Teachers have a tough job. And with helicopter parents humming around all the time these days it is probably even more difficult than it used to be.
The good news for teachers is that they get summers off to recover from teaching your children (my children are angels). The same goes for those who homeschool their children, who don’t even pretend their children are angels.
Since my wife is a high school chorus teacher we have frequently scratched the surface of discounts and free stuff that is available to teachers. It has allowed us to find new ways to save money and make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck.
To help everyone out I put together this huge list of discounts and free stuff for teachers. As for homeschool families, you qualify for a bunch of these now.
Free Stuff For Teachers
We all know that teachers shouldn’t have to spend money out of their pocket to buy stuff for their classrooms, but they do.
As it turns out there are tons of places to get free stuff and I am pretty sure I have just begun to dig. Get plugged in with groups in your local community that would be willing to donate items or pay for new supplies when you ask.
This will be easier for specialty teachers like my wife who can reach out to the arts community to try and get them to help from time to time. That being said there are a bunch of companies online that are willing to toss free stuff your way in hopes you will buy more in the future.
And there are educational organizations that supply many free resources to any classroom.
Cool Eyeball Bookmarks – Apparently there is an Anatomy and Physiology blog. They want to give you bookmarks that look like anatomically correct eyeballs. These are either cool or scary. Teachers also get a zippered bag.
Dry Erase White Boards – EverWhite provides free samples of white boards in hopes your school will buy bigger ones.
Planner and Folders – Get a set of samples from School Mate.
Set of Wooden Rulers – RentCalculators.com rents out graphing calculators and they would like to advertise to your students by providing a set of 6” wooden rulers. I say let them.
SitSpots – apparently they make special mats that adhere to carpet for kids to sit on. You get one free one to see if they will work in your classroom.
Speed Stacks – These are the cups you see people stacking and collapsing super-fast. They help hand eye coordination and you can get a set for your classroom for free.
Educational Kits and Resources
American Electric Power – Free Louis the Lightning Bug’s Safety Booklet
Bright Smiles Bright Future – Colgate provides a ton of stuff in their educational kit for classrooms. There are even toothbrush and toothpaste samples for the kids to take home.
CDC scare your kids resources – The center for disease control has a bunch of information and resources to help teachers.
Clorox Classrooms – Free resources and activities to spawn another generation of germaphobic helicopter parents.
Craft Sheets for Preschoolers – Nick Jr. has a bunch of craft sheets and the games are pretty good too.
Dinosaur Train Toolkit and Poster – My kids love this show. The poster is a nature tracker and the toolkit has videos, music, and recommended activities. Plus, who doesn’t like dinosaurs? (the people getting eaten in Jurassic World don’t count)
Family Reading Night Kit – A great kit for helping schools establish a night where parents come and share/read their favorite books from when they were young. This could be adapted for homeschoolers to be done at a local library during the day or through a large size church library.
Help Prevent Underage Drinking – Get a teacher’s guide, poster, worksheets, and family guide. Comes from SAMHSA. One of the many government programs we have no idea exists.
HHMI Educational Materials – The Howard Hughes Medical Institute offers a slew of free stuff for science teachers.
Make a Difference Middle School Kit – Resources to teach students about recycling and waste reduction.
Free Math Worksheets – Mammoth Math has a good set of worksheets as well as math videos and lessons.
Read to Succeed – Six flags offers free tickets for students who complete six hours of recreational reading. Available to teachers and schools.
Sesame Street Learning Kits – PNC offers 5 downloadable learning kits with the Sesame Street characters.
Stossel in the Classroom DVDs – Good for middle to high school students to spark debate about how to run the country.
USGS Education Resources – Get materials for K-College from the United States Geological Survey. There really is a TON of activities and information here. Includes videos too!
Variquest Sample Kit – Free sample kit from Variquest which does visual hands on classroom displays and hands on instructional aides.
What Will You Do When You Grow Up? kit – Lenovo, a major tech company, offers these resources to teachers k-8th. Teaches kids to think about their future and possible future careers.
There are tons of places that want to send you posters to display in your classroom and many of them are not advertisers. Some of these they will ship to you and others
Behind Every Famous Person Poster – Series of posters that show famous people with a teacher that influenced their lives. From Teachers Count.
Bully Free Pin and Poster – a nice little package to teach about bullying from National Education Association.
Life In the Forest Posters – download five posters with different forest and plant info from International Paper.
MLK Day Posters – Download free posters and fact sheets to help kids learn about MLK
NASA Space Thrills Poster – Good for K4 and older to teach them about the solar system using both reading and writing activities.
Pearson School Biology Poster – Free poster on biology. Not much more details than that.
Victory Garden Poster – Great poster for doing a classroom victory garden.
Vision Day Poster – Help kids learn more about their eyes and healthy vision with this downloadable poster and activity book
Software and Videos
ClassRoom Portals Gradebook – free Windows based gradebook software
Coral Reefs CD– Request a free educational CD set and download the activity books to go with them. There are some other really cool resources on the page too.
Educational Videos – get a free video each year in exchange for feedback to Izzit. They are a non-profit that promotes critical thinking.
McGruff the Crime Dog Gun Safety DVD – Has to be done through a school but a pretty good DVD to teach about guns.
Music Graphics Galore – Music teachers papers won’t fall flat with this great big resource of music graphics. They can stay out of treble and make sure all their handouts look really sharp. And yes, I went there.
