The days of giving a teacher an apple are long gone, but the sentiment remains. Teachers work long hours, are generally paid a not so great salary and are entrusted with one of the most important jobs society has. What does this all mean? That come May 15th, the official Teacher Appreciation Day, you better believe we expect a little something. (Yes, we – take it from me, I am a teacher of English!)
Not all gifts are created equal, and sometimes parents just don’t have enough time to select the right gift. That’s why I’ve made you lucky readers the perfect gift-giving guide, complete with my honest opinions on these hand-selected presents that are guaranteed to get your kid that A + they deserve. Just kidding! You can’t buy better grades, but you can make sure that your English teacher feels appreciated this May.
A classic gift – who hasn’t spent countless hours perfecting your poetry on the fridge, when all you wanted to do was make a sandwich? This is the original magnetic poetry set, and it’s honestly a wonderful gift for any English teacher. We can use it at home, or in the classroom for many different activities. It’s a great way to promote learning and language acquisition through play. This set has over 300 words – meaning that it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Every year come March, I make it a point to teach my kids about a few women that have changed the world we live in. I know, we shouldn’t need a month to appreciate women, but it’s a perfect opportunity to explore some of the lesser-known people who have made our societies a better place through their ingenuity, perseverance, and knowledge. This is an amazing little book that makes my job a bit easier. It features several women in a dictionary/biography format that’s perfect for the casual reader. One look at this book and your student will never be the same – it has just enough information to hook them, and leave them wanting more.
I read for school. I read for pleasure. I read papers, articles, journals, and a million other things as an English teacher. This means basically that my backpack is the size of a small cave and has about 6 books-too-many on any given day. Want to lighten the load a bit? This Kindle Oasis Edition is a beautiful, glare-proof, and yes, extremely light solution to my back problem. Take it from me – there is no better gift than a book. But let’s be honest, it’s 2018. The past meets the future with this Kindle, and I know I would love to receive this little baby on my desk come May.
Let’s be honest – we teachers need at least one glass a wine a night after dealing with our kids all day. Why not toast to the educators with this hilarious wine glass? It’s stemless, which means you’d be reducing the risk of us having to explain that purple spill on your kid’s exam. A funny gift is always appreciated – it shows us that you can share in our pain, and that we are a team. A bottle of wine is also always appreciated, and this gift perfectly compliments that.
Remember when I said I read all the time? Well, I grade all the time, too. The truth is, my boyfriend, elected a strict lights-out policy after 11 PM – he works early. Sometimes I need to pull all night-grading parties (with myself), and a clever way to work around this lights-out policy is with a small, clippable book lamp. It doesn’t need an outlet and can last for hours (at least long enough for one sitting). I can snap it to my clipboard and presto! I’m reading to read papers about Shakespeare all through the night. Hurray for me! No, but really, this is a great, practical gift that literally every teacher could use.
I think all teachers are secret snobs. English teachers are the same, except it’s no secret. I even correct my mother’s grammar, and she speaks 12 different languages. It’s not a habit, it’s a tick! It’s what I’m paid for! It’s to improve the grammar of our youngest population! These are my excuses. I would love a silly gift like this mug that reads I’m silently correcting your grammar. In my case, it’s not-so-silent, but perhaps in the morning, before my morning coffee has kicked in, this mug could serve as a substitute for my silence. I love reminding everyone in the teacher’s lounge just who among us is the best.
I’m going to be honest here – for a young English teacher, a nice pen is not the greatest gift. It’s not original, or funny, or even really useful. These days, everything is digitalized, and if I am hand correcting, I need something erasable, or in a big fat red color (you know why). That being said, this pen set is very nice. I imagine maybe for an older, more traditional teacher who actually knows cursive, or as a retirement gift. Truthfully I don’t know who would like this pen… It does make me wish I tried harder at calligraphy. The actual set is very nice, and you can get it engraved with something personal for your teacher, so there’s that.
Oh, coffee. My love, my life, my sweet and warm morning cup of joe. I’ve had a long and torrid relationship with java. Yes, we’re codependent, but at this point, I don’t care what people say – I am a better person if I’ve had a few to drink before work. And during work. And during lunch break. Enter the mug warmer, a perfect gift for a coffee addict like me (or literally every other teacher you have ever had). I could keep this on my desk and leave it plugged in all day. Yes, it would be working hard, but so would I! We could be the greatest team. Don’t deny your educators their piping hot coffee, all day long.
