Teaching Profession

Teachers Share Their Favorite Gifts From Students

By Alix Mammina — December 21, 2017 4 min read
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During the holiday season, some students stress over finding the perfect presents for their teachers—but most teachers agree that the best gifts don’t come with a price tag. Educators shared on Twitter that used Sharpies, rubber gloves, and old ornaments can be just as valuable as gift cards and expensive items.

These responses from teachers show that when it comes to gifts from students, it’s truly the thought that counts:

Gifts inspired by lessons. “Two of my English/songwriting students wrote a song for me when they graduated,” teacher Steven McCarty tweeted. “It’s a gift that can never be spent. I’m a tough guy, but I still get teary when I hear it.”

Rebecca McGaughey, a teacher in Minnesota, tweeted, “After reading ‘A Christmas Carol,’ a few girls got together and bought Scrooge socks for me!”

And one science teacher shared a student gift with a memorable back story:

Homemade arts and crafts. For 4th grade teacher Jessica Goodenow, her favorite gifts are “the sweet, hand painted, #1 teacher mugs. Hits me right in the feels.” Lee Ann Bussolari, a primary school teacher in Spain, still treasures a personalized book with photos of her students, while special education teacher Michelle Gallagher most appreciated “a handmade quilt embroidered with a message from the students—simply amazing and beautiful.”

Other teachers shared photos of their favorite handmade gifts:

Gifts that gave back. For some teachers, the best presents were those given to others. Seventh grade social studies teacher Jonathan Dunne tweeted that his favorite gift was “a donation made in my name to help needy students.” Elementary teacher Ellen Rogers said the same. “I don’t really need gifts and there are others that really do,” she tweeted.

The parent of one of Canadian teacher Helena Broad‘s students showed the spirit of giving with a $1,000 donation to provide presents for other students. And a small act of kindness from the 2012 Utah Teacher of the Year inspired a meaningful donation from one of her students:

Handwritten notes. Heartfelt letters of gratitude and appreciation were teachers’ most common response to our question. “I absolutely love the handwritten cards/letters from students letting me know how my class has impacted them personally,” 8th grade science teacher Paul Strauss tweeted. “Coffee cards are always great but nothing compares to sharing of the heart.”

Another middle school teacher agreed, tweeting, “Without doubt, the letters from students themselves [are the best teacher gift]. About what your class meant to them, what you meant to them... those are the keepers. Still have some that are over 20 years old.”

For one high school English teacher, a bittersweet note was the best gift she has received from a student:

But for some teachers, the best gifts aren’t tangible—they’re the moments they share with students.

Teachers, what’s the best gift you’ve received from a student? Share in the comments or on Twitter with #BestTeacherGift.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.