teacher gifts with students giving teacher flowers

The time we thought would never get here is fast approaching. The summer, once seemingly endless, is coming to a close.

That’s right, we’re talking about back to school. And as we gear up for a return to the classroom — some to the warm embrace of friends and familiar faces, others to brand new environments — it’s important to start off on the right foot.

For parents, that means forming a healthy relationship with teachers and setting the stage for a school year to remember. After all, the best thing about the back-to-school season is “the excitement and energetic vibe that teachers and kids have,” says MacKenzie Colquitt, an English teacher at The Villages High School in Florida.

Back-to-school teacher gifts can make a good impression on classroom instructors and show them how invested you are in your child’s education. But what kinds of gifts do teachers enjoy? That, of course, will vary by individual, but we’re pretty sure any of these five crowd-pleasers would be a pretty safe bet.

1. Themed treats

Certain things will always be associated with school and teachers: Blackboards and chalk, apples and whiteboards, pens and pencils…the list goes on.

Now, we’re not saying you should go buy a totally cliché teacher gift. What we are saying is to try and have some fun with themed treats that capture the excitement and whimsy of school without being too on the nose.

From personalized stationery to colorful pails of delectable cookies (“Teachers love anything food,” Colquitt says), you have lots of choices when it comes to surprising teachers with quirky, school-themed presents.

2. Craveable coffee

Whether it’s pre-K or college, a universal truth applies: Teachers have to keep up their energy level for long days of instructing and grading, not to mention everything going on in their lives outside the classroom. Not all teachers indulge in the magical elixir that is coffee, but for those who do, the gift of caffeine is hard to beat.

teacher gifts with teacher reading book and drinking coffee

A gift card or specialty roast from a local shop is a great way to go, as are bags of whole bean or ground coffee. And don’t forget a vessel to drink the coffee out of. Teachers can never have enough mugs.

3. Sweets and snacks

Many teachers keep food in their bags or desks for those extra-long school days, special occasions, or unpredictable cravings. By gifting your teacher sweets or snacks that will provide them with a pick-me-up for those times when their energy level flags, you can help ensure that not-so-secret stash doesn’t diminish too quickly.

Thoughtful collections of chocolates, fruits, or luxuriously dipped strawberries are a fantastic way to establish a connection and appeal to your teacher’s sweet tooth. Plus, these gifts can be shared with his or her friends, family, or co-workers.

4. Teacher gifts for outside the classroom

Hard as it may be to believe, teachers do have lives outside of school. Shocking, we know.

There’s something extra thoughtful about giving teachers gifts they can enjoy on their own time. In fact, some teachers may prefer it. Colquitt specifically remembers one such gift. “I had a parent send me a personal charcuterie board from a local place,” she says, “and that was literally amazing.”

From gourmet foods to a well-appointed gift basket of classier eats, lavishing them with something they can enjoy outside the classroom is a fantastic idea. Or consider gifting them a self-care package stuffed with relaxing goodies that are sure to make the school year just a little less stressful.

5. Schoolhouse style

Bring a little style and fun to the classroom by giving your teacher something colorful and functional. Whether it’s a fashionable crossbody bag ready to tote laptops, papers, and books or a personalized pen and pencil holder that will help your instructor stay organized, sprucing up a teacher’s space and workflow can work wonders.

No matter how you choose to do it, showing appreciation for teachers is a valuable gesture. It demonstrates that you care, you want to establish a relationship, and your teacher and her class are important to you.

3 ideas for back-to-school teacher gifts

Make going back to school extra sweet and special with these thoughtful and functional gifts.


Hanna Marcus is the founder, head copywriter, and brand voice specialist behind the copywriting company Boundless Copy. Seven years as a copywriter, six years as a journalist in the newspaper industry, and a lifetime of being an extrovert taught her that all the best writing starts with sharing a good story. Sharing words that connect people and make them feel something remains her primary mission as a writer — no matter what she's writing about.

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