8 Gifts for a Teacher (under $20)

December sees the launch of the second #slowchatgiftx winter gift exchange. A twitter gift exchange with 60 educators from across North America signed up to take part in a feel-good activity that will see them paired up with another educator with whom to share a gift up to a value of $20.

If you follow the hashtag #slowchatgiftx you’ll see tweets from teachers sharing their gifts. Last year I bought The Hood Health Handbook for @UrbanWellnessEd, and in return I received an amazing box of Vermont goodies (coffee, maple syrup and chocolates) from @HealthTeachVT.

So with the gift exchange in mind, and the gift giving season upon us, I thought I would share my list of 8 gifts for a teacher (under $20).

Starbucks Gift Card.

I read a blog post suggesting that these don’t make for a great gift, and admittedly they are the modern day equivalent to the novelty ties that I received back in the day. However, THIS teacher loves coffee and I’ll happily take gift card donations towards my caffeine addiction.

Alternate ideas to Starbucks would be an Amazon or a Target gift card. Admittedly I might end up spending those on family items, but at least the gift would be well received.


Books. Give the gift of reading

There are so many books being recommended on social media that there’s no way we can keep up with them all. I can vouch for the following three books that might be my top 3 reads for 2018.

Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker ($11.55). You’ll never look at your sleep hygiene in the same way again.

Irresistible by Adam Alter ($11.55). That tech addiction you’ve been meaning to get a handle on? Yeah, you’ll pay closer attention to that after reading this.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo ($11). If courageous conversations about race are still difficult, this book will make them just a little easier to navigate. You can thank me for that later – this book is amazing.

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See this article for more book recommendations.

Pins with a message

I love the pins with a message from Radical Dreams (from $9) and have given them away as gifts to relatives and also to one of my students. If you go to a #PhysEd conference you’ll see teachers wearing their pins proudly and I even make pins with my students as part of an advocacy project.


Personalize something

I’ve personalized many items for friends and family in the past. Ideas include personalized pencils (eBay), personalized beanie hats (Etsy) and personalized coffee mugs (Vistaprint). In fact, why not consider purchasing a #sendateacher mug for $16. Read more about those here.


Something old fashioned

Recently at the #IAHPERD18 conference I saw the awesome health educator Mary Wentland inspire the crowd with her innovative teaching methods. In a kinesthetic activity that introduced the concepts of effective communication she had 14 educators stand on polyspots and had us try and solve the ‘cracker barrel puzzle’. Other educators stood around the outside, fish-bowl style and made notes on what they heard and saw. Not only was this a great way to introduce a skill, but it also made me want to purchase a set of old fashioned wooden puzzles ($9.99).


Did I mention reading? How about a magazine subscription?

Magazine subscriptions always seem a great idea, until the deal expires and your card gets charged at the full rate next time around. This is where www.discountmagazines.com comes in. Not only are their subscription pricers ridiculously low, but they also don’t auto-renew. Sign up for their newsletter to get the best deals. Current deals include a year of Womens Health for $14.97 and my favorite Outside Magazine for $19.95.


A gift that keeps giving

If you are looking for a gift that will benefit three people why not get a #sendateacher shirt ($19) from sendateacher.com? These shirts are designed by health and PE teachers and are for health and PE teachers. 100% of the profits from each #sendateacher item goes towards helping teachers in need, the recipient of the item will look good in a unique shirt, plus you’ll feel good knowing that you are helping others. To date the initiative has helped send four public school teachers to the SHAPE America national conference, assisted with a number of GoFund Me campaigns plus raised money for a school demolished by #HurricaneHarvey.

Read more about the #sendateacher fundraising initiative here.

Slowchathealth Magazine 1 (4)

Something you never knew you needed

Sometimes you get given a gift that you never knew you needed. And then you can never imagine living without it. The Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Top-Spiral Notebook ($13.57) is one such gift and is also a perfect gift for the person who has everything. These waterproof notebooks are small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket and tough enough to survive any of Mother nature’s onslaughts. This scrappy pocket notebook will survive rain, sweat, mud, Snow, oil, and grease. Perfect for writing down your creative thoughts when you’re in the shower (!).


Whatever gift you choose to give the teacher in your life, know that when I was a teacher back in London, the typical gift from students was….a bottle of wine. There were many last days before winter break when I had a line of students at my desk eager to present me with a festive bottle of red wine. And I have to admit…..it’s a tradition that I have continued with the teachers of my own two sons.


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