If you’re looking for a companion gift for the mug warmer above, look no further. This is a sweet (maybe too sweet) 16-ounce portable coffee mug with a heart-warming saying printed on the front. It also comes with a card, which hijacks the serenity prayer to suit your most favorite teacher. I think this would be a great gift for a couple of parents to split – maybe as part of a gift basket. We can never have enough empty objects to fill with coffee.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Sometimes, teachers are just as bad at spelling as their students. Sure, we can hide behind our desks and podiums, but when it comes right down to it, I’ll bet we spell check just as frequently as our students. Want to save us some time and a little bit of humiliation when we’re writing something on the board? Enter the classic, word-a-day calendar, made by none other than the wordiest of companies, Merriam-Webster. Every day will present a new opportunity to stun and amaze our students with our academic prowess and depth of knowledge. Help to keep the charade going with this 365 new words a year calendar.
11. Double Hammock
I think teachers make up at least 50% of travelers in my country. Perhaps it’s because we’re naturally more adventurous, or have a stronger need to learn about foreign cultures and places. But really, it’s because of our guaranteed 2-month summer vacation. It lends us the opportunity to travel high and low on a shoestring budget (we’re teachers, not explorers). This simple, sturdy, and foldable waterproof hammock is an instant hotel room and the perfect gift for a young English teacher.
They say teaching is a thankless job. Well, that’s true and it isn’t true. I get thanks every day when I get through to a student – even if it’s just one, and even if it’s just for a moment. Appreciative parents can turn
the tide a bit and purchase this hokey but cute little trophy to show their gratitude. It even comes with a customizable plaque – perfect for retirement, tenureship or just to acknowledge a job well done. Also, this is pretty much guaranteed to make the other faculty members jealous – and we always need new gossip for the teacher’s lounge.
True story – I was once gifted a mug like this for Teacher’s Day. It was one of my first years teaching and I was still getting used to the idea that getting presents on this particular day of the year was OK, even expected. I had just received an expensive new e-reader when one of my other students handed me a mug very similar to this one. It was stuffed with candy – his favorite, he told me. At the end of the day, I realized it was the gift that touched me the most because while the mug was sort of ugly, he had filled it with his favorite things to share with me. That night I ate too much sugar and thought how lucky I was to be a teacher.
This is one of those super-simple items that you wish you had invented yourself. It’s a way to prop up a book. It’s great for display, for when you are following a recipe in the kitchen and don’t want to get your book dirty, and yes, for orating in front of a class. I have one of these in my classroom and every month I change the book out for another one we are reading together. This simple visual display is more than enough to draw the kids in the back of the classroom a little bit further front.
Another pen gift. You guys know how I feel about pens already, right? Well, this one has a nice Socrates quote on it, and if that isn’t enough to seal the deal, it comes with an LED light to help you…write in the dark? I don’t recommend that, it’s bad for the eyes. If I was gifted this, I would probably just use it to play with my cat.
This is the type of gift that is designed to melt even the frostiest of hearts. You can buy the book and have your child (or multiple students in the classroom) fill it out with descriptors of what they think of their teacher. 1, yay! We’re practicing descriptive adjectives, 2, it’s a very personal and thoughtful gift that I would be happy to receive and have on display (or have on my person for when someone accuses me of being a snob). Some gifts just keep on giving, and I think this could be among the best of them.
17. Tote Bag
You know, I really thought after college, my days of lugging around 300 school-related items were behind me. And then I became a teacher. (joke’s on you, lower back). Every year, I wear through one or two bags. I use them every day and they eventually show it. This is a nice gift to get your English teacher because it shows you pay attention to their daily struggle. The bag itself looks rugged and is plain enough to be called unisex. You can even have it monogrammed, so people on the subway will know you’re a teacher (and therefore a wonderful person).
If Indiana Jones had a portable journal, it would 100% look something like this. Actually, let’s assume he did have one, he was a professor after all. This leather journal set looks super vintage and cool, and folds up into a scroll-like shape so you can throw it in your bag, your pocket, or keep in your hand as you’re running away from a giant boulder (or as we call them in educational circles, final exams week). Honestly, this is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift that would be appreciated by anyone.
A nice, wooden bookmark with an inspirational quote about teaching. It may seem a bit out of date, but then again, we’ve all had teachers who themselves are a bit out of date. This one’s for that grey-haired golden hearted guy that still reads physical copies of books. The one hip thing about this gift is that it’s sustainably harvested in the United States of America.
20. F in English
For any hard job, you need a little bit of humor in your day-to-day. This book has made me actually laugh out loud more times than I can count. I received it as a gift one year and flipped through it and from then on I kept it on my desk for rainy days. It’s full of silly errors students have made – you’d be a true gremlin to not enjoy this one.
At the end of the day, what really counts is that the gift is from your heart. Yeah, I know, it sounds cheesy, but through my years as a teacher, I’ve learned to appreciate the small things. Parents not only trust us with their child’s education but with them. They dropped them off every day and give us faith that we will return them better people. It’s important to honor this, and there’s no better way than to give a gift – any gift for English teachers, as long as it’s your way of saying thank you.