Monday 17th January 2022

Gifts For Teachers. 46/51.#LifeTheWeek. 113/2019.

Gifts For Teachers. 46/51.#LifeTheWeek. 113/2019.

The end of the school year is nigh. Can I hear a YAY?


*teachers are exhausted…ask me how I know

*kids have had enough

*parents and carers….you tell me!

Some states have already commenced end of year holidays. Other still remain at school or at least the public schools are still operating.

Are you looking forward to:

  • No more early mornings.
  • No school lunches to pack.
  • No searching for a lost shoe/library book/hat/jacket/….despite the NAME being added

But wait, you also thought about getting a present for the class teacher or teachers didn’t you?


I know there have been gift guides galore but if you want something directly from teachers..I have some here.

  • card or note is a great way to show appreciation
  • it is never “expected” to give a teacher a gift
  • Parents and children may decide that there is no reason for a gift or message & that’s fine too
  • Teachers who are parents had these thoughts about chocolate..some loved this, others said no thanks!


  • personal notes, cards from parents and child ALWAYS a hit
  • gift vouchers up to $50 – NOT expected to be, UP to! There are limits for gifts under the Code of Conduct in NSW public schools. Check your school’s/system’s limits.
  • Popular ones include Myer, Target, Officeworks, Big W, Dymocks, ITunes, JB-HiFi…and more
  • homemade biscuits &  yummy treats.
  • stationery – many teachers are stationery-fans
  • A cup. A keep cup. Teachers are notorious cup-users. Maybe personalise it, but a lovely idea that gives and gives…


So, do you have some ideas or have you already sorted out what you are doing..if indeed you are!

I wrote parts of this post 3 years ago and not much has changed.

What I do see as a trend is that “wine” is the default gift. My view as someone who is not interested in “wine” per se is to leave alcohol out of the gift giving. Yet, more I see, I am in the minority. Maybe don’t assume wine or alcohol is liked or appreciated by all.

My go-to was always, if I could something I baked/made and a heartfelt card of appreciation. Always better too, if your child adds something that is a note of appreciation.


If you cannot afford a gift, do not stress. Please. Getting caught up in comparison at the school gate is not pleasant. No-one needs to know.

And, if your child’s teacher has not been one you wish to share a present with, do not.

No teacher expects a gift. Well, that was how it was when I was still in schools.

It’s almost a year since I received my ‘correct’ retirement medal from NSW Dept of Education. THAT was a gift and presentation I so appreciated.

Teacher and writer Polly Dunning wrote this on Sunday …food for thought about appreciation!

Back to you…did you make or buy a present for your teacher, your child’s teacher or maybe if you are a teacher, what did you receive?


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  1. Interestingly, I just read the article you linked and am now feeling a little better about my rant at the end of my post. She agrees with me but in a less irate manner. Ha! As for the quietly opting out, I’m all for that. We had a teacher picnic afternoon tea in the park so the kids and families could present the gift and while the class rep was collecting, this woman replied to all as to why she wouldn’t be contributing. It just made her seem like a nut. So if you do have issues, maybe don’t reply to all to the whole class…that’s my other tip.

    • I forgot to say I nominated one of the high school teachers who has been exceptional for the teacher of the year award (I think CBA puts it on? I can’t remember now). So my gift to him was the lengthy words of appreciation, out lining why I thought all the specifc things he did above and beyond the normal course of teaching were worthy of the award. I hope he wins it, then his real gift will be the money for sabatical.

      • That is the ultimate in a cool deed. I do hope he does get the award. Not many parents are as appreciative as you are and then actually do something too!!

        Denyse x

    • You know that ‘class parent’ and ‘class gift’ thing is, in my realms of experience, a recent thing. But then again, it’s been over 17 years since I was a principal.

      So true, ‘why tell all!

      Thanks for your insights. Always appreciated.

      Denyse. x

  2. A keep cup is a great idea for a teacher’s gift, thanks for the suggestion! I’m looking forward to a break from the early mornings AND the searching for items my son has lost despite me labelling them!

    • Teachers “always” have a cup that’s theirs. A keep one is a great idea. I understand ‘getting free of the morning routine for a while as well.

      Denyse x

  3. Where I live the students have their school break from Dec 23, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020. No gift is expected although some parents may give gifts to teachers, usually in elementary school or kindergarten. I think the personal appreciation note is a great idea.

    • I understand. In the southern hemisphere, the full school year is over sometime in December, returning some time in late January or early February. Around 6 weeks of summer break.

      Notes of appreciation are ones I sure loved the most.

      Thank you Natalie

      Denyse x

  4. A well balanced and informed discussion as always, Denyse! The end of year exhaustion is palpable already at school. Optimistically, though, we have an information evening for next year scheduled this week!!

    SSG xxx

    • Thank you so much SSG.

      I can’t believe it is already happening in November but when schools end at different times I guess it makes sense!

      And your young man going into Year 2. Oh my gosh!!

