Coming from a family of teachers, I have to buy for no fewer than seven teachers every Christmas.
Over the years I have perfected the art, and I am willing to help those of you who have yet to purchase a gift for the teacher in your life (equally, I am happy for teachers to share these tips with their friends and family).
Here's what to buy.
There isn’t a teacher in the land who doesn’t love a pen. Red pens, green pens, purple pens, ballpoint, fountain, chisel tipped…we don’t discriminate. Board pens, fabric pens, pen pens. They’re all welcome here.
And this generally extends to all stationery. Teachers with stationery fetishes exist in schools up and down the country; they don't want help, they want more notepads.
A teacher’s enjoyment of break duty is directly proportional to the quality of their gloves. Nice gloves that are warm and snug, yet still thin enough to unscrew your flask without spilling tea down yourself, are the holy grail.
Plus, teachers always need extra gloves. Because short of sewing them onto your sleeves like class R, you’re going to leave them in the wrong coat at some point.
Teachers are often organised in every aspect of their lives…apart from what they're having for tea that night.
There is definitely a cookbook out there for the teacher in your life, from those that recreate famous meals from literature (The Little Library Cookbook), to one-pot easy-cooking recipes for the time-poor teacher (Leon Happy One-Pot Cookbook).
4. A really good whistle
Playground duty, PE and school trips only work because of the glue that holds it all together: the whistle. A whistle can save a child from falling, a pyramid from toppling, a crowd from jostling. And you can’t have enough of them.
My top tip for any playground duty is to have two whistles: one for you and one for the super-keen child who is desperate to also blow the whistle. It doesn’t matter if the school uses bells, a whistle is a handy thing to have in your pocket.
5. A session with a chiropractor
Teachers in primary schools tend to spend their time sitting on furniture designed for children; consequently, they can end up with back problems.
Booking a session with a chiropractor or osteopath could be a welcome gift for a teacher.
Any other suggestions? Share the best presents you've bought for the teacher in your life, or comment below and tell us what you are hoping to find under the tree this year