WTB grate gift 4 english (an othr) teachrs, plz help?
May 6, 2007 8:08 AM   Subscribe

What are some brilliant, thoughtful, practical, interesting gifts for my high school teachers?

I'll be giving gifts to 3 English teachers (American Lit, European Lit, and Journalism), a Math teacher, and a US History teacher. I'm willing to spend up to $50-ish on a gift. Thanks!
posted by theiconoclast31 to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I applaud your kind impulse, iconoclast!
Besides a lovely gift, please give them a heartfelt note about how their teaching affected your life.
I've kept every single one I've ever received and review them periodically when I'm down.
Keep it simple and honest.
They'll treasure it long after the picture-frames and gift-cards are gone.
posted by Dizzy at 8:26 AM on May 6, 2007

Best answer: (obligatory party pooping)

I'm also in high school, and one thing that I know can be an issue with giving gifts to teachers is that whole ethical thing. Our school district has a policy in place strongly suggesting only "letters of appreciation", and suggests that some gifts would be a violation of the Wisconsin Ethics Code, Stat. 19.59 if you care (it also mentions something about anything over a $25 value). You may want to double check what, if any, regulations your school has. I also think that as a senior things might not be as big of a deal, with the end-of-your-high-school-career going on.

That said, this is certainly a great idea, and reminds me I need to figure something out for a few of my teachers.
posted by niles at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2007

I agree with Dizzy--the notes accompanying the gift are critical.

I also agree with niles that you should check into the ethics regulations--it would be very disappointing to you and your teachers if they had to turn down your very thoughtful gift.

That being said, I think I'd go for a certificate to a book store or a restaurant. Teachers have too many ornaments, gee-gaws, etc. cluttering up their lives, and even if what you get them isn't an ornament, you can't know what they like or what they already have.
posted by purplesludge at 9:50 AM on May 6, 2007

A thoughtful note will always be kept and remembered. If there is a particular book that strikes you as being a powerful influence and if the author is still alive and relatively accessible, consider purchasing a book, then contact the author to see if they would be willing to sign the book with a small note for your teacher and send it back to you. I've done this with varying degrees of success.
posted by perpetualstroll at 10:05 AM on May 6, 2007

Best answer: Gifts you make yourself will get around the "items of value" ethical problem. Do you do any arts or crafts, like knitting, photography, calligraphy, painting, etc? Make something (your teachers will deeply appreciate the thought and effort, even if they don't actually use the scarf or whatever you gave them).

Even a handmade card, with a sample of your artwork on the front and a heartfelt message of appreciation inside, would be a wonderful gift.
posted by Quietgal at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2007

A friend and I made cookies and wrote a note for a teacher we thought could use some appreciation. The note basically told her how much we appreciated her and her class- nothing fancy. We gave the gift anonymously, but we did get some positive feedback by way of a note she wrote on her chalkboard thanking the students who had "made her year". I think we probably could have just written the note and it would have been just as well received.
posted by MadamM at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2007

If you mean up to $50/each teacher, then you might be able to get a massage gift certificate to give each one an awesome massage - you might have to negotiate with a local spa for discounted gift certificates, but they might be willing to work with you if you're interested in buying five and it's for teachers. Any teacher I've ever met would be supremely grateful for something like that.

It might be most ethical to do so after your final grades are already submitted, and even better if you are graduating (avoiding the whole appearance-of-bribery thing).
posted by amtho at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2007

I've had success finding gifts for teachers and professors at Levenger, which bills itself as offering "tools for serious readers." Things I've purchased there for teachers (bookends, desk organizers, and fancy writing tools) have all been well received.

But I nth everyone who says that the note is the most important part.
posted by chickletworks at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2007

Best answer: Book gift certificates ($40 each).

And plant trees in their names ($10 for 10 trees + certificate) to help make up for the trees those books kill.
posted by pracowity at 1:14 PM on May 6, 2007

love the tree idea!
posted by Dizzy at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you everybody! I've got some great ideas. I'm a photographer/designer, so I'll print some POSTERS using some photos I've taken. Like a thank-you poster, instead of a card.

And my English teacher loves to hand out packets, and we always joke about how she's killing trees. I'll plant some trees in her name, everyone should get a good laugh :]

I'll definitely hand-write a letter for all my teachers, and I'll send all this stuff after AP tests are over, and basically all the work ends. A lot of kids give gifts around that time of the year.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 1:58 PM on May 6, 2007

The tree idea is lovely - as is the 'home made' aspect of giving one to a teacher. A poster sounds like an interesting idea - you can get cheapo, non-glass frames for them (maybe at an art supply store), although I don't know if you can get a reasonably priced one, depending on the size of the poster or how many you're making. And yes, the hand written letter is essential - the words always matter. Quite lovely that you're doing it - good for you!
posted by rmm at 7:11 PM on May 6, 2007

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