My mother in law has been second grade teacher for over thirty years. While we were together at Thanksgiving, I picked her brain about teacher gift ideas. This is Malone’s second year in the public school system (he attended public preschool last year) and I want to pour into his teachers the same way they pour into him.

This is what she had to say about teacher gifts.

I don’t ever want a family to feel like they have to give me something. I am grateful for any gift someone wants to give me. My favorite gift of all time came from a little girl decades ago who wrote a card telling me all of her favorite things about being in my class.”

Got that guys? You don’t need to go Pinterest crazy here. Heads up, there are affiliate links in this post. You can read my full disclosure about affiliate links here. 

Here are 10 teacher gift ideas from a second grade teacher.

10 teacher gift ideas. These teacher gift ideas were recommended to me by a second grade teacher. Some of them are really surprising! Hint isn't a craft you've stressed out about!

(c) depositphotos/

  1. Something handmade from your child. Is there really a better teacher gift idea than that? She’s got a tree full of handmade ornaments from her students and she loves pulling them out year after year and remembering the child who made it.
  2. School supplies. My mother in law spends some her own money on her classroom for supplies. Boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer, glue sticks, markers, paper, and crayons were at the top of her list. All of these items are consumed with high frequency in her second grade classroom and are amazing teacher gift ideas. Oh? Also, whiteboard markers. 
  3. Books for her classroom. My mother in law loves getting new books for her classroom. She doesn’t mind doubles because it means more than one child can read the book at the same time. If your child has a favorite book, consider gifting it to their teacher.
  4. Grocery gift cards or shelf stable snacks. My mother in law keeps a stash of snacks in her supply cabinet. They are there for the days when someone forgets their snack and for the children who are experiencing a lean season at home and aren’t able to bring in a daily snack.
  5. Something really thoughtful from your child. Seriously, ask your child what he or she wants to give their teacher and go with it. My mother in law’s second favorite teacher gift of all time was when a child brought her a wrapped box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The mac and cheese came with a handwritten note that said that mac and cheese was her favorite dinner, so she wanted to share it with her teacher. Before hearing this story I would have steered Malone away from a boxed dinner gift.
  6. Gift cards. My mother in law gets a hand full of gift cards every year. Her favorite places are to Staples (see #2), for coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, or to a few local places like the ice cream joint and bagel shop.
  7. Note cards and stamps. My mother in law is forever sending handwritten thank you cards. If you volunteer or give her classroom something (an experience or gift), you’re going to get a handwritten note from her.
  8. Chocolate or something sweet. Chocolate is a great teacher gift idea. My mother in law keeps a stash of dark chocolate and love banana bread (especially homemade).
  9. Something practical and consumable. Everyone has to get their oil changed, put gas in their car, and buy groceries. These are all things my mother in law teacher has to do too. It certainly isn’t a glamorous teacher gift idea, but it is thoughtful and would be well received (perhaps even more than that super cute craft you’ve got your eye on on Pinterest).
  10. Books for herself. My mother in law loves to read. If you’ve read something recently that you loved, she wants to know about it! If you weren’t sure of what she liked, you could always gift her a gift card to Amazon!

What are your favorite teacher gift ideas? Are you going with handmade or store bought?

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