National Shooting Sports Foundation DVD – Get three different videos about wildlife, preservation, and hunting. I know those don’t seem like they go together but they actually do. Because preservation leads to more animals. More animals leads to allowed hunting. Hunting leads to more meat. And meat is yummy.
PBS Learning Media – There is a ton here with games, videos, even lesson plans and just a bunch of good stuff. All FREE!
Switch DVD – Free DVD and online access to learn about energy production around the world and how it is changing.
Web Design Software – You have to apply for your school but if you qualify they will give you 100 licenses of their four most popular web design programs. They are: HTML editor, Web Form Builder, Web Calendar, and Responsive Layout Maker (makes websites mobile friendly). As a person who manages his own website, that is a pretty sweet deal.
Random Free Stuff
I was going to say random crap, but teachers shouldn’t be using that kind of language since they have such a great influence over our kids… sinner.
Braille Alphabet Card – Get a free alphabet card. Looks like it provides braille for numbers, letters and punctuation.
Idea Book – Biennial magazine for teachers from A&E network.
Findings Magazine – Get a free copy of this magazine about cutting edge research from scientists around the world.
Sample Issues of Scholastic – you can get a bunch of Sholastic Magazine issues for free. I didn’t realize there were so many.
Teachers get some great discounts. The first place you want to look is to your school district to see if they have a guide to places in your area that offer discounts to the local teachers. NEVER be afraid to ask for a teacher discount because the worst they can say is no.
Use this list to help you save more. Many of these places will also let you stack coupons or clearance deals on top of your teacher discount.
If you are a homeschooler, many of these places are finally starting to recognize the homeschool movement and provide the same discounts to you too.
Book Stores and Book Sellers
Barnes & Noble – Their BN Educators program gets you 20% off the publisher list price on anything used for the classroom. They also do appreciation days with an extra 5% thrown on top.
Half Price Books – 10% off year round for homeschoolers, librarians and teachers.
Clothing Store Discounts
AeroSoles – Score 15% off any items $39.99 or higher when you bring your school ID or paystub at any of their locations.
Ann Taylor Loft – There is a bunch of different stuff here for teachers that include 15% off every day, sweepstakes and a bunch of seasonal info.
Banana Republic – It says BR but I bet you can get the other GAP brand stores to do the same 15% off. They also do seasonal discounts for teachers and students that are higher.
J. Crew – You have to head in store so they can verify your ID but 15% is a good deal, especially at the factory store or the clearance racks.
New York & Co. – 15% off when you shop in store. I can hear my wife typing in her name for the Teacher Program now.
The Limited – Another 15% off. They do not let you use coupons but the restrictions do not say anything about clearance.
Other Retail Discounts
Staples – Teachers get 5% cash back in rewards and they get an additional 5% on teaching at art supplies. You also get free shipping on all online orders. That is a pretty hefty offer from Staples.
Office Depot – They handle thanking teachers by holding annual teacher appreciation days. This year get 25% off non-technology and ink purchase.
Fedex Office – A nice 15% discount on almost all their services.
Joann Crafts – 15% off all year for teachers and homeschoolers.
Ben Franklin Crafts – 10% all year long for teachers. Just show your school ID.
Make Great Light – This company offers filters that tone down the harsh light from fluorescents and make it easier to concentrate. Their filters actually convert light to full spectrum light which has shown to improve learning and test score. Get 10% off if you are a teacher and an extra 5% off for helping them out with a social media review.
AC Moore Paints – Teachers and Homeschoolers can get 15% off.
Academic Superstore – discounts up to 85% off all year long. Have to prove employment but it is worth it.
Adobe – a company that puts out great software and gives teachers great discounts. Now you can photoshop how you look in that class picture before the year book publishes it.
Apple – They have their own education store with good discounts for educators. And yet their stuff is still overpriced and not as good as Android.
Bose – Bose has a really great program with up to 15% off in their Educator’s Program. You have to call in to 1-800-353-4207 and talk to a sales associate for the program.
Cell Phone Carriers – It varies by company and by school district but you should get somewhere around 15% or higher discount with your teacher discount. I know we do! Gotta call into your carrier and sit on hold for way too long to get this one.
Lenovo – It says students but it is really an academic discount program good for students and teachers. Tablets, computers, and laptops are all available at discounted prices.
Art Institute of Chicago – Any teachers or homeschool parents living in Illinois can get in free with their proper ID card.
Graceland – Yes that Graceland. Tour the home of Elivs Presley for free. You have to have proof and reserve your ticket 14 days in advance.
LEGOLAND for Florida Teachers – LEGOLAND Florida offers a free one year pass to all K-12 teachers. Works on both the theme park and the water park.
Mariott – Teachers get the government rate at Mariott hotels. You need to show your teacher discount and it probably will not work if you booth through third party websites like Priceline. They also do not seem to advertise this so I don’t have a link to help.
National Parks – It doesn’t work for entry or camping fees or for the petting zoos, but it will on most other purchases for 15% off at our national parks.
Seaworld – If you are a Florida, California, or Texas teacher you score free passes. All teachers can use their resources for classrooms.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels – Special rates for educators. You have to book through them and ask for the Teacher Rate.
Museums in General – Contact a museum where you live or will be travelling. They frequently work to get teachers free or discounted admission.
WOW! That Was A Lot of Free Stuff for Teachers
So that was a bigger list that I originally expected, but I think teachers are worth whatever we can help them with.
I am sure there are some that I missed so help us all out by leaving a comment with any more free stuff or discounts availble for teachers.