher with recess duty: Sun protection

Full Spectrum Sun Silk Drops
Credit: Coola

This is the ultimate protection for teachers that participate in outdoor activities with their students.

Now that educators are back in person, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors supervising socially-distanced recess. These highly rated Coola sunscreen drops can be added to any moisturizer or foundation to provide protection throughout the day.

Get Full Spectrum Sun Silk Drops at Coola for $46

6. For the bookish teacher: A customized stamp

Book Belongs Dots Custom Stamp
Credit: Paper Source / Getty Images / Alexander Kuzmin

There's no way a book can get misplaced with this cool gadget!

Teachers love to lend out books from their classroom libraries and while a custom name stamp can’t ensure that books get returned in a timely manner, at least students (and parents) won’t be left wondering “Where did this come from?” when they find it buried in their own bookshelves. Some lively colored ink pads would really complete this gift.

Get the Book Belongs Custom Dot Stamp at Paper Source for $29.95

7. For the hip teacher: A succulent gift box

Mini succulent gift box
Credit: JTrockandlotus / Getty Images / Linda Raymond

What a great way to thank the teacher that aided in your child's growth this year.

I generally steer people away from “Best Teacher Ever!” gifts, but this lovely little thank you gift box, designed with teachers and mentors in mind, is stylish and appealing. The plant will brighten any desk space, the candle will bring calm, and the attractive note is bulletin board-worthy.

Get the Thank You for Helping Me Grow gift box at Etsy for $31

8. For the health-conscious teacher: A fresh, crisp apple

Credit: Harry & David

This is an interesting new way to present a simple, yet traditional gift.

It doesn’t get more classic than an apple for the teacher. When it comes to delivering fresh fruit, Harry & David has it down to an art. This cleverly packaged snack will certainly bring a smile to your teacher’s face. And most teachers would rather snack on something nutritious and energizing than overly processed sweets.

Get the “Awesome to the Core” gift box at Harry & David for $12.99

9. For the teacher on the go: An everywhere belt bag

Everywhere Belt Bag at Lululemon
Credit: Lululemon

The typical fanny pack just got a major upgrade.

OK, OK, so it’s a fanny pack! But who doesn’t want a place to keep their phone, wallet, and keys, not to mention whiteboard markers, pencils, and hand sanitizer? Lululemon makes this stylish Everywhere Belt Bag that's perfect for teachers on the go.

Get the Everywhere Belt Bag at Lululemon for $38

10. For the crafty teacher: Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2
Credit: Cricut

Help your child's favorite teacher to express their creative side in and outside of the classroom.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a splurge, which makes it perfect for a group gift. Your educator will be able to turn their classroom into an Instagrammable wonderland with all the fun and fancy designs this magic machine can cut out of paper, vinyl, or cardstock.

Get the Cricut Explore Air 2 for $199.99

11. For the organized teacher: An Erin Condren planner

Teacher Lesson Planner
Credit: Erin Condren

Help your child's teacher to optimize her organizational skills with this amazing planner!

For the crème de la crème of lesson planners, look no further. Erin Condren is the queen of the agenda, and every teacher I know covets this planbook. With sturdy construction, trendy designs, a full year of lesson planning, checklists, pages for notes, snap-in accessories and interchangeable covers, the organized teacher in your life will definitely feel appreciated with a gift of the hot-off-the-press 2021-22 Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner.

Get the Teacher Lesson Planner at Erin Condren for $55

12. For the remote teacher: Blue light-blocking glasses

Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Credit: LNEKEI

These blue light blocking glasses are perfect for the educator that teaches remotely through a screen.

For teachers who have to look at a screen all day, blue light-blocking glasses are an attractive way to bring some relief to tired, strained eyes. They’re lighter than regular glasses and offer three different styles in a package. No one has time for the pain (or eye strain), especially not a busy teacher.

Get 3 pairs of Blue Light-Blocking Glasses on Amazon for $16.98

13. For the teacher with kids: An illustrated family portrait

Personalized Family Portrait
Credit: Fifidesignsuk

What a cute and original way to show gratitude!

While teachers who spent a lot of time at home this year are happy to be back in person with their students, it can be an adjustment to be away from family all day. These illustrated family portraits add a touch of home to the classroom. (They come as a digital file, so be prepared to find a local print shop).

Get a Personalized Family Portrait at Etsy starting at $31.84

14. For the practical teacher: A fresh set of Sharpies, felt tip pens, or Expo markers

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens
Credit: Paper Mate Store

Every instructor needs a reliable pack of pens to grade with.

Many teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, forcing Sharpies and other much-needed supplies to stay in rotation long after their best days are behind them. My personal favorite are classic Paper Mate felt tip pens. They write so smoothly, don’t smudge, and have a cheerful authority. Sometimes, it’s the most practical gifts that really show you “get it”—and care.

Get a package of 12 Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens on Amazon for $10.13

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