What Your Kid’s Teacher Really Wants this Year for a Back-to-School Gift [Hint: not Apples]



  • Something other than fruit. Maybe a hamburger, a Target gift card, a bottle of gin, or the same pay as a man. You went on a wine tasting and gourmet food tour in Italy over the summer.  All you can think of is produce? It’s not the thought that counts when you bring them something that can rot on their desk and/or may contain worms.


  • For your child to wear a belt. They don’t want to see Graydon’s boxer shorts. There’s nothing in the pants of a 7th grader that warrants such a large crotch anyway, unless they are stuffing dollar bills down there. If so, they need to share the wealth with their teacher or belt it up and tuck it in.


  • Baked goods are nice. But don’t let your kid bake anything, smashed together in napkins at the bottom of their backpack. That’s gross. There is a lovely brownie from a small bakery in Colorado called “the chill-out” that has green flakes in it (ignore those/they are fine). They ship for free.


  • Candy. But not the leftover Halloween candy your child didn’t want. Do you think this is the days of Laura Ingles Wilder, where candy canes and oranges count for something? This person is teaching your child fractions, for crying out loud.  She shouldn’t have to fake a nut allergy to get away from Mr. Goodbar. The gym coach is creepy enough.


  • Everyone loves scented candles.  But not the cheap ones.  Step up your game and splurge on candles from anthropology that come in a blue orb-like container and smell like a mixture of hydrangeas and a really high paying job unlike the one your child’s teacher actually has.


  • Let’s discuss the lunch situation. The poor teachers only have fifteen minutes, and in that time they have to herd a bunch of monkeys into the lunchroom, through the line, and back out the door.  If you can only think of a compact snack that they could throw into their bag.  Something that fits neatly into their hand that doesn’t leave a lot of crumbs.  Maybe something sweet and easy to toss with no fussy wrapper? This is a tough one.  You’ll come up with something.


  • School supplies for their room. They tell us every year – Bring scissors! Don’t forget the school glue! Be sure and provide a box of tissues!  It never fails. By April our precious children are ripping paper with their fingers and using their own snot to make storybooks stick together.


  • A gift certificate for a nice dinner. They work so hard teaching your children and making sure they go home enriched and enlightened. But not from Applebee’s, which is only rich in calories and regret. And so cliché with the #apples


  • Cold, hard cash.  Please don’t assume that means a frozen-yogurt gift card, or that they would rather go to a bookstore and sip a latte.  That’s incorrect.  They want a nice bottle of wine or maybe a short weekend getaway.  Your secretary probably makes more money than Mr. Stevens and he has a PhD in physics.  So please hand him nothing short of twenties.


  • Your admiration and respect. Do you want to see these punk-ass kids all day long, trying to make sure they can recite Shakespeare?   No.  That’s why you send them to school.   So shower them with kindness, bring them the good pastries, buy them all the coffee they want, and beg them to not quit mid-year because of the alleged drug-dealing-situation happening in the high school.  It’s just a phase and everything is fine just fine.  If all else fails, buy them an apple [watch]. After all, it’s the thought that counts.


Creative Commons link here


  1. I’m the mom the sneaks in a heavily disguised brown bag for the teachers several times throughout the year. As a former teacher and wine educator I can use both of my areas of expertise to decide on something they will NEED and enjoy after a week with my cherubs.