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Teacher Appreciation Ideas: The Ultimate List from the Mouths of Teachers!

Looking for some easy teacher appreciation ideas? Check out my guide of teacher appreciation week ideas, luncheon ideas, cards, and easy teacher appreciation gift ideas! 

Teacher Appreciation is coming up.  It is a special time of year to show our teachers how much we appreciate all they do.

Many teachers work many more hours than they are paid for, use their own money to purchase class supplies, and have to teach sometimes more than 30 kids at a time. 

And if you have a kiddo like mine who makes their child’s teacher job a little harder than it needs to be, then a little show of appreciation can go a long way to a favorite teacher!

In fact, you don’t need to wait for teacher’s day or teacher appreciation week to give our amazing teachers a little extra love.  Some of the easy and inexpensive teacher appreciation ideas below are fun ways to show appreciation and can be used year round.

teacher appreciation ideas

What is Teacher Appreciation Week?

Teacher appreciation lands on the first full week of May each year.  So for 2023, Teacher Appreciation Week is from May 8th to May 12th.  This is a national week that gives parents, students, and even school staff and principals the opportunity to recognize the hard work of their teachers.  

National Teacher Day is part of the week.  It is always on the Tuesday of the first full week of May.  This coming year, National Teacher Appreciation Day will be on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023.

Some schools will shower teachers with love and fun gifts all week long and some will do a nice gesture on the National Teacher Appreciation day itself.  It’s up to your school and usually the PTA or PTO on how they like to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

What do Teachers Want for Teacher Appreciation Week?

When I was a room Mom I used to always search for “what do teachers actually want to receive as an appreciation gift?”.  I really wanted to know what teacher gift they would actually use and appreciate. 

As I’ve grown older, I know we all collect a lot of items, and I’m sure teachers that have been teaching for over 20 years are bombarded with tons of little nicknacks like mugs and ornaments.

So this year I decided to survey teachers (really a great way to find out for sure!!) from our schools and some of my readers in search of the perfect gift and to find out what teachers really want.  The results were kind of surprising, so let me tell you what I learned about the best presents for teachers!

Answering some of the questions were hard for a lot of the teachers because they said they really appreciate everything they get from students and parents.  But some things really stood out!

The first question on my survey was, “What gift would you most use?”.  Any guesses?  This one was actually not that surprising to me.

  • 70% said Gift Cards (to where?  We’ll get there in a minute!)
  • Other answers included:  Something handmade by the child/parent, really good paper, tote bag, Crayola brand items, flash drive.  So a few things on the list that I hadn’t thought of!

One of the easiest ways to find out exactly what your specific teacher wants is to give them a my favorite things survey to fill out at the beginning of the year.  And you are in luck because I have a free printable for you!  You can download and print out a teacher favorite things form here.

What Gift Cards Do Teachers Want?

Let’s talk about some gift card ideas for teachers.  My next question on the teacher gift survey was exactly that.  “If you prefer gift cards, to where?”  Take a look at the best gift cards for teachers.

teacher survey results on best gifts for teachers
Others: Any, Walmart, Michaels, Office Depot, all of the above!

AMAZON by a landslide!!  I actually thought Target would be higher, but you can order anything off Amazon and you don’t have to leave the house!  I know I order anything and everything I can off Amazon.

So of course once I learned that I had to make some cute Amazon gift card printable for teachers for you.  I have two different ones for you to pick from.

amazon gift card printable for teacher
amazon gift card printable for teacher

FREE Printable Amazon Gift Card Holders

As a reminder, all of my printables are for personal use only. Please click here to purchase a commercial use license if you want to use the files to sell items.

CLICK Here to Download Amazon Gift Card Holder Printables

Print them out on cardstock and if you want to add a little extra pop of color, mount them on colored cardstock.  Tape an Amazon gift card to it and you are set!

Write a handwritten note on the backside to make it extra special!

Teacher gift cards don’t just have to be for Teacher Appreciation Week.  They would love them as Christmas gifts, Valentine gifts, and as an end of year teacher gift too.

