I am currently in my seventh year of teaching at one of our local middle schools. By the time students get to middle school the gift giving begins to dwindle because now students have 6+ teachers instead of one or two. Purchasing six extra gifts can be a bit time consuming and if you have more than one child then you really have your hands full during the holiday season. I'm here to give you some dos and don'ts about teacher gifts to make sure your time and money are appreciated.
1). Mugs. I have received 10 a year x 7 years = not enough room for 70 mugs. They end up at the local thrift store. Sorry.
2). Baked goods. Food poisoning is a thing. I got it my first year teaching and I'm not convinced that it wasn't intentional. Besides people have so many food allergies it's just not a good idea.
3). Soaps and body lotions. Again, allergies and we don't all like the same smells.
4). Cash. Seems too much like a bribe
1). A handwritten note from you and/or our student showing appreciation. Teachers often work 2-3 hours in the evening after teaching all day. When you notice that we are working hard it gives us the motivation to keep on. Teaching is a lonely job and our clientele isn't great about dishing out compliments.
2). School supplies. If you don't buy them then we have to. We won't let our precious kiddos go without tissues, a clean desk, expo markers, pencils, markers, glue sticks, etc.
3). Gift Cards. We love gift cards. Even if it is just $5 for the local coffee shop. We also love gas cards, grocery cards, etc.
Of course, there is always a gray area. If your student has a great bond with a specific teacher or an inside joke then gifts that fit that mold are appropriate. One of my favorite gifts was a framed picture of our vocabulary words for the entire year in the shape of the United States map. My students would always poke fun about how much I drilled vocabulary so this was a sweet unusual appropriate gift that I will continue to cherish. Another student gave me a bobblehead of Franklin Roosevelt as he is one of my favorite presidents to teach about and they knew I would love it!
Good luck with your gift giving and please know that our greatest gift is being able to teach your child, we don't expect gifts but they are always appreciated.