What to get for a new teacher?
December 14, 2007 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Gifts for soon-to-be teachers?

I have a brother who will be an elementary school teacher (some day soon, probably later this year). What gifts are good for new teachers, that aren't hideously expensive (i.e. no laptop suggestions, thanks).
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Shopping (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A gift certificate to a teaching supply store. There are several online, and probably some brick-and-mortar ones in your area. Elementary school teachers often incur a big out-of-pocket expense decorating their classrooms with interesting and educational displays, so a gift certificate would probably be put to really good use.
posted by amyms at 5:12 PM on December 14, 2007

Here is a previous thread that might help.
posted by wryly at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2007

I fondly remember my 5th grade teacher who had a giant container of tootsie rolls. Is getting the kids to really really like your brother a good gift? Yes, I think so.
posted by spec80 at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2007

Seconding amyms suggestion, all the teachers I know spend extravagantly at those stores.

Also his immune system is about to get pummeled, perhaps a pallet of Vitamin C suppliment or foods thought to help with that?
posted by oblio_one at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2007

Having dated, lived with, and befriended a number of teachers, I'd say a practical or nurturing gift certificates would be great. Teachers work their fucking assess off for way too little money. A gift card to the grocery store would probably make a difference, but a gift certificate for a massage, record store, or iTunes would also be nice.
posted by serazin at 5:23 PM on December 14, 2007

A good bag to carry all those papers to grade around. Fill it up with cute office supplies: stapler, nice pens, markers, post-it's, a nice small note pad, Starbucks gift card....

Congrats to your brother!
posted by dog food sugar at 5:36 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Bottle of wine. Or bubble bath. Or whatever else helps him take his mind off school for even just a few hours mental rest.

And in December and May, when he's just Not Any Fun - forgive him. I don't know how you make that a stocking stuffer, but it's so important.
posted by arabelladragon at 5:47 PM on December 14, 2007

One of our family friends is a pretty high-tech guy who just started teaching in elementary school. He's really big on projecting things from the computer for the class (presentations, documents, the web, etc). He says that one of the best gifts he received was a good presentation remote control, so he doesn't need to be physically at the computer to switch to the next slide or point of interest.

This probably isn't the best gift for everyone, but you never know!
posted by adamk at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2007

Alcohol, gift certificate for a massage, anything self-indulgent. A cool, kid-friendly, and inexpensive desktop toy might be good. Your best bet: a box of nice red marking pens. Or multicolour if he's fancy that way. Uniball rollers are my personal faves...
posted by ms.v. at 6:14 PM on December 14, 2007

Hmm, he's going to be really short on time. Perhaps a gift certificate to a cleaning service, or a lawn-mowing service...or really anything that will let him enjoy the time he has to himself and minimize his chores.
posted by sondrialiac at 7:00 PM on December 14, 2007

Like your brother, I am in a teaching credential program right now and I can tell you what I want people to give me--aside from cash, which is always welcome (generous MeFites are free to contact me if they want to send me...something).

Gift certificates for stuff like massages and music would be nice, but when we get our own classroom, we'll need to decorate it and outfit it with all kinds of kid-safe supplies. Stuff like pencils, pens, notebooks, grade book, attendance book, spill-proof coffee tumbler, stickers, stamps, poster paper, post its, hole puncher, magnets, and all that jazz are what he and I need NOW. Leave the massage gift certificate for next year, because if you get that for him, he'll still have to spend his own money on classroom supplies.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:19 PM on December 14, 2007

By the way, a comment in this thread warned against giving a teacher a gift certificate to a teacher supply store because it's "like giving underwear for Christmas." I beg to differ. Half the fun of being a teacher is getting to use fun supplies and little doodads. If you give your brother stuff that makes his job more fun, then that's a score.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:22 PM on December 14, 2007

Depends on how well-managed and well-funded the school district is. A friend of mine who taught at a poor, under-equipped, and under-funded elementary school told me the best gift she got for Christmas one year was a couple of boxes of copier paper, which she kept in her trunk, hidden from the other teachers, so she'd have plenty at the end of the month when the school's paper budget was tapped.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:30 PM on December 14, 2007

Don't underestimate the value of a really nice, utilitarian gift. As an art teacher, I still use the handmade denim aprons I was given a decade ago... and they've got alot of life left despite regular use. My coffee mugs tend to fall into the same category I think - keep it simple and useful.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:54 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about a first year teacher's survival pack? That way you could put a bit of everything in it?
posted by chairish at 8:48 PM on December 14, 2007

high school teacher here.
I second the school bag idea. It's going to live on his shoulder, so get something good. I use a Mountainsmith, but I'm nuts.
Fill it with big PostIts and the type of pens he loves. Schools buy tiny PostIts and crappy pens!
posted by flowerofhighrank at 9:45 PM on December 14, 2007


Sorry, I know that's very shouty and all, but seriously, nothing with apples!

Having been a teacher myself, I agree with recommendations for GC to teaching supply store, but don't pick out any of the stuff yourself. I have very serious preferences for one style of pen and one shade of post-its, so I'll usually use my own stuff before I use gifted stuff. A GC to Staples might work nicely as well. He can get filing folders that his school might not provide. I had various colors for various states of work, like "to be graded" or "overdue" etc., with corresponding color.

Also, a good bag is an excellent recommendation. Get one with a lot of shoulder padding in the strap.
posted by santojulieta at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2007

If they don't know about computers and you do spend some time getting them up to speed or sending them on a course. The IT education at teacher college is not up to speed.
posted by bystander at 6:54 AM on December 15, 2007

Teacher seems to be one of those professions that really brings out the 'work related' gifts thing in people. Lawyer, too. Very few people say 'My daughter just got her first job as a PR flack, what's a good PR flack related gift I can get her?'

About half the teachers I know thought 'For god's sake, I'm still a human being with hobbies and interests, buy me the same sort of thing you bought last year.' and the other half thought 'Man, I could sure use an X for the classroom.'

The two things I took away from that were 'Do you know if this person wants a 'teacher' gift or a 'personal' gift?' and 'Nobody at all wanted things with 'World's Best Teacher' written on them.'
posted by jacquilynne at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2007

My mom's teaching life was revolutionized when my dad gave her a little rolling cart. I've seen a bunch of little girls commuting to school on the train with these and actually thought about getting one for my mom this year, but I think I'll wait until her cart gets into worse shape. They look pretty slick and incredibly hardy.

Definitely none of that shit with apples. And I'm sorry to all who suggested such things, but my mom got a bunch of bubble bath and other relaxing type stuff and that is just not what she likes to do to relax. You know your brother and I assume you know if he would like bubble bath. My mom relaxes by puttering around in the garden and she finally just had to make this eminently clear to the parents in her class. Now all she gets from students at holiday time are chocolate and gift certificates, which suits her just fine.
posted by crinklebat at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2007

nthing the gift card to a teaching supply store!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:37 AM on December 17, 2007

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