For Parents

10+ Great Gift Ideas for Teachers

10:15 AM

Your dance teacher has poured countless hours into teaching and making a recital happen... here are a few gift ideas to show your appreciation!

What gift should I give to my dance teacher

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As a teacher myself, I've gotten my fair share of gifts during recital season! Depending on your studio culture, at some studios it is a faux pas not to give a gift to your teacher! Here are a few of the gifts I have received that have been my favorite!

1. Hand-written letters, cards and drawings

I keep every single card I've ever gotten. Every card, bookmark, letter, and scribble a kid gives me goes on my wall for a year, and then gets put in a large manila envelope with the year on the front.

dance teacher gift
card set

Yeah I'm a little obsessive. But they're so dang cute. I mean look at these!
dance teacher gift ideas

When I asked my network of dance teachers? They agreed. Hand-written notes (even if the child's handwriting is illegible) and drawings are our favorite.

dance teacher gift ideas
Ballerina thank you card

2. Gift Cards or Cash

Let's be honest - most teachers, including dance teachers, don't make a lot of money. Gift cards are a great way to let your teacher spoil themselves a little. (Fun fact - during Recital and Christmastime, I rack up so much Starbucks credit I can eat there 3-meals a day for a week. It's heaven).

Starbucks, Amazon, Target, Michaels or another craft store, or even a nice restaurant are all wonderful gifts to receive! (And just think; if you buy them through somewhere like Swagbucks, you get discounts and cash back). I-tunes or any other music-service is also great. And don't forget Etsy!

And let's think about it for a second; have you ever been disappointed when you got cash money? No? me neither. Trust me, it's thoughtful! You just paid for my parking for the theater, or bought me lunch after the show!

3. Dancewear, Leg warmers, or (classy) hair accessories

One year, a student gave me leg warmers for end-of-year. They are still some of my favorites and I wear them regularly! I've also gotten the only jewelry I ever wear: hair clips. Once I got a beautiful ballerina barrette, way back when I started assisting! I was 16, still have it!

dance teacher gift ideas
Elegant Flower barrette

Ballet skirts (specifically the longer-length ones), dance teacher shirts, a gift card to a dance store (we need new ballet shoes once a year, too!) are all wonderful to get.

dance teacher gift ideas
romantic pearl hair clip

dance teacher gift ideas
These leg warmers have knee pads to protect knees while doing floor work (or teaching little kids)

dance teacher gift ideas
Baiwu Skirt

4. A themed bag or purse

Did you know that dance bags wear out after a while? Mine is literally shredded on the inside. Time for a new one. I'm honestly holding out until recital so I can use one of my gift cards to get a new bag. (Post on the best dance bags ever coming up soon!)

dance teacher gift ideas
Ballet bag by Bags By April
dance teacher gift ideas
Danshuz Adage bag

5. Hand-made (or home-baked)

I've gotten popcorn, cookies, caramels, and many more amazing goodies from families and students. Trust me, it doesn't go to waste! (though some teachers have allergies or special diets, so double-check first!)

Anything that can be shared, snacked on, or is as adorable as these swan cookies are totally a winner. Here are a few of my faves:

 I've also gotten hand-knit scarves and hats, which are still some of my favorites.

6. Wine (or any kind of alcohol)

This is an amazing recital gift. Just sayin'. Don't know what we like? Ask. We'll be looking forward to it for weeks. Or a gift card always works.

from Brittany Cobb. Used with permission

7. Pain Relief or a Spa gift card

Give me some arnica, pain-a-trate, some bath salts, a heating pad, or a microwavable rice pad! You know how bad my feet hurt after recital? I run up and down 3 flights of stairs for 2 days straight. Time for a massage.

dance teacher gift ideas
Hot or Cold pack
dance teacher gift ideas
multi-use hot and cold pack

8. Flowers - Bouquets, or Potted

Bouquets are great for everyone - they're beautiful, and then they die and you can throw them away without feeling guilty. They don't take up too much space and clutter your home after years and years and years. Flowers are always a perfect gift.

dance teacher gift ideas

Potted plants are awesome if your dance teacher has a garden. Many teachers I talked to said their favorite gifts were potted plants that they could plant and keep alive.

9. Go in as a class
Want to get your teacher something really special but you can't afford it? Several teachers I spoke with said they got larger gifts from the class as a whole, and everyone had pitched in what they could. These were everything from beautifully framed photographs, to Disney gift cards, to a tablet to make dance class easier.

dance teacher gift ideas
Photo by Csaba Balazs on Unsplash

10. Something special and unique

When I asked the teachers in my network what their favorite gifts were, here are some of the super unique gifts they say have been their favorites:

  • "Forget-me-not plant! It's still growing in my garden." 
  • "A book of drawings that one of my kids made me"
  • "A bottle of wine and a lottery ticket"
  • "When my time at a (School) l was coming to an end, the dance kids made a big "Thank You" poster for me. I was so touched, I framed it and hung it in my home office. Whenever I feel demoralized, I read the poster to remind myself that I do make a difference."
  • "One of the best gifts I received was a hand stitched rice heating pad for sore muscles. They picked the cutest fabric and I really got good use out of it."
  • "Scarves. I wear a different one every day, and after years, I've never gotten the same one twice." 
  • "My favorite gift was a YouTube video of highlights that a mom made for me!"
  • "My favorite was a jar of smiles... one of my students decorated a mason jar and inside contained about 30 slips of folded paper each with a very unique, specific to me, reason why I am a special teacher. Whenever I need a pick me up, I open the jar and read a slip or two. It is amazing!!"
  • "My pre-company of 5-8-year-olds years ago, put together a framed picture of their hands which made a tutu. On the back was a poem about little girls watching everything I do, and them wanting to grow up like me."
  • "Another special one was from my 2017 graduates. During our finale, we had a very heartfelt thank you and goodbye type of thing, and they got their flowers and seniors gifts. They presented a beautiful frame to my manger and me, that they had each put a special photo in, some individual writing, and a quote at the bottom about the journey not ending, but it being just the beginning. It took everything for me to not burst into tears!"
  • "One of those things you put on your key chain and it finds your phone or you can use your phone to find your keys. Absolutely genius for the scatterbrained teacher."
And just in case you were wondering, here are some things that teachers are really tired of getting (Although, we always appreciate any gift! Thank you for thinking of us!)
  • Tumblers, mugs, or cups - trust me, we have more than enough! 
  • Lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, etc. Just like you, we know what we like! 
  • Decorations, wall-hangings, or Christmas ornaments (though some teachers do collect these and do a whole "dance-studio-tree.")
  • Candles (again, some people love these. But most of us have more than enough.)

Are you ready for recital! Check out the Recital Etiquette Guide!

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