Teacher Appreciation Cards

Speaking of handwritten notes, that was the main gift that kept coming up as meaning so much to teachers and support staff.  I didn’t even give them any drop-down choices to choose from.  This question was a free response…

For teacher appreciation week, what would mean the most to you?

Over 50% said some kind of handwritten thoughtful note from students and parents.  The best teacher gifts are anything that is homemade and from the heart.

Other responses included: gift cards for pampering or nails, craft store or school supplies, or a lunch provided by the class.

I have a few free Thank You teacher card printables that you can print out and have your child write a little sincere note to his teacher and then you, the parent, can write a note on the other one.

Again when I asked them,

What was a favorite gift you received?

Homemade crafts, personalized gifts, handwritten notes, pictures, class projects, mason jar crafts, and items made by their students topped the list.  A lot of them expressed that they have kept all the notes ever written to them over the years!

A few mentioned loving photo books and binders with all the students’ cards or artwork already in them so that they are easier to store as the perfect gift.

A nice bottle of wine and made the list a couple of times as a great gift option! You can always add a personalized wine glass and sweet treat with a bottle.

Personalized Teacher Gifts – What Do They Prefer?

Since I love making personalized gifts, I had to ask which ones they prefer.

personalized teacher gifts
Others included: T-shirts, water bottle, stationary

Totes and bags are a big hit and there are so many ways you can personalize them.  I do think that you can never have too many bags! 

I have a tutorial on how you can make a personalized bag with your child’s artwork on it, which would be a great idea!

So what kind of things do Teachers get too much of?

While most teachers said they appreciate anything they get, I asked them the tough question of what they could use less of.  All of the “Other” responses were that they appreciate any gifts and you can see that some teachers skipped this question.

So just to put it out there, even though some of these are cute ideas and might be good for new teachers…

teacher survey results

What classroom supplies do teachers prefer?

The last thing I asked about was classroom supplies and what they like the most.  This one was kind of all over the board depending on what grade they teach and that they need so many different classroom supplies.

classroom gift ideas
Others included Crayola markers, dry erase markers, gel pens, laminating film

For one of the days during Teacher Appreciation Week, we usually have a bring a classroom supply day.  The room parent will usually get a list of 5 or so items from the teacher that they are in need of. 

Then each student comes in with a box of crayons, or markers, or Sharpies, etc.  It makes it easy for the parents!

I wanted to leave you with a few other personalized teacher gift ideas and free teacher printables if you are needing more ideas!

The Ultimate List of DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas!

Here are a few more DIY teacher gift ideas! Simply click "Continue Reading" to hop on over to the post to get a free printable or easy teacher gift idea.

More Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

teacher png

So What Else Do Teachers Love Getting?

Our elementary school does a little something every day for the teachers and staff.  Each class used to do its own little things and the PTA usually does one big luncheon and a day where they get each teacher their favorite drink. 

However, in the past few years, the PTO has decided to make the days and gifts consistent across all classrooms.  This makes it easier for everyone.

Teacher Appreciation Week Day Ideas

  • Gift Basket or Gift Box Day:  Check out Teacher appreciation basket ideas on easy things your classroom can do or give during the week
  • Wear your teacher’s favorite color day
  • Bring a classroom supply day
  • Flower Day – have each student bring in a single flower, preferably from their garden, to hand to the teacher as they walk in.  Then a room parent can put together a flower bouquet.
  • Bring a handwritten teacher thank you note day
  • Favorite Books Day – have your kid’s teachers write down their favorite books that they would like for themselves or the classroom and take a collection to buy some of them

If you are part of your PTA or PTO and are thinking about hosting a luncheon, check out my list of fun and simple luncheon themes.

Additional Resources for Teacher Appreciation Ideas

teacher mugs is an amazing website that I used to spend a lot of time on when I was teacher appreciation coordinator.  They have forums that you can ask questions and information about activities that other schools all do.

Pinterest is another amazing resource and great place to get lost for hours!  Click here to check out my large board of all sorts of teacher appreciation ideas!

Make sure to browse through all of my other teacher gift ideas to get even more inspiration.

I hope these ideas get you inspired!  It really can be as easy or complicated as you want to make it.  A little bit can go a long way when showing teachers how much we appreciate all they do.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

leap of faith crafting

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