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School this year has been frustrating for everyone. Teachers have gone from virtual instruction to in-person and back again, all while keeping your kids engaged and on track with their learning.
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Teacher Appreciation Week starts on May 3 this year, so if you'd like the educator in your life to know that you appreciate their hard work in these trying times, here are some ideas for gifts that show you care.
1. For the teacher who has made an impact: A framed note from your child
There is nothing like the words of students to remind a teacher why they got into this in the first place. Using specific examples of times when a teacher went above and beyond to make your child feel seen or help them tackle long division will make all the Zoom calls and socially distanced lessons feel worth it. A personalized picture frame will give your child’s words some lasting power.
2. For the teacher who loves to read: A Barnes & Noble gift card
Most teachers are readers. Whether they are looking for a great mystery, a vegan cookbook, or a chance to bolster their classroom library, Barnes & Noble gives a whopping 20% educator discount.
3. For the teacher who needs some TLC: Calming shower steamers
If there is ever a time to “treat yo’ self,” this is it. These calming shower steamers are made in California and can turn any bathroom into a spa-like atmosphere. The essential oils will calm, uplift, and relax any weary teacher’s soul. Wrapped up like sweets, they are beautiful to behold and can also be used as body scrubs.
4. For the teacher who has everything: Personalized pencils
Teachers always need pencils, why not purchase some with a little personality? A student will always know where to return the pencil, or perhaps your teacher will be happy for students to hold on to them as a keepsake of their time in their classroom—which was likely limited this year. You could even add some humor by having a teacher’s catch phrase printed on them. (“Kiss your brain!” is one beloved kindergarten teacher’s favorite expression.)
5. For the teacher with recess duty: Sun protection
Now that educators are back in person, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors supervising socially-distanced recess. These highly rated Coola sunscreen drops can be added to any moisturizer or foundation to provide protection throughout the day.
6. For the bookish teacher: A customized stamp
Teachers love to lend out books from their classroom libraries and while a custom name stamp can’t ensure that books get returned in a timely manner, at least students (and parents) won’t be left wondering “Where did this come from?” when they find it buried in their own bookshelves. Some lively colored ink pads would really complete this gift.
7. For the hip teacher: A succulent gift box
I generally steer people away from “Best Teacher Ever!” gifts, but this lovely little thank you gift box, designed with teachers and mentors in mind, is stylish and appealing. The plant will brighten any desk space, the candle will bring calm, and the attractive note is bulletin board-worthy.
8. For the health-conscious teacher: A fresh, crisp apple
It doesn’t get more classic than an apple for the teacher. When it comes to delivering fresh fruit, Harry & David has it down to an art. This cleverly packaged snack will certainly bring a smile to your teacher’s face. And most teachers would rather snack on something nutritious and energizing than overly processed sweets.
9. For the teacher on the go: An everywhere belt bag
OK, OK, so it’s a fanny pack! But who doesn’t want a place to keep their phone, wallet, and keys, not to mention whiteboard markers, pencils, and hand sanitizer? Lululemon makes this stylish Everywhere Belt Bag that's perfect for teachers on the go.
10. For the crafty teacher: Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a splurge, which makes it perfect for a group gift. Your educator will be able to turn their classroom into an Instagrammable wonderland with all the fun and fancy designs this magic machine can cut out of paper, vinyl, or cardstock.
11. For the organized teacher: An Erin Condren planner
For the crème de la crème of lesson planners, look no further. Erin Condren is the queen of the agenda, and every teacher I know covets this planbook. With sturdy construction, trendy designs, a full year of lesson planning, checklists, pages for notes, snap-in accessories and interchangeable covers, the organized teacher in your life will definitely feel appreciated with a gift of the hot-off-the-press 2021-22 Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner.
12. For the remote teacher: Blue light-blocking glasses
For teachers who have to look at a screen all day, blue light-blocking glasses are an attractive way to bring some relief to tired, strained eyes. They’re lighter than regular glasses and offer three different styles in a package. No one has time for the pain (or eye strain), especially not a busy teacher.
13. For the teacher with kids: An illustrated family portrait
While teachers who spent a lot of time at home this year are happy to be back in person with their students, it can be an adjustment to be away from family all day. These illustrated family portraits add a touch of home to the classroom. (They come as a digital file, so be prepared to find a local print shop).
14. For the practical teacher: A fresh set of Sharpies, felt tip pens, or Expo markers
Many teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, forcing Sharpies and other much-needed supplies to stay in rotation long after their best days are behind them. My personal favorite are classic Paper Mate felt tip pens. They write so smoothly, don’t smudge, and have a cheerful authority. Sometimes, it’s the most practical gifts that really show you “get it”—and care.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas