Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Gift Ideas for New Teachers


While it might be the middle of the summer, chances are you probably know some recent college graduates (or others) who are going to be new teachers in the fall. Mixed in with relaxing and enjoying the summer, these new teachers are busy getting ready for their classes. Teaching is challenging, but the first year is especially challenging because there are so many things happening at once.

I finished my first year of teaching a few weeks ago, and I've put together a list of suggestions for gift ideas for new teachers based my experience. If you are looking for a gift to give to a friend who's a first year teacher, keep reading.

1. Pencils/Pens - Teachers can never have enough pencils and pens. These things disappear like crazy. Every teacher needs a back up stash of pencils for students. As far as pens go, it's probably best not to buy fancy pens for a teacher because pens walk off too often. These Paper Mate pens are my favorite inexpensive pens. Another great idea is making DIY flower pens. They're pretty, but also practical because the teacher can easily see where all the borrowed pens are.

2. Personalized Clipboard - Clipboards are perfect for taking notes during meetings. Some days last year, it seemed like I spent more time in meetings than anything else. Meeting with departments, grade-level teams, administration, parents, textbook suppliers, and so on. I always kept a clipboard so that I had paper to write on without having to search. There are lots of DIY clipboards like this teacher's clipboard from A Diamond in the Stuff. You can search pinterest for more ideas or take a look at etsy if you're not so crafty.

3. Stamp Set - A challenge that teachers face is finding a way to provide positive feedback on work. In younger grades, stickers are a fun way to do this, but as the kids gets older, they don't like to admit that they like things like stickers (even though they still do). When I saw these stamps from the etsy shop fishcakesohboy, I realized that they would be perfect. Stamps with monsters that say "super duper!" are fun, but seem less childish to those middle schoolers who are just too cool for everything. And for English teachers, a monster throwing its hands in the air and saying "proofread" explains the way most English teachers feel all the time. I haven't gotten any of these for myself yet, but I will buy several before the summer ends.

4. Freezable Lunch Bag - I didn't know that these existed until the beginning of the summer, but I wish that I had had one last year. Most teachers I know prefer to bring their lunch with them, so most of us have lunch bags. Because there were so many lunch bags, there wasn't always room in the fridge in the teachers' lounge. Other days, I didn't have time to grab my food before lunch. Having a freezable lunch bag that I could have had in my room would have been a better solution. Jennifer got this freezable lunch bagfor herself. A similar lunch bag would make a great gift that a new teacher could use for years.

5. Books - Of course, you know that books are an important part of any classroom. For new teachers who haven't had years to build their classroom libraries, getting books can be pricy and time consuming. If you know the subject and grade-level for new teachers, you can gift a book to help get them started. Some of my favorites are Library Lion for an elementary librarian, The Lorax for science, some of The Magic School Bus Books for science, A Wrinkle in Time for Language Arts/English, and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!for elementary in general. I'd love to hear more suggestions about books in the comments!

All of these gifts would be helpful for a teacher who's just getting started, and more experienced teachers would always appreciate these as well. Feel free to share suggestions in the comments especially if you are a teacher yourself. I'd love to know what makes teaching just a little bit easier for you.

Hope that this has helped for all of you searching for a gift for a teacher!

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