1. Classroom supplies: I asked a teacher friend what she thought would be a good gift, and her first answer was dry erase markers! Teachers are responsible for their own supplies, so anything you send in puts money in their pocket. This time of year, classrooms need tissues, hand sanitizer and wipes. Board games and books are gifts the whole class can enjoy, as long as they are age-appropriate and the class doesn’t have them already.
2. Gift Card: One good way to get teachers the supplies they need — or anything else they want — is to give them a gift card. and are stores where teachers spend a lot of money. If you are looking for something small to send in to the teachers, a $5 gift card to or will buy them a cup of coffee or two. If you want to give something more extravagant, or you are pitching in as a group, a restaurant gift certificate is always appreciated. )
3. Food: Just like the rest of us, teachers are busy this time of year. And just like the rest of us, they still have guests coming over and people to feed. has gift baskets of gourmet food, and boxes of chocolates that teachers can share or keep to themselves. Even a crate of clementines from the supermarket makes a nice gift that can also ward off the cold germs the kids have already gifted them with!
4. Your time: Okay, so this is less of a holiday gift, and more of a general, all-year suggestion. Teachers spend a lot of time doing things that aren't strictly teaching, like photocopying and cutting out shapes to be used in craft projects. Offer to take on one of those tasks. If you can't come into school, sometimes the teacher is able send work home to you, but they probably won't ask unless you offer. So ask the teacher — or room parent, if you have one.
5. Note of Appreciation: One of our readers gave what I think was the best suggestion of all. “Coming from teacher, a handwritten note from the child or parent telling what the child has enjoyed and learned is worth far more than any gift that could be given. If you feel the need to do more, write a letter to the principal or superintendent telling them about your experiences in the class, it will go into their file and stay with them far longer than any other token of your appreciation.”