So, you have a teacher in your life. Maybe it’s a family member, a significant other, or maybe you just really want to do something nice for your child’s educator. What you DON’T want to do is hand them something cliche and useless (we teachers really don’t need any more coffee mugs, I promise). Thus, I present to you a gift guide compiled by an actual educator that will show you HOW to give teachers time and money this holiday season.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I personally use and love, or think my readers will find useful.
Teachers Pay Teacher Gift Card
If you’re not familiar with teacherspayteachers.com, it’s a website that sells teaching resources created by teachers. There are very few educators I know who are unfamiliar with this website. In fact, my colleagues often hit up “TPT” first when planning units.
Because these units and lesson plans are created by teachers who have tested them in their own classrooms, these resources are usually of high quality.
When you gift a teacher a Teachers Pay Teachers gift card, you’re not just giving them the means to acquire a new lesson plan. You’re giving them the ultimate gift: time.
I personally pour hours into planning my units and lesson plans. Once you have the outline of a unit mapped out, you still often have to create worksheets and materials that will be used with it.
When I buy a resource on teacherspayteachers.com, I’m really buying hours of my life back. These hours are ones that your special teacher would rather be spending with their loved ones, especially over the holidays.
This is probably the most straightforward way to give teachers time and save them money.
Obviously, books and teachers are the peanut butter and jelly of the educational world. They’re a classic combination. But they’re also a resource of which no teacher can have enough.
By gifting books, you’re saving teachers time and money directly. They don’t have to go scour Goodwill or used bookstores for deals. And they’ll have more money for other books down the line.
If the teacher you’re buying for is the kind that lives and breathes his job, or she’s in her first or second year of teaching, she’d probably love a professional development book. These books help us get better at our jobs, find new teaching strategies, and keep us updated about the field. They are, however, often pricey.
When I finally get that tiny teacher check, the last thing I want to spend it on is–you guessed it–teaching. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read those books. I just hate paying for them. Here are a couple of recent professional development books that your educator might love!
I did a book study of this one with colleagues and went to a workshop with Penny Kittle (twice!). The ideas and methods are solid. If your teacher teaches reading, literature, or writing, this is a great pick.
This will give your teacher a whole year’s worth of unit ideas that will turn students into stronger readers and writers. Plus, the two teachers that wrote it taught in very different schools. Therefore, each unit and lesson is presented in multiple ways.
I discovered Cornelius Minor when I saw him speak at a conference. He is incredibly passionate about education. His words inspire and empower. Plus, the book itself is just pretty. Pick this one for any educator teaching in a high-poverty school.
It’s a pick-me-up for any educator!
If your educator has a classroom library (or wants to start one), this is a great gift idea. Not only can your teacher read the book herself, but she can then put on her shelves for her students (saving her money on classroom materials).
There are so many great titles (and I have quite a few book reviews on my website). Here are a few titles that both adults and teens love!
This dystopian is a can’t-put-it-down read. I’ve recommended it to adults and students and no one has told me that I failed them yet!
You can read my review of Scythe here.
Actually, order yourself a copy too. It’s that good.
More importantly, though, adults love it too. I predict that this book will become an American classic. If the teacher in your life hasn’t read it yet, she should. And if she has, having multiple copies of this one isn’t a bad thing.
The beauty of Internment is that it’s not just for Engish teachers. Like The Hate U Give, it touches on relevant political issues today.
Any educator would enjoy spending her time with this novel before handing it off to students to read and analyze.
You can check out my in-depth review here.
Wine. Tons of wine. (Or a gift card to a wine place). I love hearing stories about teachers scrambling to hide wine parents or kids give them. It’s hilarious.~ Yaddy, teacher and owner of Yaddy’s Room
The gifts I think were the most touching for me were the handmade notes my students gave me. I save them all and read through them when I get hit with a bout of teacher blues.
I also think any gift card to an office supply store or bookstore are amazing gifts. We use a lot of our own money to enrich student learning that it’s always awesome when parents or students give them to us.
I hear from so many teachers that they want more time to read, but they just don’t have it. Cue the audiobooks.
An audiobook can be played at the gym, on the commute to work, or while doing chores at home. Their popularity is growing, but they often cost more than a plain old paperback.
Audible, however, has an incredibly inexpensive audiobook subscription package. Just head to the “give a gift” section of the website and choose the duration of the membership gift.
These audiobook subscriptions will give teachers time and money back. Instead of having to find time to read, they can get it down at the gym or while grocery shopping. And it’s one less title they’ll have to pay for themselves.
You’ve just given a teacher time, knowledge, and entertainment.
You should probably reward yourself by grabbing a subscription for yourself, too.
When in doubt, an Amazon Gift Card never fails. This might not be the most exciting or “thoughtful” gift, but I’ve never seen anyone disappointed to receive one.
And take it from me–us teachers are broke, guys. Gift cards are always appreciated.
I think this one is pretty obvious: Amazon gift cards will certainly save teachers time and money.
If you want to avoid Amazon, or want a more personal gift, you can instead purchase your teacher a gift card for a local bookstore. (Or, you know, the local liquor store…)
I think gift cards are usually the safest, but my favorite gifts have been essential oil roller balls and homemade banana bread. For both of those the student made them themselves, so they felt more personal!~ Gina Kortuem, teacher and owner of AP Lit & More
This is a teacher staple. Even if your teacher is usually well-stocked on caffeine, she can share in the lounge. (It’s the fastest way to befriend colleagues!)
How does giving coffee save teachers time and money? The money part is obvious, but time….? Well, the caffeine allows us to up our productivity!
Coffee itself isn’t that hard to come by or that expensive. So if you go this route, make it special. I love Deathwish coffee and it’s perfect for any caffeine addict in your life. A cup of Deathwish coffee contains more caffeine than any other brand.
If your teacher is more of a Keurig gal, they even have K-cups.
I go through a lot of coffee. Plus I keep K-cups in my desk for emergencies. Oh, and I also buy some for the guidance office. You know, so they can make some in case of a coffee shortage, too. Coffee really does put a dent in the budget.
Every addict needs their hook up. Be that hookup and your teacher will be full of gratitude. Plus, she’ll be able to race through grading those worksheets before the jitters get too extreme.
A Custom Teacher Stamp
Us teachers write the same thing over and over again. Save your teacher some time with a customizable stamp. It’s unique, cheap, and will save her time and hand cramps. Plus, they’re pretty cute.
I’m a fan of this customizable stamp for teachers with classroom libraries to organize.
This stamp might be great for a special education educator or someone involved in interventions. It makes it easier to identify whether student work was done independently, or with some help.
Or, get really personalized with a custom illustration of your teacher. Here’s one that works for the male teacher in your life.
Give Teachers Time and Money
Time and money: these are two resources of which no teacher in existence has enough. By gifting any of the above gifts, you’ll be able to give teachers time and money. And that’s all we really want.
Now, go grab the perfect holiday gift for that special teacher in your life!