Gift for retiring Chemistry teacher in high school
May 26, 2014 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Need ideas for good gift for Retiring male Chemistry teacher who has been a great teacher and helped my son a lot.I want to give him a memorable gift but not too fancy because he is a very simple man.
posted by SunPower to Shopping (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As he's retiring a "thing" is probably not what he wants.

I've always believed the most heartfelt letter to be a beautiful thing to give to a teacher. They cherish them for ever. My parents were teachers/academics and that's what they held on to tightest of all. The respect and appreciation in writing from students and their families.

Don't ever underestimate the beauty of a sincere and detailed letter of thanks.
posted by taff at 7:20 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

I agree with taff and just wanted to add that it would be extra nice if it were handwritten.
posted by spec80 at 7:23 PM on May 26, 2014

If the teacher has a sense of humor, have your son pick out a Chemistry Cat joke and have it put on a mug or a tee shirt his teacher can wear in retirement.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:37 PM on May 26, 2014

My father is also a teacher, and he most appreciates hand-written notes (as mentioned above), as well as gift cards to book stores (honestly, most people are really bad at picking out good gifts for teachers because they have no idea what they enjoy/like in their off time, so this allows him to choose something he will really appreciate rather than keeping it in the closet until it is guiltily thrown away).
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:42 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

A boxed set of all seasons of Breaking Bad?

If that's a bit too edgy, perhaps a nice framed picture of the periodic table of elements.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

If the teacher has a sense of humor, have your son pick out a Chemistry Cat joke and have it put on a mug or a tee shirt his teacher can wear in retirement. ... If that's a bit too edgy, perhaps a nice framed picture of the periodic table of elements.

He's a chem teacher. A retiring chem teacher. He's swimming in soooooooo many blasted kitchy and sincere chemistry-themed knicknacks. He's seen it all. He's absent-mindedly flipped past that stuff in supply catalogs. He's skimmed it with a jaundiced eye in toy shops when getting gifts for younger relatives. Ditto book stuff for librarians or animal stuff for vets.

Get him a pretty earthenware bowl, or bake him cookies from scratch, or something.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:13 PM on May 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

I'm a teacher (granted, nowhere near retirement) and periodically get gifts from students/families. Honestly, what I look back on most fondly are the gift cards to bookstores. It allows me to pick out things I really like and is always exciting to get. That plus a heart-felt card = perfection.
posted by leitmotif at 8:28 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

You know what he would love? A pretty earthenware bowl with a heartfelt card with some Uranium to put in the pretty earthenware bowl.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:34 PM on May 26, 2014

I am a teacher.

No to: any homemade food (sorry! It's not you, it's dozens of givers of gross cookies before you that make yours suspect), anything that says anything about teaching on it (this is year bazillion, I have have it all already), anything that you think is subject-related unless you are very creative or have a more in-depth knowledge of the subject than most (I teach strings, I have a thousand treble clef Christmas ornaments and do not need any ceramic figurines of a kitty playing the violin).

Yes to a really heartfelt note (I save ALL of them) plus: coffee cards to a great local shop, gift card to a super local joint with food for all kinds of eaters, Amazon or bookstore gift cards, pottery or little arty thing ONLY if you have exquisite taste and have a feeling it is shared by the recipient. I ate dinner at my favorite brewpub with my husband on an end-of-year gift card tonight and thought nice things about that awesome family the whole time.

Please note that some districts have gift policies that can make things uncomfortable for teachers if the gift could be seen to have a value above a certain level (although- I guess if he's retiring it doesn't matter).
posted by charmedimsure at 10:47 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

When my high school orchestra teacher retired, I made him a small painting of a viola. He really seemed to appreciate it (he wrote me a really kind thank you note, anyway!). I think that anything heartfelt is probably always appreciated, including a card.

My mom is a teacher, and she loves gift cards, especially to the book store. She teaches art, and gift cards to art supply stores also go over really well. I'm not sure what the equivalent kind of store would be for a chemistry teacher, but since your son and he are close, maybe your son does know? If you get a gift card for anyplace else, the only other ones that my mom ever seems to use are the ones to go out for dinner for two.
posted by rue72 at 12:09 AM on May 27, 2014

> he is a very simple man.

Unless he's a monk, there is more to him than just chemistry class. Ask other teachers for tips on what this person who is not just a chemistry teacher would really like. Maybe he grows roses, bets on the horses, plays softball, runs marathons, fixes Volkswagen vans, watches and rewatches Bridget Bardot movies, and (not or) leads the kazoo band at the local preschool. Maybe he wants to know absolutely nothing about chemistry from now on. Teaching can do that to a guy.
posted by pracowity at 12:54 AM on May 27, 2014

Thank you all for your suggestion.Will surely write a thank you note and think about all the other options too.

You guys are great!thanks!
posted by SunPower at 3:12 AM on May 27, 2014

You could give him something boring eg coffee gift card, and then in the card write something like "hope you enjoy the ", and draw the caffeine molecule. Same for chocolate , though I've forgotten the active ingredient, or ethanol. I'm a chemist, and that would make me smile.
posted by kjs4 at 3:37 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Kjs4,that is an awesome idea.I would like to do anything that would make the person smile instantly.This is why,it's hard for me to pick a card or a gift for anyone.It takes a lot of my time researching but I feel good(don't know if the other person feels the same way)
posted by SunPower at 6:01 AM on May 27, 2014

The gifts that both my sisters-in-law (both elementary teachers) really appreciate are the coffee and bookstore cards.
posted by bonehead at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2014

How about an Erlenmeyer Klein bottle. Graduated, natch!
posted by cgs06 at 12:58 PM on May 27, 2014

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