I’ve been teaching at an elementary school for 13 years. While heartfelt and homemade gifts are nice, the very best gifts from kids are the ones that I can use in my classroom daily. While some teachers love knick knacks, hand lotions and chocolate, many others do not. If you do not know a teachers decorating style, smell or taste preferences, it is best not to buy them a gift that may just go to waste. Here is a list of 10 gifts teachers love that are less than $20.
1. Post It Notes
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I don’t know any teachers who don’t use post it notes in one way or another. They are so handy for reminders, notes to parents or other teachers. I probably go through a block of them a year.
2. Writing Utensils
Kids borrow, break and lose pencils from teachers like crazy. Your favorite teacher will appreciate you keeping them well stocked in pencils. Teachers also appreciate nice black, blue and red pens as well as whiteboard markers. I honestly prefer plain black markers as they leave less residue, but colors can be fun too.
3. Copy Paper
At many schools, teachers get a limited supply of copy paper and after they are done with that, they often have to buy their own. If you have ever purchased copy paper then you know it is not cheap. Teachers love to get a nice ream of white or colored copy paper every now and again.
Confession time. I have 25 binders in my classroom right now. I’m dead serious. They are just so handy for storing and organizing paperwork. I don’t use all of them every day, but I often need to reference materials in them. They do wear out and sometimes I need some for students. A teacher will never turn away a nice binder. Just make sure they are at least 1″ in width, and that they have working rings, pockets and the clear cover that you can insert papers into.
5. Label Maker
I have owned a label maker for a very long time and it is still one of my favorite classroom tools. I label all my binders, files and information that I need.
6. Clear Sheet Protectors
There are so many papers that teachers keep for years. When papers are in plastic sheet protectors this lessens the chance of them getting ruined by damage or spills. Clear sheet protectors also keep papers from accidentally pulling out of binders like they do if they are just punched with holes.
7. Tab Dividers
Tab dividers are so awesome. They can be used to sort classes, students, subjects and many other categories that teachers need to track. Since I teach music I often have to sort my classes by days of the week or grade level. Tab dividers really come in handy for this.
8. Magazine Files
Magazine file holders are super awesome for holding small amounts of books, papers, or office supplies. Otherwise a teacher ends up putting them on bookshelves where they slide or fall over. I love mine for keeping my books grouped by subject matter.
9. Cleaning Supplies
I wish schools provided these items, but most don’t. Most schools only provide the bare minimum. You don’t want your kids to use school tissues if they don’t have to. When you are dealing with many children in a building sickness is a fact of life. You can help keep your child’s classroom germ free by donating tissues, hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap and Clorox wipes.
10. Gift Cards
If you are ever unsure about what supplies your child’s teacher might like, gift cards are a great way to go. Most teachers will appreciate a gift card to Amazon or Target or even a Visa gift card. This allows them more flexibility to get what they want. I don’t recommend cards for super specific stores or items. It might be tough to believe, but not every teacher loves Starbucks or even drinks coffee.
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