10 best gifts for teachers

Teachers work an average of 60 hours a week running around after our kids (and educating them, too). Here's how to say thank you

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The Independent Online

End of term present buying can be a tricky subject: you want to show your appreciation for the person who has spent the best part of a year encouraging, teaching and entertaining your child (and keeping them away from sharp objects), but how much is too much? What if William's mum buys a better present than you? And do they really need another 'world's best teacher' magnet?

Luckily for you, we've been chatting to our teacher friends to find out what their most appreciated and treasured gifts are, from personalised mugs to fancy-pants candles, so you can get it just right — there's no leftover Christmas chocs, unwanted bubble bath, misjudged earrings or last-minute garage flowers here, thank you very much. Of course the best gift is unanimously a heartfelt message from your littlun, so make sure whatever you give is accompanied by a card (in their very best handwriting).

1. Binary Mug: £8.95, presentindicative.com

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Maths teachers will love this mug, which reads: “There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don’t.” As one of the latter, I have no idea what this means, but I’m assured it's very funny. If you’re after a present for your kid's history or physics teacher instead, Present Indicative has a whole range of brilliant presents, organised by subject, that will cover most secondary school curricula, and then some.

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2. Where the Wild Things Are Tote Bag: £12.95, theliterarygiftcompany.com

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We’re willing to bet that every primary school teacher since 1963 has read much-loved picture book Where The Wild Things Are at least a zillion times. Now they can carry Maurice Sendak’s classic artwork with them wherever they go (and probably some marking, too) with this tote bag; even better if your littlun’s a fan.

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3. Popcult Custom Pencil Set: from £7, livinginlalaland.co.uk

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Get creative – in 30 characters or under – with a personalised set of pencils from Popcult, a brilliant brand which stamps slogans from popular culture on pencils, from Game of Thrones (“valar morghulis”) to Mean Girls (“is butter a carb?”). You could go simple with just their name, or witty with a selection of teacher-isms – “see me in my office”, “don’t pass notes in class” and “I dismiss you, not the bell” all come in under 30 characters, FYI. £7 for three with the same engraving, or £10 for three with different ones.

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4. Jo Malone Travel Candle: £22, jomalone.co.uk

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A candle might be a bit of a teacher present cliché, but make it a luxury number with Jo Malone and you can’t go far wrong. Available in pear and freesia, lime and basil, red roses, and pomegranate noir, they have a burn time of 18 hours and are just the kind of treat that your kid’s teacher probably wouldn’t splash out on themselves.

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5. Pencil Stud Earrings: £5.50, ohhdeer.com

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Perfect for the creative primary school teacher, or as a gift from an arty student, these quirky silver-plated earrings are made from upcycled colouring pencils and come in blue, green, yellow, pink and, our favourite, this bright orange.

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6. Knock Knock To Accomplish Sticky Notes Pack of 6: £8.95, johnlewis.com

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If your child’s teacher is the type who relishes new stationery and finds great satisfaction in a to-do list, then this fun pack of sticky notes will go down a treat. The pads (40 sheets on each) come with the standard “to do” and “to buy”, as well as the more realistic “to remember” and “to put off”.

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7. Next Flowers Pink Orchid In Glass: £24, nextflowers.co.uk

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Teachers can get inundated with flowers at the end of term – often right before they go abroad for a few weeks, plus you can’t bank on them having vases for all the blooms. Solve the conundrum by getting them something that comes with its own vessel. Next Flowers has lots of lovely options to choose from. Our pick is this hot pink phalaenopsis orchid that will last all holiday and they can bring it in next term to brighten up the classroom.

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8. Sharpener Desk Tidy: £17.45, notonthehighstreet.com

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Whether it’s for marking or for the class to use, teachers we know always seem to need a pen or pencil close to hand. This desk tidy, made from sustainable rubberwood, will keep everything in the right place and is a serious upgrade from plastic offerings in the school stationery cupboard. Choose from light or dark wood.

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9. Cool Teacher Hoop Mug: from £12.95, etsy.com/uk

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One of these bright mugs, available in ten colours, will stand out in the staffroom. They’re great quality (handmade in Stoke-on-Trent, the place for top-notch pottery), and come in a string-tied gift box so won’t need wrapping amid end-of-term madness. They can be personalised for an extra £5, but make sure you check delivery times as these ones can take a little longer.

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10. Wahanda Voucher: from £25, wahanda.com

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If your child’s teacher has gone the extra mile this year, give them an excuse for some holiday pampering. Wahanda’s vouchers can be used at over 9,000 salons and venues all over the country for everything from one-off massages and manicures to spa days. Denominations start at £25 and can be delivered by post or email. 

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Verdict:

For a favourite secondary school teacher, Present Indicative has plenty of creative and quirky subject-specific gifts, from maths to art, while the Where The Wild Things Are tote makes a terrific present from younger kids.

 

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