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Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts for Staff
from Small Gifts to Big Ideas

updated: March 5, 2024
Teacher Appreciation Week Gift Ideas

We all know that the work of teachers is unfathomably important, but also infinitely challenging. That’s why every May, school administrators, teachers, students, and parents come together to celebrate teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. In 2024, Teachers’ Week will begin on Monday, May 6th and end on Friday, May 10th, with National Teacher Day on the 7th. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best (and a few of the worst) Teacher Appreciation Day gift ideas, along with candid quotes on the subject from actual teachers.

Teacher Appreciation Week Gift Ideas

When you’re trying to decide what Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts to treat your educators to, it’s best to start by contemplating one simple question: What do teachers really want?

We tapped into our network, and talked to teachers about what appreciation gifts they liked best as well as to customers about what items they purchased in the past that were well-received.

  • Here are some of the Teacher Appreciation Week gifts that teachers said they loved:
  • Gift cards - Amazon, Target, LL Bean. Coffee places and restaurant gift cards work too, but only if you know what the individual teacher likes.
  • Spa service gift cards.
  • Artwork - student made.
  • Thoughtful handmade crafts.
  • "Affordable collectibles for stuff the teacher is into, like Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Dr. Who, Pez, bands, artists, authors, etc. I personally collect snow globes and students bring them to me from their travels, including overseas. I treasure these, writing the student name & year on the bottom and keep them on display in my classroom."
  • Letters or notes from students/parents sharing thank yous, memories, updates, and the positive effect the teacher had.
  • We also got some funny opinions on what teachers have enough of:
  • Apple-themed items, hokey teacher-pun items ("unless we really, really are into that kind of shmaltz- some math teachers DO actually want all the PI day swag they can find...")
  • Candles. STOP, please.

There are plenty more opinions and ideas to come in this article, so stick around. Here are the best Teachers’ Week ideas, as reported by real teachers and those that appreciate them.

School Supplies

Two local teachers we polled immediately responded that custom school supplies would make an awesome appreciation gift, one suggesting personalized colored pencils. With budgetary constraints on many educators’ minds, it is easy to see why school supplies make for foolproof gifts for teachers. Teachers also deserve supplies they can use themselves, like the Office-To-Go Kit that includes mini classroom supplies such as a stapler, paper clips, and tape.

One teacher we interviewed said that he once got a box of personalized pencils with his name on them. He loved that everyone knew it was his personal supply and something he could use in the classroom. He wasn’t the only fan of pencils as a gift, a group of teachers in Maine recommended, “easily/quickly consumed office supplies, like pencils, erasers, post-its, highlighters, dry erase markers and headphones/earbuds.” The same group cautioned against, “long lasting office supplies like letter openers, rulers...these things last forever!” so save those for new teacher welcome kits!

Customized Mugs, Coffee Tumblers & Water Bottles

Drinkware items make the perfect small gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week. Beth, who purchased custom mugs for the teachers in her district said,

“(The) teachers and staff are delighted with the personalized outdoor adventure mugs they received on Teacher Appreciation Day!”

If you want to give a similar custom camp mug for Teacher Appreciation Week 2024, take a look at the 14 oz Outdoor Adventure Mug referenced above. With its durable construction, it’s the perfect mug for the classroom or to throw into your backpack with your camping tools on your next outdoor adventure. Here are the best mugs to gift for teacher appreciation week 2024:

Teachers can accumulate mugs over time, so make sure the one you give is something special that they may not have. As one teacher put it, “We don’t need any more coffee mugs! Unless it’s a Yeti. 🤣😉” Teachers are just as enamored of the recent trend toward insulated stainless steel coffee tumblers as everyone else, asking for “good, sealable, unbreakable mugs for beverages so they stay hot or cold.” Charlotte, from a high school in Georgia, was happy with her purchase of our 16 oz Accents Stainless Tumbler, recalling “It was for Teacher's Appreciation Week and they love it.”

A teacher friend of ours at a secondary school in California said that:

“I got an insulated tumbler once that I love and use daily. It keeps my coffee warm when I only have time to sip it every 20 minutes, and I always think of the student when I use it.”

Shop these popular tumblers for teachers:

Don’t take our word for it. These tumblers have already delighted teachers and the people who buy gifts for them:

“Great product, customer service and fast delivery! We ordered the Tumblers as a teacher appreciation gift before Christmas break. Our teachers were thrilled with their cups. Ordering online was exceptionally easy and convenient. Thanks!”
- Samantha King, SC
Himalayan 20 oz Stainless Steel Tumbler

“Our teachers really loved their teacher appreciation mugs! They were very pleased and thankful for their great gift!”
– Monique, NC
Accents Stainless Steel Custom Travel Tumblers – 16oz

Another educator liked her most recent gift, “A water bottle that said: My boss thinks I’m a pretty big deal.” We think so too! Try a fun message like that, on a fun option like the 25 oz Fruity Infuser Bottle or any of these other custom water bottles:

Tote Bags

One preschool teacher we spoke with in Virginia said custom tote bags as appreciation gifts for staff were a hit:

“The teachers love them! They are well constructed and hold a good amount! Our parent group board baked fudge and cookies to put in them! Perfect gift!”

One popular choice is the Budget Boat Tote shown below. Available in a rainbow of fun color schemes, this sturdy polycanvas tote is ideal for giveaways. Plus, its open slip front pocket creates even more storage space.

Here’s what one of our customers had to say about it.

“Totes were used for a back-to-school celebration. The teachers were very happy with them. We got a great deal on them and were pleased with the quality.”
– Sheri, NC
Budget Boat Tote

Check out these other favorites:

Or go with another tried and true selection that’s sure to please.

