Five Reasons to “Stop the Mug” This Year

We get it. It’s tough to find the perfect teacher gift. What could you possibly buy that expresses how grateful you are for their dedication to helping your child learn? It’s a lot of pressure, and we know the temptation to take the easy way out and buy the World’s Greatest Teacher mug.


We’re here to help you resist the temptation.

A dangerous mug epidemic breaks out every spring in classrooms across America. This is our year to stop it. We have five good reasons for you to ditch the mug altogether this year, and a solution to the terrible “what to get the person who does everything for your child” question.

5. It’s not fair to the mugs
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Let’s get one thing clear right away: we love coffee mugs. As do–we assume–many teachers, because mugs are the means to the most important liquid in the world. However, most of us only need one. The coffee mug is a sacred vessel and often becomes basically attached to our person, so it’s important that it fits our essence.

Which means that when you give a teacher a generic teacher mug, it joins the graveyard, condemned to a dusty, sad, basement existence. It’s not your fault, we know your intentions were good. But the person you’re trying to buy for just survived an entire year of getting up early to work with children…we’re pretty sure they already have a mug-of-choice. If they’ve been teaching for a few years, their graveyard box is probably already full.

So unless you’ve found a mug that magically fills with deliciously hot coffee mid-class, you should accept that…

4. Teachers already won the “gifting game”

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Half the reason behind gifting is that we have to keep up with the gifts we’re given. Well, we have news for you. Teachers already demolished you in the gifting game. They stand up in front of your kids at 8 a.m. every morning and somehow get them excited about math. They stay in on Friday nights grading your child’s papers.

Then, as if that isn’t enough, they also spend an average of $500 on supplies to help your child learn. Even the nicest mug in the world couldn’t compete. We’re sorry, but you’re going to have to take the loss on this one. Which is ok because…

3. You should make them cry instead


Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, another time of year vulnerable to the mug epidemic. To help parents, teacher blogger mamawolfe posted about what teachers really want. Gift cards, mugs, a trip to Hawaii? None of these made her list. She encouraged parents to give something free: real appreciation.

Did your child come home ecstatic about a lesson on Jane Austen? Are you thrilled that they’re finally feeling confident in math? Tell their teacher in a letter or card. Instead of aiming to completely bury their desk in stuff, maybe the goal should be to make teachers cry—but only in a good way of course! Your words could be just the motivation they need, because…

2. Teachers aren’t going on vacation

We live under the illusion that we can’t let our end-of-the-year gifts have anything to do with the school year, because teachers are going on vacation! Think again. We asked teachers what they’re doing this summer, and guess what? They’re working.

Many told us that they’re preparing for next year before this year even ends. Summer is a chance for teachers to catch up, get organized, and prepare themselves for a smooth transition into the next school year. You may only be thinking about summer, but for teachers, the countdown to September is well underway. Which is why we’d like to remind you…

1. Teachers already told you what they want

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To go along with the genuine notes of appreciation, what teachers really need is help giving to your kids. That’s why they’re registered on (and if they aren’t, send them here). As we said before, your teachers are spending an average of $500 each year to teach, feed, and clothe the kids in their classrooms. Many of them spend over $1000.

Want to help a teacher? Give to them on If we can make sure they have the funds in place for back to school, maybe they’ll even be able to treat themselves to something they really want (read: not another coffee mug) over the summer.

When you AdoptAClassroom today, be sure to print out this great card for your teacher to let them know you donated to their class!

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