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Teacher Appreciation Week may be coming to a close, but we don't need a specific holiday to champion the hard work of our educators. Whether they're teaching remotely, in person or a hybrid of both, lesson leaders take the time and effort to give our kids the most well-rounded education possible. If you're looking to thank a teacher who went above and beyond this year (or any year, for that matter), you're in luck. We've tracked down 10 great gifts they're sure to enjoy—and they're all on sale.
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What is Teacher Appreciation Week?
According to the National Education Association, Teacher Appreciation Week is nationally recognized from May 2 to May 8 to honor educators for their hard work and dedication. According to Schoolyard, the idea came from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who pitched having a National Teacher Day to Congress back in 1953. The day was not officially celebrated until March 7, 1980, however—four years before the National Education Association decided to stretch the celebration out over a whole week.
Following this past scholastic year, which was extra-challenging due to COVID-19, and forced many to do their jobs remotely, you may be looking to celebrate the teachers in your life with something beyond the standard apple on the desk. Long day of standing? Some instructors might appreciate something to ease tension in their backs or feet, like a multi-purpose massager. Others could always try a new way of preparing their morning brew for the first school bell with a handy electric kettle or a compact blender. For those ideas and more, check out our picks for the best gifts to bring a smile to teachers faces everywhere below.
The best on-sale gifts to give to teachers
1. A massaging pillow
All those hours spent hunched over Zoom or on their feet in front of a classroom make for sore backs and aching feet for teachers. That's why our tester chose this HoMedics double-duty Shiatsu massager as the only teacher gift she gave last winter. She praised the pillow's two rotating components, which she said works deeper into muscles than the average massager, and its flexible design, which can be converted from a foot massager to a back massager. Even better, it's available right now for 25% off its usual price of $69.99 at $52.49.
2. A gourmet food basket
Sure, kids bring in cookies or brownies or orange slices for their classmates—but shouldn't teachers get a special treat every now and then, too? (Trick question: They should.) One of the best ways to gift the goods is with a gourmet food basket from Harry & David. Specializing in fruit, baked goods, food and wine, the company has numerous box sets of delectable treats on sale for less than $10. Shoppers can send the likes of a six-pack of dark chocolate popcorn (was $69.99, now $34.99), chocolate truffles (was $34.99, now $27.99) and even vegetable lasagna (was $69.99, now $54.99). When we reviewed Harry & David's various packages, we were impressed with the variety of delicious items that were delivered in a timely—and undamaged—fashion.
3. This compact electric kettle
A delicious cup of pour-over coffee or a hot pot of tea will make for a great energy booster between class periods or during a grading marathon. You can help get a teacher prepped for every new day of labs and research papers with Ovente's portable electric kettle, available at Amazon for $20.46—a $5.53 discount from its regular price of $25.99. Customers claim the kettle was able to bring water to boil in less than 10 minutes and its status is easily visible thanks to the glass pot and illuminated blue LED light, which signals that it's up and running.
4. These noise-canceling earbuds
Whether they're teaching remotely or out for a jog, it doesn't hurt to have something to block out distractions, and Panasonic's RZ-S500W true wireless earbuds will do just that with style. Right now, they are available at Amazon for $99.95, a 44% discount from the listing price of $179.99. We named these earbuds as the best-valued noise-canceling headphones we've tried thanks to the clear sound quality they afforded to all types of music. We were also impressed by the smaller fit of these truly wireless earbuds, which our testers say were snug in the ear and thereby excellent at keeping out outside chitter-chatter—something that's going to be key for conducting school workshops and listening to student feedback.
5. This colorful tea infuser
Some classrooms have a class pet to look after—maybe a hamster or a small fish. So imagine the surprise on kids' faces when they see their teacher has brought in a well-known marine mammal to class! ...Sort of. This manatea tea infuser is one of many multicolored animal-themed drink additions designed by Fred & Friends—and it just so happens to be our best-rated tea infuser for its design that's both adorable and functional. To use it, teacher can simply fill it with their favorite tea leaves, hang it on the rim of any cup and add hot water. We also appreciated its silicone build, which made for an easy cleaning process after use. It's currently on sale at Amazon for $7.57, which is nearly 50% off of its listing price of $14.99.
6. Our favorite personal blender
Allow your favorite instructor to skip the lunch line at the juice bar with this NutriBullet Select 1000-watt personal blender that's on sale at Best Buy for 20% off, going from $99.99 to $79.99. We deemed the Select as the best personal blender of the year for its high-wattage motor and multiple settings. Our tester found that its extract setting, in particular, created "perfectly smooth" smoothies, while its pulse mode diced and chopped vegetables with ease. We also praised its responsive control pad and how fast it mixed ingredients.
7. This ergonomic lap desk
Hosting lessons from home this past year meant teachers didn't have their work desks at their disposal. For those looking to experiment with a new type of home desk, there's Huanuo's 17-inch lap desk. On sale at Amazon for $36.09—a 25% discount from its listing price of $47.99—it received a 5-star rating from nearly 3,500 customers, who loved the comfortable pad at the desk's end that reportedly provided relief to their tired wrists. Buyers also appreciated the extra padding at the bottom of the desk, which allowed for added comfort on their legs while working.
8. This user-friendly air fryer
Whether it's for home use or in the teacher's lounge, an air fryer is the gift that keeps on giving. Our top choice in the category, the Philips premium air fryer XXL, is now on sale at Amazon for $229.99, a 34% discount from its listed price of $349.95. We picked it as the best air fryer on the market for consistently churning out the tastiest air frying results at family-sized portions. Better yet, there's no pre-heating required to get started.
9. This powerful, portable charger
There's never enough battery life in a phone or a tablet, especially for those teaching kids in this modern age of tech-assisted tools. If your favorite teacher can't find a power outlet close enough to their desks, there's the Iniu portable charger, available at Amazon for $13.71, or 31% off of its listing price of $19.99. The 10,000-milliamp charger features three ports that are compatible with modern Android devices, iPhones and iPads. More than 53,000 customers also praised it for being able to juice up multiple gadgets at the same time, while not being too bulky to take on-the-go.
10. These colorful gel pens
The dreaded red pen has long been the stuff of nightmares for students—and we have to imagine that even teachers get bored with the same old, same old. So why not shake things up with Aen Art's gel pens, now available in a 30-pack for the low, low price of $6.88? That's more than half-off the listing price of $12.99! Shoppers can use the on-page 10% coupon code found underneath the price to bring it down to the discounted price for 30 different-colored pens. Customers enjoyed the variety of metallic, glitter, pastel and fluorescent styles.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Teacher Appreciation Week 2021: 10 gifts to give your favorite educator