Surprise! They aren’t mugs, candles or bath kits!

It’s that time of year again! Teachers and Educational Assistants (EAs) are the closest things to superheroes (as you’ve all discovered during the Covid-19 period), but for whatever reason, it can be a challenge for many of us to find them a gift to express appreciation for them. These 10 teacher/EA-approved presents have the personal and practical elements they love. The best part? It’s really easy to make your teacher’s or EA’s day (or year), no matter your budget.

Helpful rule of thumb – When considering a teacher/EA gift, ask yourself these 2 questions: Will they use it? Will they use it before it has a chance to collect dust? If the answer is yes, then you are good to go.

One question you might be asking yourself is « Where/How do I give my child’s teacher or EA the gift since my child is not going to school anymore until September? » Well here are a few ways to do this safely:
1) Email your school’s secretary and ask if you can drop off a gift for a certain teacher or EA. If yes, make sure the gift is in a plastic bag with the teacher’s or EA’s name on it.
2) Email the teacher and arrange a safe/no contact drop off point.
3) Have the gift be delivered by mail to the teacher’s or EA’s house. Most of my gift ideas below can be bought and shipped.
4) Do an online gift and email it to them instead!

1. Everyone loves a good book

Perhaps your teacher introduced you to an author who just released a new book, or maybe you read a story that reminded you of something your teacher said in class. Books can be great gifts for teachers because you can make them personal. As for an example, I always was very enthusiastic when teaching about the solar system and/or the galaxy. During our Solar System unit, I’d incorporate videos made by Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, while he was in the ISS (International Space Station). It was very cool to see how things worked on the ISS (like how they brush their teeth, or take a shower, or even eat or do exercise). Very intriguing! That being said, one of my students bought me Chris Hadfield’s new book « The Darkest Dark » to put in our class library! So very thoughtful and personalized!

2. Go-to grading tool, but better

Teachers spend a huge amount of their time grading assignments, so giving them something to help with that process can be a great gift. Teachers also have a strange obsession with Sharpies (and stickers)!

3. Gift cards (very popular)

When asked what their favorite gifts are, teachers commonly place gift cards near the top, especially for places nearby so they can enjoy some quality time off-school grounds. Think coffee shops, restaurants, movie vouchers, spa, liquor store, etc. One great idea is to collect money from every student in the class and put it towards one gift certificate from the local shopping mall, that way the teacher or EA has the choice of what to buy from MANY different store options and for a good amount ($). An Amazon or Wayfair gift cards is always a good thing too!

4. Sponsorship or donation to a cause close to their hearts

Teachers tend to work within limited space and may feel guilty when a gift must be given away because they simply don’t have room to keep it. Donating in their name to a cause they support is a thoughtful gift that doesn’t take up any space. Very popular charities with teachers or EAs are SPCA, UNICEF CANADA and WWF Canada.

5. A sturdy tote bag

Teachers have a lot to haul to and from school. This gift is a simple gesture that shows you pay attention and care for your teacher, and it won’t go unappreciated.

6. A handmade plaque or decoration for the classroom

This is another fun idea for the DIY-minded. As with many of the other gifts in this list, the key to this is personalization. I’ve recently bought my child’s teacher a personalized doormat for her classroom. It says « Les amis de Mme Pike » (Mme Pike’s friends).

7. Credits on Teachers Pay Teachers

TpT is a site FULL of materials for teachers – all created by other teachers! See if your child’s teacher uses resources from TpT (most likely), and if so, then buy them credits. You’ll need to create a free account in order to check out, but you can easily delete it after paying.

8. Your time!

Offer to help your child’s teacher in any number of ways, some of which are very small but still needed!

  • Help organize a field trip. Details and logistics can be time-consuming for teachers!
  • Help during art class, especially with younger classes.
  • Organize the book orders from Scholastics.
  • Make photocopies.
  • Offer to come in about halfway through the year to organize the book shelves, binders, sharpen all of the pencils and other parts of the classroom that tend to get cluttered as the year goes on.
  • Offer to bring all of the toys or board games home to sanitize (and/or re-organize) them during the holidays (and again in Spring Break)! This is something that the teacher will really appreciate!

9. Personalized stamp or name labels

A personalized self-inking stamps and/or name labels for teachers or even EAs will add a touch of uniqueness and organization to the class that the students are sure to love!

10. Teacher Essentials Kit

Help your child’s teacher prepare for anything the day may throw at them with this thoughtful Teacher Essentials Kit. All you need is a plastic organizer , and a round up of goodies, such hand sanitizer, Chapstick, mints, Tylenol, a lint roller, hand lotion, a mini manicure kit, band aids, candy, and miscellaneous school supplies like construction paper and binder clips.

Happy Shopping!
IB
Founder of Mind Growth Education