      Denyse x

  5. I give the teachers a Gift card from the Salvos… one that you purchase some school supplies for kids overseas etc. Sometimes they might get some
    Chicks as well

  6. Gift giving has really changed over the years – I used to teach in a really socially and economically challenged inner city area in London and never expected a gift but really appreciated the ones I got and the cards even moreso! Personally I’m a fan of chocolates and/or wine and something homemade is always a treasure. These days as I’m a wannabe minimalist, I think a voucher for things or a voucher for an experience would be most appreciated – after all there are only so many chocolates one person can eat! 🙂 That said, I think it’s not about the gift but the appreciation, teachers work so hard all year long taking care of the children in their class and helping them to reach their full potential. I make gifts for all the caregivers in our lives, including doctors, their receptionists, our site manager in the flats and this year, the vet. If we had kids, our teachers would definitely be getting a gift too!

    • Oh my, yes you are an amazing gift giver of your talents from the kitchen and more.

      I taught in schools as you mention and not too many children did give a gift…and you were always torn with ‘do I open the gitt now because he/she sees me do it, or leave it so other kids don’t feel bad.’


      Words are always the best for me. To be treasured and kept.

      Thanks Sam

      Denyse x

  7. I’m so glad all those school days are behind me Denyse. Present giving wasn’t much of a thing back when my kids were at school so it never bothered me particularly. I do remember how glad I was not to have to do school lunches for several weeks, and how relieved I was when all the presentation ceremonies were over and done with!

    • Yes I don’t remember much other than a card and maybe something home made from me when our kids were at school.

      That still stands for my daughter who often baked for her children’s teachers. She has only one at school now.

      Yes, the ‘end’ of those routines is almost here.

      Then in January everyone will be asking ‘when is school going back?’

      Denyse x

  8. I found a hand written note of thanks and even a bunch of flowers from the garden was always so appreciated. Hand written notes seem to have disappeared with the age of text messaging and emails. There really is no greater gift than your time, and if you’ve taken the time to write a lovely little letter of appreciation that a teacher can put away as a keepsake I reckon you’re on a winner. ( Please correct me if I’m wrong lovely teachers of the internet. 😉 )

    • No… so true. I loved the words and it really was a proper act of appreciation.

      I even got one or two as a principal – almost unheard of where I was.

      Personal, and meaningful wins every time.

      Thank you Sandra

      Denyse x

  9. I used to write a card and take in some baked goods…It feels like another lifetime ago…

  10. A book with a note of gratitude should be a good gift for a teacher.

  11. I think a card with a personal note would mean so much more due to the personalised nature of it. I don’t think most teachers expect gifts – especially in public schools. I also worry that this can become especially hard for families and kids who are not financially well off and the whole comparison game.

    • Oh yes, the comparison game…and I saw it a bit teaching in poorer areas. I too agree, a card and some words of appreciation are what I liked most.

      Thanks for sharing a really good point. Not everyone gets that unless they have, as we have, worked in lower socio-economic areas.

      Denyse x

  12. Wonderful suggestions! I taught for over 30 years and always appreciated the little gifts my students sometimes gave me. The gift I got most often was a gift card – often to Starbucks or to some local restaurant. I still have the handwritten notes that accompanied some of the gifts – they are priceless!

    • How lovely. Yes, the words that we can read and re-read (and smile!) make the role of teacher even more rewarding.

      Thank you, Laurie.

      Denyse x

  13. I have to say that I have just not had the time to do teacher gifts in the last few years! There has been so much on the go each Dec that I cannot keep up. If I do manage, I only do it for primary school and not high school. (Too many teachers there!)

    • I think you need never worry about that…goodness me, never!

      Yes, very few HS teachers get a gift or a card. Numbers are one reason. I think in primary school there is a closer connection between teacher and child.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Denyse x

  14. It’s always been interesting to see what end of the year gifts my husband would get – a range of mugs, chocolates, wine, and a book of quotes come to mind. As to me, a teacher in a men’s prison, I never received anything – probably just as well! An interesting post Denyse, I wasn’t aware of how far this had extended in the past few years.

    • I had a giggle when I read that about ‘no gifts’ from the inmates.

      Sounds like your husband got the range of male teacher gifts.

      The limits on value of gifts came in to education as part of ‘ICAC, the corruption watchdog and those employed by government were/are under those regulations in NSW.

      The class present is not one I encountered as a principal and kind of glad I skipped the era of class parents too. I know when the second eldest grandson started school there were facebook groups for parents!! I do not want to know whatever went on there.

      I am enjoying seeing your photos of being cold and the rain…and of course, wishing you and the whole family the best…as Miss D gets older and more independent.

      Denyse x

      • Thanks Denyse, I’m enjoying the change of scenery and trying to be a help in the in-between time of Miss D still being in hospital but being prepared to go home soon. Maybe I should just enjoy the calm before the storm without overthinking it and worrying about what I can do to be useful!!

        Oh my! Those facebook groups for parents sounds like a fun innovation!

        In other news I’m hoping to remember to link up tomorrow for #lifethisweek