A good gift for a new teacher...

My wife will be starting her new career as a lower-school Chinese teacher in about a week. I want to give/do something for her that would be meaningful as she sets out in this new direction. Anyone have any ideas?

I know it depends largely on the person, but I’m hoping that someone will say something that will spark something in my mind, lead to a relevant idea or characteristic that would resonate with my wife.

I’d especially like something that would last a long time. Something that she could carry with her just to remember what she wants to do and how excited she is right now. My mother was a teacher all my life, and I taught for two years in Asia. I know there are many a day when the sheer fatigue of dealing with students easily overwhelms the starry-eyed visions you had at the beginning of your career of “making a difference.”

I know my sister in law treasures her “school bag” which is a soft leather shoulder bag my brother bought her when she started teaching (she is now a principal but still takes it each day). It has been through many repairs and refurbishments but it’s a lovely old thing. She also has journals from her early teaching years that have stuff done by all the kids she taught. She used to get each kid, at some time during the year, to fill in a couple of pages with stuff. She added a few personal details.

It is funny when she bumps into a former student in town. Someone she taught when they were 8 but they are now 30. She remembers them all. Funnily enough they usually address her as MRS.

I agree that if you’re looking for something actually appreciated and used for 20 years, a very good bag is a fine idea. It’s essentially the only thing I got for Christmas two years ago (I’d lobbied for getting almost nothing), and it’s one of the most used gifts I’ve ever gotten since being a kid.

I would agree on a good bag: I bought my teacher bag in Italy on a school trip, and I love it. Delivered flowers are also really, really nice, though of course they don’t keep. But it’s possible to feel very very lonely and isolated in a class full of strange little people that see you as The Teacher, and it’s nice to look over and see something beautiful that was given to you, the person.

Some sort of trinket to keep on whatever ring she keeps her classroom keys on (assuming they are seperate from her car keys) or her lanyard (if she wears a badge) would also be memorable, and she’d see them every day.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I had not considered a bag, and that’s a very good suggestion.

I have thought about the flowers and will probably do that regardless of what else I buy.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

Is she going to bring her lunch to school? I have a really great thermos and insulated lunch bag, because our school has no refrigerators that teachers can use, nor access to good coffee unless you bring your own or have a hot pot in your classroom. The thermos keeps my water ice cold all day (though she might want to keep hot tea or coffee in hers), and the insulated bag keeps my yogurt from turning over the course of the day.

Though I have to agree that a nice, capacious, sturdy teacher bag would be a great gift also.

I would totally agree with the bag.

Every single teacher I’ve seen from Kindergarten to college professors, carries a bag. They need them.

A nice quality one which she can take throughout her whole career is a perfect idea.

Inside the bag put sticky notes, ibuprofen, acetominophen and the most important item, chocolate. :smiley:

Don’t forget tissues and hand sanitizer.

Forgive me, but I’m guy who is now looking for a bag (thanks to your wonderful suggestions), and I don’t know where to go. What is a good store to go to for a good teacher’s bag?

I don’t know stores, but when you go take a 3-ring binder and a manila folder: the bag needs to be sized for those things more than for a laptop. Beyond that, it’s more about what your wife likes than anything else.

Trust me when I say a teacher outgrows a “bag” really, really fast. I see other teachers carrying luggage with wheels - and I am not joking!

I was looking for something to hold my books, papers, drinks, pens, notecards, etc. and then one day I was walking through Home Depot - and there was a stack of big silver cases, designed for workman to carry tools. I opened it and it was perfect! Where the screwdrivers and hammers would go, my markers and pens fit perfectly! the base of the case held all my books, with room to spare for a few water bottles and other odds and ends. The best part - it only cost me $19.99 for what looks like a $100 or more briefcase!

Other things to consider for a new teacher:
Laser pointer
Nice pen
Day book
Set of color board markers (not regular ink markers!)
Flash drive (if she uses a computer in class)
A pocket watch with timer (to set times when having students do projects in class)
Laptop computer

My wife is a teacher and , FYI, she doesn’t like things with the “teacher apple” on it.

Don’t worry. I wouldn’t do that.

I was going to suggest a bansai plant because it symbolizes a teacher molding students into something beautiful and unique.