Best Teacher Gifts – as Decided by Teachers

Best Teacher Gifts

Finding the perfect gift for the teacher in your life can be tough. What do you get the person who is helping to shape your child’s life? What would begin to show your appreciation? We wanted to help and so we took the guess work out by asking Green Dot Public Schools‘ teachers directly: What is the most memorable teacher gift you’ve ever received? Here is a little of what they had to say.

Supplying the classroom

“One particular year, office supplies were low and whiteboard markers were more valuable than gold. My students, collectively bought me a set of over 20 markers and it came with a personal eraser and cleaning bottle. My students even wrote a note. They really cared that I had the materials I needed in order to make the class run effectively.”

– Ke’Len A. Armstrong M.A Ed, Green Dot Administrator in Residence

A picture is worth 1,000 gifts

“A picture of me drawn by my students. I looked twenty years younger than I actually am. I’ll cherish it forever!”

– Jennifer Page, English Teacher at Ánimo Ralph Bunche Charter High School

Best Teacher Gift

Best Teacher Gift

Words of encouragement

“The most significant teacher gift that I have received was [a handwritten card] during my second year of teaching. It was an incredible gift because as a second-year teacher, one still faces many struggles, but reading this note made my second year of teaching one of the best. The card had the following message:

Dear Ms. Mendoza, Thank you for everything! Thanks to you, I got better at math this year. This year is going well for me in math. As a kid, elementary math wasn’t my favorite topic. I used to score low, but now, with your teaching, I got better. My parents are proud of me and you. I have been telling them so much about you and how you got me back up on my feet with math. I am grateful that I have you to help me. I hope to have you as a teacher once more. You are truly a wonderful teacher. Thank you so much!” 

– Ines Mendoza, Math Teacher at Ánimo Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School

“I walked into my class and on top of my jacket there was a red card stock letter addressed to [me]. I read it and began to cry from happiness. A student had written a beautiful letter telling me how much she appreciate me and how much she had learned in my class. She especially loved how caring I was with her and the rest of the class.”

– Jessica Aguilar, Spanish Teacher at Ánimo Watts College Prep Academy

Best Teacher Gift

– Chad Soleo, Vice President of Advancement & Former Principal at Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School

“The most memorable teacher gift I received came directly from the father of one of my tenth grade students. The man behind the letter with a California State Prison return address thanked me for teaching his daughter, and mentioned multiple book titles that she had obviously brought to her father’s attention. Not every parent can speak to the books that their children are reading in English language arts, but he did. He wrote with pride about the dreams his daughter planned to pursue, and knew confidently that she was going to college, not to prison.

I had no idea that this student’s father was imprisoned, and while she quietly pursued excellence in my classroom, she wasn’t one to share her thoughts aloud with the class. At the end of a second and very difficult year of teaching, the letter renewed a hope in me that I had chosen a meaningful professional pathway and encouraged me to continue teaching at Locke High School. Just thinking about it, today, reminds me of the untold impact that each teacher makes in our middle and high school classrooms.”

Even better than a gift

“Two of my former students came back and now teach alongside me at the high school they graduated from. No ‘gift’ could ever be as good as the fulfilled potential of our brightest students. When I started teaching, the dream was to make a difference and inspire future leaders. These two brilliant individuals coming back to join me in the effort to make a difference will forever be one of my proudest moments.”

– William Heuisler, History Teacher at Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School

William Heuisler

“I received an email last week from a former student, asking for help on a college paper. [The fact] that she still thought of me as someone she could turn to was greater than any gift card, not that I dislike gift cards.” 

– Perry Shields, Electives Teacher at Oscar De La Hoya Charter High School

What would be the best thing you could receive from a student?

Give thanks

“The best gift I could receive would be gratitude. You can teach a student a lot of things but you can’t teach them how to be grateful. So when a student tells you ‘thank you’, you know it’s genuine and comes from the heart.”

– Anonymous Teacher


“A thank you gift made by the student specifically for me.” 

– John Kannofsky, Art Teacher at Ánimo Venice Charter High School

Give recognition and respect

“A letter that truly comes from their heart.” 

– Jessica Aguilar, Spanish Teacher at Ánimo Watts College Prep Academy


“The best gift I could receive from a student is recognition of all the hard work that happens both inside and outside of the classroom.” 

– Anonymous Teacher

Give back

Best Teacher Gift

“Students becoming teachers and working at their alma mater is the best gift a student could give me. We ask our students to push themselves to be the best they can. When their dream is to carry the same torch and come back to inspire others – I don’t know what more I could hope for.”  

– William Heuisler, History Teacher at Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School

“The best gift I could receive is to see a student that I worked with come back to the community and be an agent of change.” 

– Ke’Len A. Armstrong M.A Ed, Green Dot Administrator in Residence

While gift cards, flower bouquets and coffee mugs are great, our teachers say nothing can replace a sentimental note of appreciation and gratitude.

The post Best Teacher Gifts – as Decided by Teachers appeared first on Green Dot Public Schools Blog.

Source: ACPA Blog