Upgrade your gifts for teachers this school year

We asked Polk County teachers what was on their wishlist before the school year begins. Consider this a crash course in gift giving.

An interior of a classroom with blue sky and cloud decorations. Paper lanterns and decorative hot air balloons hang from the ceiling.

Who wouldn’t want to learn in a classroom like this?

Photo by Reader Mark G.

It’s time to graduate from a shiny red apple and a few yellow pencils. This school year, we’re going big when it comes to giving back to local teachers.

We asked our readers who teach what was on the top of their wishlist before Polk County Public Schools open on Friday, Aug. 11. Responses came from educators at Lakeland High School, Eagle Lake Elementary School, Pathways School of Excellence, and beyond.

The big winner? School supplies. No surprises there, but with many teachers stocking up their classrooms out of their own pockets, No. 2 pencils and notebooks add up.

This year, teachers are also on the hunt for flexible seating. Think: Unique seating like balance balls and stools that make learning more engaging.

An elementary school classroom interior with colorful stools, posters, banners, and a large black rug with a grid pattern.

Helping teachers makes a difference for students.

Photo by Reader Meghan W.

Luckily for us, many local educators have made online wishlists full of items we wish our classrooms had back in our school days. Just click the links below to shop each educator’s full list, and the gift will be sent directly to them:

Looking for something more personal? We also asked teachers what thoughtful gifts they would love to receive from their students. While we might have said a free vacation, many said they would love a heartfelt card or drawing they can keep throughout their careers.

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