Some of the best people we know are teachers. They have a difficult job to do, many don't earn nearly as much as they should, and yet they continue, year after year, with dedication and commitment to their jobs and to their students.
So when it comes time for a teacher to retire, it's a big deal! And the best way to kick off a happy retirement is with a great gift.
Are you heading to a teacher retirement party? Do you just want to give something little to your favorite teacher on their last day at school? Either way, here’s our gift guide of the 16 best teacher retirement gifts that they'll treasure for years to come.
Tips for Buying a Teacher a Retirement Gift
It's easy to default to buying a gift that says "best teacher" or "favorite teacher." But it’s just as easy to find a gift that's much more personal and unique.
Outside of school, what interests does your teacher have? Do they like they read? Travel? Cook? Play golf? If you want to buy a thoughtful gift, look for something that they can actually use beyond their teaching years.
And, most importantly, stick to your budget.
There are tons of great retirement gifts for teachers available at all different price points, so set a budget and don't spend above your means. After all, if your teacher was a good teacher, they probably taught you common sense!
If the retiring teacher is a family member or friend, it's definitely best to get them a gift that doesn't scream "teacher." After all, they'll probably get plenty of those from their students.
Ready to find a great gift for a retiring teacher that you love and respect? Here are our 16 picks for the best teacher retirement gifts:
Do you know a retiring English teacher who loves to read The New Yorker? If so, they'll surely love The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons. This book includes a collection of cartoons from The New Yorker magazine, all relating to the joy (and horrors) of teaching.
Even if they’ve seen them all and read them all before, it’s a fun collection, all done in that classic The New Yorker style.
Available at Amazon, $24.95
Retirement comes with a lot of free time, which is the perfect opportunity for teachers to finally chronicle their lives and tell their stories. The My Life Story - So Far is a guided journal that prompts you to write and record certain details of your life.
It's a great gift for anyone of any age, but it's especially perfect for a retiree.
Available at Uncommon Goods, $30
Technically, Because I Had a Teacher is a children's book. But at its core, it's a sweet tale of a child discovering just how powerful a teacher can be.
It's similar to when you graduate high school, and someone gives you a copy of the classic Dr. Suess book Oh, The Places You'll Go. It's not entirely meant for you, but it still has meaning. If you’re looking for a sweet, sentimental gift, this is a great option.
Available at Amazon, $7.29
There is no denying teachers spend a lot of time on their feet. So when it's finally time to retire and take it easy, they'll probably be looking for lots of different ways to relax. The Foot Spa Collapsible Foot Bath is made exactly for that reason.
This foot bath features a collapsible design that folds nearly flat for easy storage, even in small spaces. It also has dots and massage rollers to hit those important acupressure points. It's the perfect gift for anyone who needs an excuse to kick back, relax and soak their tootsies.
Add a bag of Epsom salts to give them an extra treat!
Available at Amazon, $32.89
It doesn’t matter whether you’re shopping for a science teacher, a math teacher or an educator in some other field. The Retirement Gift Box is the perfect present for the teacher you don’t know outside the classroom.
This gift set is packaged in a colorful cardboard box and includes a fresh succulent, a soy candle and a little jar of colored matches. It’s simple and sweet, the perfect kind of retirement gift to say thank you for the hard work you’ve done.
Available at Etsy, $25.99
If you need a gift for a teacher who loves to drink wine, this is the best retirement gift on this list! But the Steeplechase Vineyards Spa Collection Gift Basket isn’t your average wine gift basket. This set is loaded with all sorts of goodies, including two bottles of vino and a huge assortment of bath and spa products.
This gift basket is filled with a lavender vanilla bubble bath, shower gel, bath salts, body lotion, a sachet bag and all sorts of other wonderful smelling things. It’s essentially like enjoying a luxurious spa day from the comfort of home.
Available at Wine Country Gift Baskets, $89.95
Is your retiring teacher planning to travel the world once the school year ends? The Engraved Passport Holder isn’t your standard personalized gift. This is the type of gift they can use over and over again throughout their entire lifetime.
This passport holder is made from soft leather and can be monogrammed on the outside and detailed with a personal message on the inside.
Available at Etsy, $42
Having an end of the year celebration for your favorite retiring teacher? If you think travel plans are in their future, the Oversized Travel Duffel Bag is a gift they’ll get lots of use out of.
This weekender bag is made from waterproof canvas with rich leather trim and features a timeless look that never goes out of style. It’s simply perfect for packing a weekend’s worth of clothing and toiletries or using it as a carry-on bag for an extended flight.
Available at Amazon, $49.99
The All 50 States Journal is a truly unique gift, especially for the retiring teacher whose bucket list includes visiting all 50 states.
