I went right to the source for some direction!
The Retired Teacher:
“Seriously, my favorite gifts were the things kids made for me themselves. Still, a few other good ideas were candles, cozy throws, and things for the beach or pool, like towels, bags, outdoor candles, outdoor beverage sets, etc. I loved getting any kinds of plants or flowers.
You can never go wrong with chocolate. Coffee mugs and tea sets are nice, but nothing with the apple theme please! I grew to hate the sight of apple mugs, apple bells, apple pins, etc.
Nice pen sets are great. I would advise against jewelry, scarves, and things like that. If the teacher doesn’t like them, she has to wear them anyway – kids expect it. Cooking gadgets and cookbooks are fun, and so are gift certificates to restaurants.
Don’t forget, say no to apples!”
The New Teacher:
“That’s a tough one. Perhaps the gift basket things? I got a lovely one a few years ago from a parent of one of my students. To be honest, I eventually regifted it, but it was still lovely.
Maybe holiday placemats, candle holders, napkin rings, etc..? A place setting for four might be nice too.
The one I got had cute mugs, cookies, and tea, but the wrapping was lovely, and I really appreciated it.”
So we’ve asked the experts, but I have a thought of my own.
If the classroom has a “room mother” – some parent representative for the class – small sums of money could be collected from the classmates to purchase a single gift certificate for a spa or restaurant for the teacher. It would probably be much more useful than dozens of smaller gifts from each student each year.