“We try to give our teachers something at the end of the year as a thank-you for all their hard work. This year we selected these bags, and they completely exceeded expectations. We got our product more than a month early, the bags had our design exactly as we expected, and the bags are more than the cheap grocery bag most companies offer -they have secondary pockets, close at the top, have a place for pens etc. For the price I feel like we were stealing them!”
– Michael, TN
Transport Tote

Food and Candy Baskets

Everyone loves a food gift basket stuffed with tasty treats or candy, and from the responses we got, teachers are no exception. Give teachers a dual-purpose gift with the Chocolate Almond Pencil Cup. Once they’ve enjoyed all the delectable chocolate covered almonds, they can use the sophisticated faux leather cup to store their favorite pens and pencils.

School Logo Apparel

Show ample recognition for the teachers on your team with a high-quality piece of apparel they can use every day, like a school logo t-shirt, sweatshirt, or embroidered fleece. If you are blessed with budget, surprise your team with covetable name brand clothing. As we spoke to teachers across America, customized apparel kept topping the list of favorite appreciation gifts. Customize these popular styles with your school logo or mascot:

Tech Accessories

“We're planning to give phone chargers to our teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. They turned out great with our logo and school name”
-Suzie, High School Staff, Illinois

The Pocket 4000 mAh Power Bank shown below is a great choice. This sleek tech accessory is powerful enough to charge phones, tablets and other mobile devices, and comes in a selection of stylish colors that teachers will love. Check out these other popular tech gadgets:

Don’t worry if your budget modest, you can still create a handy tech gift that will go over big, according to one of our customers.

“We ordered silicone phone wallets to give to teachers and parents. They were a hit!”
– Michelle, NE
Smart Phone Wallet

Retractable ID Badge Holders

Keep faculty ID badges always at the ready and never in the way with retractable badge holders. Our group of teachers in Maine requests,

“those breakaway lanyards and/or badge clips that zip in and out on an elastic cord. Sturdy (metal?) ones instead of cheap plastic; we wear them out!”

Try the Carabiner Badge Reel or our best selling Quick Draw Badge Holder.

Classroom Prizes for Students

Another group of teachers asked for,

“Things that can be "prizes" for kids to earn: notebooks, fun squishies/stress balls, gadgets- just nothing that could be used as a weapon or could be seen as threatening (no elastic rocket toys, laser pointers, anything gun-shaped, no tacks or blades.)”

Teachers can use stress balls too! Try a star shaped stress ball (for “star” students) or keep them entertained with a chameleon stress ball that changes color from the heat of hands. Here are more ideas for prizes:

Teacher Swag Bags, Kits & Gift Sets

If you can’t settle on a single gift, remember that you can’t go wrong with a killer gift set or teacher survival kit. For remote staff, send out a mail ready gift box.

Teachers won’t fail to appreciate the Essential Five Gift Set. This collection of best-selling promotional items contains everything a teacher needs to get through the school year, including:

Or, give teachers self-care gifts & sets to encourage rest & relaxation after long days in the classroom:

Whether you’re looking for Teachers’ Week gifts for staff, members of a local organization or simply all the teachers in your community, they’re sure to feel appreciated after receiving any one of these gifts.

Whitewashed wood frame with gray plastic message board

“Every teacher I know appreciates anything! Some favorites are chocolate, gift cards, mugs, tote or canvas bags, water bottles and classroom supplies! Little signs have become pretty popular since last year, too!” -Chantal, Maine Educator

Want more inspiration? Check out all our promotional products for education  and get ideas for fun slogans, sayings and quotes you can include on your Teachers’ Week gifts.

FAQ about Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is always celebrated during the first full week of May. This year, Teacher Appreciation Week runs from Monday, May 6, to Friday, May 10, 2024. Originally started in 1953 as National Teacher Appreciation Day, the current Teacher Appreciation Week became a national holiday in 1980.
The purpose of Teacher Appreciation Week is to recognize and celebrate those educators who tirelessly work to teach the next generation. School administrators or parent organizations can express their gratitude by throwing a small party, decorating the school, giving thoughtful gifts, or hosting a thank you lunch.
Teacher Appreciation Week is a special time set aside every year during the first full week of May to thank educators who work in our schools each day. It’s the perfect time for administrators, parent organizations, and students to reach out with a thoughtful note, small gift, or school celebration.
Like any gift-giving occasion, the gift is secondary to the thought. Schools with larger budgets for celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week can offer larger gifts or host a lunch for educators. Those on a tight budget can rally students to make thank you posters or find affordable yet thoughtful gifts.
Like most other service-focused professionals, teachers often just want appreciation for the work they put into their students. A teacher’s day may be filled with a myriad of small actions that can make students’ lives a little better. Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time to say thank you.
Teacher Appreciation Week started as National Teacher Appreciation Day, which was celebrated on March 7, 1953. The tradition continued for 31 years when it was moved and expanded to its current week in May. The National Education Association and many school boards helped it gain status as a national holiday.
If you’re thinking of writing a card for Teacher Appreciation Week, try to make it personal and heartfelt. Express gratitude for the individual teacher, pointing out specific examples of actions, projects, or traits. Point out how they have made a difference in the lives of students.
In 1944, Mattye White Woodridge, an Arkansas teacher, introduced the idea of celebrating a teachers’ day. However, it took nearly a decade before Eleanor Roosevelt brought the proposal to the U.S. Congress in 1953. Roosevelt convinced lawmakers to celebrate the first National Teacher Appreciation Day on March 7, 1953.
The country celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week to take time to say thank you to all those educators who work with our young people every day. Not only do teachers help to instill important skills and knowledge, but they are often important role models for the next generation.
May is the logical month for Teacher Appreciation Week as it’s toward the end of the traditional school year. The hard work of the academic year is coming to an end, and many other celebrations take place in the spring. It’s the perfect time to show appreciation to teachers.