Spiral-bound with a hardcover and recycled paper, this journal includes 200 pages so you can record all sorts of details of your trips across the United States. It’s also full of state maps and interesting little tidbits about the various states in the union.
Available at Top Notch Gift Shop, $21.95
The Crystal Apple Paperweight is the perfect keepsake for a beloved teacher. This personalized gift can be customized with a special message that either wishes your teacher a happy retirement or lets them know how influential they have been in your life.
It’s a traditional gift with a classic look, making it perfect for placing on any desktop or bookshelf.
Available at Things Remembered, $25
We love funny gifts that can put a smile on one’s face, and these Retirement Golf Balls are designed to do precisely that. This fun retirement present is ideal for any retiring teacher who loves to golf, and you can select from a variety of printing colors to give them an even more unique look.
This set includes three Callaway golf balls that can actually be teed off on the green or saved as a keepsake. If you want to turn this into an even greater gift, add a golf towel, tees or other golf accessories.
Available at Etsy, $10.88
This candle is made from American grown soy wax and features a cotton wick and a reusable glass jar. The front reads, “retired life is the best life,” while the back can be customized with your own unique message or well wishes.
It comes in two different sizes, but we suggest buying the larger one for just a few dollars more.
Available at Etsy, $28
If you’re looking for funny retirement gift ideas for a beloved educator, this is a great option – especially if they love to cook! The Retired Teacher Apron is made from cotton twill and features a long length with a graphic print that reads “retired teacher but I still have class.”
With an adjustable neck strap and ties that knot at the waist, this apron includes two side pockets, making it perfect for use in the kitchen or when you’re grilling outdoors.
Available at Zazzle, $27.45
We love this gift for anyone who’s about to retire, but it’s especially great for a special teacher who deserves to be reminded of how great they really are! With double-wall insulation to keep wine cold for hours, the Retired Wine Tumbler is made from durable stainless steel and comes in a pretty shade of rose gold with a contrast top.
A personalized wine glass makes for a great retirement gift, but we like this tumbler better for the fact that you can carry it anywhere and use it outdoors.
And just in case your teacher doesn’t drink wine, this tumbler can also be used for water, soda, coffee and all sorts of hot or cold beverages.
Available at Amazon, $18.99
If it’s a funny teacher gift you’re searching for, the Retired Teacher Coffee Mug is it. Perfect for drinking that morning cup of coffee, this ceramic mug features a humorous print that reads “retired teacher, every child left behind.”
Detailed with a suitcase and a paper airplane, this silly mug is an inexpensive yet thoughtful way to say farewell to any retiring teacher that you love. If you happen to know what type of coffee or tea your retiree likes to drink, you can make it an even better gift by including a box of tea bags or a bag of coffee beans.
Available at Amazon, $14.95
Perfect for a high school English teacher or any instructor that made you spend hours in the library, the Library Card Tote Bag is fun, funny and practical. This unique tote bag is made from durable cotton fabric and features a fun print that looks like a blank library card – simply perfect for anyone who loves books!
This tote is ideal for carrying all sorts of day-to-day items and includes a small inside pocket to hold your phone, keys, or other small accessories. It’s great for toting books around town, but it can also be used as a travel tote or a shopping tote.
Available at Uncommon Goods, $20
What Are the Best Gifts for Retiring Teachers?
Most people will agree that a special school teacher can have a huge impact on your life. From those that challenge you and make you work extra hard to those that encourage and inspire, teachers play an important role in our lives, no matter who we are or where we come from.
And if you want to celebrate a teacher’s retirement in a meaningful way, you’ll probably want to give them a great gift.
From books to funny gifts to personalized presents, there are tons of great gift ideas out there for teachers that are about to start their retirement.
So think about what your teacher loves. Think about what they might do when they no longer have to go to work every day. And, most importantly, stick to your budget.
Whether you want to spend a lot or a little, there are great teacher gifts to suit everyone’s budget!
You might also be interested in: The 13 Best Summer Jobs for Teachers
The 16 Best Teacher Retirement Gifts:
- The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons Hardcover Book
- My Life Story - So Far
- Because I Had a Teacher Hardcover Book
- Foot Spa Collapsible Foot Bath
- Retirement Gift Box
- Steeplechase Vineyards Spa Collection Gift Basket
- Engraved Passport Holder
- Oversized Travel Duffel
- All 50 States Journal
- Apple Paperweight
- Retirement Golf Balls
- Retired Life Candle
- Retired Teacher Apron
- Retired Wine Tumbler
- Retired Teacher Coffee Mug
- Library Card Tote Bag