Skip to main content

Thank a Teacher Day: Head's most memorable gifts

Child giving teacher gift
In this week's School Savvy blog, headteacher Matt Revill reveals the most memorable and bizarre presents he and his colleagues have received on Thank a Teacher Day, with some tips on how to show your appreciation this year.

Thank a Teacher Day is a delightful opportunity for us to show appreciation for the incredible work our educators do every day. As a headteacher, I see first-hand the hard work, patience and passion that our teachers bring to the classroom. While a simple 'Thank you' is always cherished, some students and parents take this gratitude to a whole new level with some truly memorable gifts.

So, let's take a light-hearted look at some of the wackiest and most wonderful gifts teachers have received on Thank a Teacher Day!

Something fishy about this…

One of my colleagues still laughs about the time she received a live goldfish in a jar. A charming and unexpected gift that led to an impromptu trip to the pet store for a proper tank. Although it’s not a gift I would recommend giving (for practical reasons) the goldfish in question is now living happily in this teacher’s front room – a living reminder of the appreciation their student felt for their hard work.

Good enough for a 'sock' star

Another teacher in my school received a single sock from a student. The explanation? The child had lost the other one but thought it was still a good idea to give what he had. The thoughtful (and humorous) gesture didn’t quite solve any wardrobe dilemmas, but it certainly warmed their heart.

Smell you later!

One of my own more peculiar gifts was a half-used roll-on deodorant stick. The child proudly explained that he preferred its scent to my aftershave and thought it would help me smell better. Practical advice from a very sincere source!

Break time indulgence

There have also been incredibly thoughtful and creative gifts. One year, I received a homemade Teacher Survival Kit filled with essentials like chocolate, coffee and home-baked cookies, each accompanied by witty labels such as ‘For when you need a quick escape’ and ‘Because caffeine is a teacher’s best friend.’ This thoughtful kit truly made my day and was a delightful treat during break time.

Gifts that give you the feels

One touching moment I recall is when a student (who had struggled with their learning) presented me with a meticulously hand-drawn portrait of myself. The effort and love put into the drawing spoke volumes, far beyond words. It’s now framed in my office at home, a daily reminder of the meaningful connections we make with our students.

Another one that really sticks with me is from my time as a newly qualified teacher when a child in my class brought me half a bag of Maltesers as it was all they had at home. Knowing these were his favourite chocolates, I was so touched that he had wanted to bring them in for me, so we shared them at playtime, which was such a lovely memory to keep.

Simple gestures go a long way

As teachers, we don’t expect gifts or cards on this day. While Thank a Teacher Day is a fantastic reminder to show gratitude, it’s essential to remember that teachers deserve appreciation all year round. The dedication they display daily—preparing lessons, grading work, and providing emotional support—often goes unnoticed.

Simple gestures, such as a kind word, a thank-you note, or even a chat at the end of a busy day, can make a significant difference. So, whether it’s through a quirky gift, a heartfelt note, or ongoing support, let’s make every day an opportunity to thank a teacher.


Matt Revill is a primary school headteacher with over 20 years experience of working in schools. He has worked in a range of settings and currently works within a multi-academy trust of 14 schools. In his free time, he enjoys reading, computing, holidaying and spending time with his family and friends. Matt has a son who is currently working his way through A-levels at college.

Matt Revill photo