10 Gifts To Show Appreciation For Your Professor

Teachers and educators are some of the most memorable people in someone’s life. They can give you lessons in life that you can use even outside of the classroom. During your education years, you might meet a fantastic professor that motivates you to succeed. And what better way to show your appreciation than giving a gift? 

Some schools allow accepting gifts as long as it is not worth more than the monetary amount stated in the policy. Other schools strictly prohibit their faculty from accepting gifts. Some of the most common gifts given are mugs, sticky notes, food, and other non-material appreciation tokens if gifting is accepted. 

There are teachers and professors who go above and beyond just to give the best lessons for their class. With this level of dedication to the craft, appropriate gifts are well deserved. If you want to leave a token of appreciation, check out some gift ideas for your profession on the list below.  

Gifts To Show Appreciation For Your Professor?

Is It Okay To Give Your Professor A Gift? 

Gifting a professor is often rooted in the desire to show gestures of appreciation for someone who shared knowledge and education. Unfortunately, this small gesture might become something unethical in the wrong circumstances. There are many ethical concerns regarding giving gifts to professionals, such as bribing and other hidden meanings.

Because of this, there are certain policies implemented by schools to prevent malicious gifting from happening. In some cases, these rules are implemented state-wide for public school teachers and staff. If you’re planning to gift someone, you might want to check about the school’s and state’s policies first. 

For institutions and states that allow giving gifts, there is often a policy for what kind of gift is appropriate or not. An example of this is the Commonwealth of Massachusettes, which prohibits gifts worth more than $50. On the other hand, the University of Iowa doesn’t consider non-monetary items worth below $3 as gifts. 

Professional Preferences

Most teachers and educators choose to accept gifts wisely and refuse those that might be malicious or detrimental to their careers. After all, students can either give a harmless drawing, a jar of shareable cookies, or a brand new MacBook Pro. Either way, it’s obvious which gift needs to be flatly refused to avoid conflict of interest. 

Some professors will refuse all the gifts being given entirely due to professionalism. And yes, not even a jar of cookies or other non-material objects. In this case, a thoughtfully written note or card is enough to send the message across. A handwritten note is often enough for dedicated educators to know that their efforts are appreciated. 

Can Professors Accept Gifts From Students? 

Yes, as long as it is within the scope of laws surrounding gifting for public officials and educators. But they can also refuse a gift if the intent behind it is not a good one. Besides, some professors will refuse gifts at all. 

Much like gifts for other occasions, there is a good time and place for gifting a professor. Giving a gift, no matter how innocent or cheap, should be done on an appropriate occasion. This can vary from school to school, but there are a few circumstances wherein gifting is not a bad idea. 

When Is A Gift Acceptable? 

Below are some instances wherein gifting a teacher or a professor is acceptable. Be mindful of the kind of gift to prepare. If possible, it’s better to give a gift as a class or group of friends after graduation. This way, the gift won’t be perceived as a bribe or an act of misconduct on the professor’s part. 

When You’re A Graduating Student

At last! After a few years of studying and sleepless nights, you’re finally included on the list of graduating students. Your hard work had paid off, and you’re excited to go to the next level. There’s only one thing left to do: get something for your inspiring and motivating teachers. 

In most schools, a student who gives something nice to their professors is normal. In fact, an exchange of gifts even happens from students and advisors on higher education, especially after a successful event like a doctoral defense. 

When The Gift Is Collective

Another great time to give your gift is via a group effort. If a student wants to share something with the class during their birthday, the teacher can be a part of the recipients. You can also opt for giving the whole faculty a gift instead if your budget is too low to gift your entire class.


A collective gift can also be a few small tokens from several students. For example, international students who decided to share a few sweets from their countries with the whole class would be considered a collective gift. A typical example of this is during winter breaks when students bought some native products from their home country and shared it with anyone. 

In rare instances, a whole class can make an effort to gift something if a specific teacher or professor has been a great help throughout the year. 

When There Is A Major Occasion 

A “good occasion” is not just something that can be celebrated each year. You can gift your professor if he or she has gone through a major life event. For example, the professor has finally gotten married or had a first child. Most of these gifts can also be given collectively, with the whole class chipping in to give something. 

Another example is when the teacher underwent a life-threatening experience and survived.  Most of these usually happen when the teacher gets into an accident, and the gift is a token of the wish to get well, hoping for a fast recovery. Either way, the gift should not be material or expensive. 

10 Appropriate Gifts For A Professor

1. Desk Organizer

Every teacher faces the problem of organizing their stuff correctly on a daily basis. Files should be easy to track while being able to store items safely. A good desk organizer is a nice gift for teachers and professors who always handle tons of papers from numerous classes. 

2. Cookies (Or Other Baked Goods)

Nothing beats saying “thank you” than giving baked goods like cookies in a jar (or a pack.) Additionally, the recipient can share it with colleagues or other students as well. The safest option when gifting baked goods is to make sure it’s gluten-free and allergen-free, especially because you might not know about someone’s allergies. 

3. Coffee Mug

Busy teachers can always be chugging down some form of caffeine through coffees or teas. That’s why a  lot of students give personalized mugs as gifts to their professors.  There are several customizable mugs in the market, like this math-themed mug for math professors. 

4. Sticky Notes

Other office staples are notepads and sticky notes. Although cheap and simple, these items are effective in organizing lessons and events for each class. You can even get sticky note packs that come in various colors and sizes for less than $20.

5. Chalk / Marker

Chalks and markers are still very useful, even during online classes. This office supply like markers and chalk boxes will always be a useful tool for teachers and educators. You can get an 8-piece marker box for less than $10 box.  

6. “Crave Box” 

Most teachers and professors barely have the time to rest and go on with their next class. A simple snack can be quite an indulgent treat before taking on another challenging lecture. Sample boxes or “crave boxes” are quite popular as office snacks which can be bought for less than $20. 

7. Tumblers

Anyone should stay hydrated, especially during hot climates. A handy travel tumbler is a great gift for teachers on the go.  These tumblers are popular gifts during teacher appreciation week and are relatively cheap at less than $15 a piece. 

8. Mug Warmer 

Coffee mug warmers can be your teacher’s next favorite thing next to a cup of coffee. It keeps the beverage nicely warm without taking up a considerable amount of space. The best thing about this is its variety. Most electric mug warmers can heat tea, water, and other beverages with hits settings installed. 

9. Extra Caffeine 

What would a coffee mug and a mug warmer be used for without a good blend of coffee? You can give a whole coffee beans pack for teachers that love to use the french press in the morning. For those who are on-the-go and need a fast shot of caffeine, a brand of really good instant coffee should do the trick. 

10. A Simple “Thank You” Note

If you like to go into a traditional route, nothing beats giving a simple “thank you” notes. But you don’t have to stay confined into boring sheets of paper or notebooks. You might want to use thank you cards with envelopes, in case the teacher would love to add them to the collection of thank you notes for safekeeping. 

11. Bonus tips