College Graduation Gift Ideas for New Teachers

At many universities, a sizable percentage of students receive bachelor’s degrees in education and become teachers. Do you have a graduating teacher on your shopping list? If you want to help that new teacher celebrate their college graduation with a career-oriented token, here are a few practical gift ideas.

Gift Idea #1: The Teaching Bag.
If the new teacher is not already carrying an attractive bag from their student-teaching days, a professional briefcase or messenger bag makes a useful graduation gift. You can get leather or canvas. You can buy something that says “Smith State University Alumni.” You can personalize the bag with the graduate’s name (“Mr. Winters”). There are plenty of options, and you know your gift will see daily use.

Gift Idea #2: Professional Memberships.
There are a wide range of professional organizations just for teachers of specific subjects. While some memberships are automatic and paid for by the school, others are optional. Many of these organizations provide conference/networking opportunities and professional publications. If you are looking for a website that lists these groups, check out www.teachernet.com. Say, for example, you know a college graduate who will be teaching social studies. A membership to the National Council for Geographic Education might make a stellar niche gift!

Gift Idea #3: Books for New Teachers.
On one hand, the last thing new teachers want is to read more about teaching after they graduate from college! But realistically, there are a number of survival-guide books aimed at helping new teachers navigate their sea of students, and guides like this can be indispensable. Here are a few titles, just to plant some ideas:
The New-Teacher Toolbox : Proven Tips and Strategies for a Great First Year (ISBN 1569761566)
New Teacher Book: Finding Purpose, Balance and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom (ISBN 0942961455)
The New Teacher’s Complete Sourcebook (ISBN 043930301X)
Local bookstores and online giants like Amazon have plenty of these books. Some are even specialized for elementary school teachers, math teachers, religious educators, etc.

Gift Idea #4: School Supplies.
Given the fact that many districts face funding cuts and restrict supply budgets accordingly, teachers often end up spending their own money on extra classroom goodies because they care so much about their students’ experiences. Put some of that hard-earned money back in the pocket of a deserving teacher and buy some cool supplies appropriate for the students’ ages and the subject matter. From board games and chemistry sets to DVDs and posters, you’re bound to find something a new teacher will appreciate at college graduation. If you’re unsure what to buy (or if the teacher hasn’t secured a job yet), you can always get a gift certificate to the local teachers’ supply store.

Gift Idea #5: Comfy Chair.
Whether the college graduate is planning to teach the times tables or trigonometry, one thing’s for sure: they deserve a comfortable place to sit when they’re not pacing in front of the room. See if you can find out what their school’s chairs are like. If they leave something to be desired, consider getting the teacher a more comfortable chair for their desk or even a chaise for the corner of their room (as long as you know they’ll get their own classroom)!

Gift Idea #6: Diploma Frame.
Either on their college graduation day or in the weeks afterward, students receive their diplomas in a boring old holder. Help the new teacher display their credentials with pride by buying an attractive diploma frame. Many college bookstores sell institution-specific frames that include a seal or a campus photograph.

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