Teacher Gift Giving Etiquette: What is Appropriate, and What to Avoid


Showing You Appreciate What They Do For you

Teaching effectively is difficult. Teachers who are able to educate students, bettering their ability to think critically, are precious. If you’ve been affected by their dedication, it’s only right that you may want to give them some sort of gift to show your appreciation, but you want to think about what you give and make a wise choice.

Flowers represent one of the most thoughtful gift options for your teacher, and they’re certainly a superior option to apples; but be careful: you want to be sure whatever bouquets you give your favorite teacher don’t have any connotation but appreciation. Appropriateness of gifts is quite considerable for teachers. Here we’ll explore what’s good, and what to avoid.

Appropriate: Varying Desk Ornaments

Those little metal figurines that balance in a swinging motion, kinetic energy balls suspended from strings that click and clack, hourglasses, lava lamps; there are quite a few different desk “ornaments” that might be appropriate for one teacher or another. A little gift like this with a card can be perfect.

Avoid: Jewelry

Jewelry tends to be more costly than other gifts and represents a bit of an investment. If a student gave a teacher something beautiful and expensive, that’s going to communicate an inappropriate level of appreciation. That’s not the message to send. Don’t “go overboard”, as the saying goes.

Appropriate: Personalized Mugs, Hats, or T-Shirts

You can personalize mugs, hats, t-shirts, and other “swag”-type things online. If it’s “swag”, personalizing it as a gift for a teacher is a fine idea. A t-shirt that says: “World’s Best Teacher” is a win. Such gifts communicate care and effort, but they don’t take things too far.

Avoid: Humorous Gifts—Except When in the Right Situation

Humor is subjective, and sometimes the best joke made with the best intentions ends up collaterally communicating something unintended. Sure, some teachers may be more open to gifts that are humorous, but this is a big risk; so it’s generally one better to avoid.

Appropriate: Gift Cards

A gift card to a popular local restaurant that’s a little up-scale is great for a teacher. Coffee shop gift cards, department store gift cards; all have their place. Some teachers will adore a $20 gift card for a popular local arts and crafts store.

Avoid: Over-Expensive Gifts generally

Generally, try to spend less than $100 on gifts for teachers; at least if you’re looking to be appropriate. But for the rules defining reality, any rule a person makes is subject to exceptions. Generally, though, don’t spend too much on teacher gifts and you’ll keep from giving them the wrong idea.

Appreciating Your Favorite Educator

Avoid over-expensive gifts, humor that may be misinterpreted, and jewelry when you’re giving things to a teacher you really appreciate. In contrast, gift cards, personalized swag like mugs or t-shirts, and varying desk ornaments are perfect. Also, a heartfelt card tends to help enhance any gift. Hopefully, these suggestions help you figure out the best option.