Mental Floss

15 Smart Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

Rebecca OConnell
Smart Shopping Team
Treat a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Treat a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week. / Marilyn Nieves/Getty Images
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Whether it's a friend with a teaching job, your child's teacher, or your own professor, you probably know at least one person who spends their days at a blackboard. National Teacher Appreciation Week 2022 is happening Monday, May 2 through Friday, May 6, so celebrate by getting the perfect gift to thank your favorite educator for all their hard work.

1. Retro Pens, Set of 5; $11

Kikkerland Retro Pens on a white background
Kikkerland Retro Pens / Kikkerland/Amazon

From hall passes to report cards, teachers have to do a lot of writing—so help them do it in style. This set of five vintage-looking ballpoint pens comes in fun retro colors and they all write in black ink.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Wooden Animal Pencils, Set of 4; $10

Kikkerland Woodland Pencils sitting in a cup on a table
Kikkerland Woodland Pencils / Kikkerland/Amazon

If your teacher prefers pencils to pens, don’t worry—there are plenty of kitsch writing utensils to go around. These painted pencils look just like woodland creatures and are perfect for injecting whimsy into writing notes or completing a crossword puzzle. (For equally great writing utensils with a little less flair, check out our guide to bullet journal supplies.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Novel Teas, Set of 25; $14

Novel Teas tabs and tabs next to a stack of books and a teapot
Novel Teas / Bag Ladies Tea/Amazon

Bibliophiles and English teachers alike will definitely get a kick out of these novel tea bags. As the punny name suggests, each tea bag comes with a famous quote from classic literature. The English Breakfast tea will taste even better when enjoyed with the likes of Jane Austen.

Buy it: Amazon

4. National Parks Explorer Map; $40

National Parks Explorer Map on a tan background
National Parks Explorer Map / Seth and Maddy Lucas/Uncommon Goods

Maps aren't just important teaching tools—they also make for excellent home decor. But instead of focusing on history or geography, this map shows all of the national parks in the United States and includes a handy key that identifies each one. The owner can use included tree stickers to mark off which parks they've visited.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

5. Amazon Kindle; $90

Kindle on a bag with a pair of glasses and a smartphone
Kindle / Amazon

Heavy books can weigh down bags and backpacks, but you can take some of that weight away from your favorite teacher by gifting them a Kindle. Educators can access thousands of titles in a single device. One of the best features of this gadget, which offers 8 gigabytes (GB) of storage space, is that Amazon claims a single charge can make it run for up to four weeks at a time.

Buy it: Amazon

6. AstroAI Mini Fridge; $50

AstroAI Mini Fridge on a white background
AstroAI Mini Fridge / AstroAI/Amazon

Whether the teacher’s lounge is on the other side of the school or someone needs a snack within reach, a mini-fridge is a great gift for educators. This one can hold 4 liters, equivalent to six cans of soda. It can keep items cold at 32°F to 45°F, or keep food and drinks warm up to 150°F. It’s also portable, so teachers can take it home over the summer break.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Composition Notebook Tote; $22

Composition Notebook Tote Bag on a white background
Composition Notebook Tote Bag / Out of Print/Amazon

Teachers have to haul around a lot of stuff, so give them a fun bag to use when they do it. This tote bag from Out of Print is perfect for teachers with students who still use the classic composition notebooks. (There's also a library card version.) If you’re not crazy about the tote, they also have a ton of literary-inspired pouches.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Chair Socks, Set of 20; $10

Chair Socks on the end of stools
Chair Socks / Xsorter/Amazon

Noise-sensitive teachers sometimes put tennis balls on the bottom of chair legs to keep them from making loud scraping noises. If the educator you know is also aggravated by screeching chairs (or maybe just concerned about the floor getting scratched up), give them these chair socks. The set comes with four adorable cat paws that can fit on the legs of most chairs and desks. (If your favorite educator isn't into cutesy animals, there are also other more subtle designs available.)

Buy it: Amazon

9. Cork Globe; $30

Cork Globe on a white background
Cork Globe / Suck UK/Amazon

Lots of teachers have regular globes in their room, but they could probably use something a little more creative. This special globe is made from cork and comes with its own special set of red markers that can be used to show where they have traveled or what country their students are currently learning about.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Ember Mug; $150

Someone pouring water from a kettle into an Ember mug
Ember / Ember/Amazon

Teachers who need a caffeine fix in the morning before the kids arrive in the classroom know how disappointing it can be to return to a cold cup of coffee or tea. The Ember mug keeps the contents inside at a temperature between 120°F and 145°F for up to 80 minutes. This mug can eliminate the need to use the microwave in the teacher’s lounge.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Bernhard Products Colorful Kids Wall Clock; $26

Bernhard Products Colorful Kids Wall Clock on a white background
Bernhard Products Colorful Kids Wall Clock / Bernhard Products/Amazon

Teaching children how to tell time can feel almost archaic with modern technology. However, this wall clock makes it a fun, educational process. The bright green, red, blue, and yellow colors correspond with the minutes in each quarter to represent different parts of an hour. Even the hands of the clocks are labeled so kids can refer to it whenever they can’t remember which one is which.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook; $30

Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook with pen and rag on a white background
Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook / Rocketbook/Amazon

Teachers go through a lot of paper each day, but taking notes doesn't have to add to their carbon footprint. The Rocketbook Everlast notebook works with any Pilot FriXion pen or highlighter and can be used to beam notes to cloud services like Google Drive and Evernote. Once the pages are filled up, the notebook can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and used again.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Cleaner Spray; $12

Three bottles of Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface cleaner spray on a white background
Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Cleaner Spray / Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day/Amazon

From juice box spills to dirt smudges, classrooms are a hotbed for messes. Mrs. Meyer's multi-surface cleaner spray is a plant-based product that doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients and can help make classrooms sparkle. This spray can be used on countertops, walls, hardwood floors, and tiled surfaces and leaves a pleasant scent after cleaning up.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Amazon Prime; From $45

Amazon Prime delivery Box held by a person.
Amazon Prime Delivery Box /

Yes, Amazon offers gift memberships to Amazon Prime. Give your favorite teacher access to free shipping, thousands of music playlists, a ton of free e-books, and other Prime perks that would be useful both inside and outside the classroom. All you have to do is enter your favorite teacher's email address. If the recipient already has a Prime membership, your gift doesn't go to waste, either—it converts to a regular Amazon gift card. You can gift a three-month membership for $45 or a full year for $139.

Buy it: Amazon

15. Scratch-Off Book Poster; $28

Person using a coin to rub off the foil on a Scratch-Off Book Poster
Scratch-Off Book Poster / Amy and Umy/Amazon

Perfect for literature lovers, Amy and Umy's scratch-off poster of the top 100 must-read books of all time includes staples of classroom reading, like Pride & Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Catch 22. Your favorite teacher could use it to track their own reading list or incorporate it into their English curriculum—after the class finishes a book, they can scratch away the silver foil to reveal a design inspired by the book.

Buy it: Amazon

A version of this post first ran in 2016. It has been updated to reflect current prices in 2022.