Wondering what to get your child’s teacher as a thank you for teacher appreciate week or at the end of the school year? Try simple and meaningful teacher appreciation gift–it will make your child’s teacher laugh and cry all at once!Teacher Appreciation Week is next week! If you’ve been around these parts for long, you know that in my former life (pre-kids) I was a middle school Language Arts teacher. Consequently, I’m a big supporter of showing appreciation for educators everywhere.
Teaching is a fabulous profession. You get all holidays and summers off. You get the satisfaction of doing a job that really matters. You get to influence the lives of people who may or may not have another stable adult role model in their lives.
However, teaching is also HARD. It was definitely good preparation for parenthood. I worried, stressed, and even cried over my students. I wanted to pull my hair out at times trying to figure out how to teach them to write…or make some of the apathetic ones even care.
And I wasn’t some weird anomaly. I was surrounded by dedicated teachers who viewed their position as much more than just “a job.” And yet, educators are still some of the lowest paid college graduates out there.
My point here is not to get on a soapbox about how teachers should be paid more. That’s a complicated issue for another time.
My point IS this: if you have a chance to give a little extra love to the teachers out there that are doing their best to educate a classroom-full of rowdy children, take it.
It’s almost the end of the school year. My oldest has just about made it through his kindergarten year. Whew! And I only forgot to pick him up twice. Oops.
Before school started, my mama bear instincts kicked in, and I prayed hard that he would get a good teacher who would love teaching and help him to love school. He already loved learning and school is totally his jam, but I still worried, ya know? Moms are good at that.
I needn’t have been concerned though. His teacher has been fabulous! From the first time I met her, I have been so impressed by her love for the kids, her enthusiasm about kindergarten, and her knowledge of how to teach effectively. Nine months later, and he’s still rockin’ school!
Because she’s been so fabulous, and because I know how difficult teaching can be (even if you love it), I wanted to do something to thank her.
So the question became…WHAT DO I GET HER?
When I was a middle school teacher, I didn’t get a lot of gifts from parents and students. I wasn’t offended–I understand that when your kids gets to middle school, it becomes cost prohibitive to buy a ten or twenty-dollar gift card for all seven teachers. And that’s assuming you only have one child. Still, on the occasion that I DID receive gifts, it made my day!
It didn’t have to be anything big or fancy.
Several times I received $5 gift cards to inexpensive restaurants, and I was thrilled to be able to treat myself to lunch.
One mom always used to bring be a delicious treat during parent teacher conferences to keep my energy up. So kind!
And I always loved getting notes from my students. Free, but so meaningful.
I considered all these possible gifts, found a gazillion cute and pun-tastic ideas on Pinterest, and then I decided to go to the source.
I asked my sister, who has been a second-grade teacher for more than a decade. I wanted to find out what kinds of gifts she gets, which are her favorite, and what stuff she gets too much of and doesn’t really love (even though she still appreciates the thought).
Here’s what she said, and her response was confirmed by several other teacher friends whom I informally polled.
Gifts teachers really want
#1 Gift cards
This might seem impersonal, but it’s really one of the best things to get a teacher. Amazon gift cards can be ordered online and printed out or emailed, so it’s super convenient. Plus, Amazon sells practically everything, so it’s sure to be used and appreciated.
Alternatively, consider getting the teacher a gift card to an inexpensive restaurant that you know they like, or to Target.
Other good gifts for teachers:
- school supplies
- a favorite treat (if you know what they like)
- volunteer your time
Teacher appreciation gifts to avoid
Now, most teachers are going to appreciate any gift, but there are some things that tend to be more clutter than anything else. If you want to make sure you give a gift that will be used and loved, steer clear of the following:
- knicknacks (even teacher-themed ones)
The tricky thing here is that while ONE lotion can be good, teachers tend to get a lot of these kinds of gifts. At some point, it just becomes too much. Stick with a gift card, and if the teacher wants a candle, she can buy one with the gift card.
The very BEST teacher appreciation gift
Even more than a gift card, several teachers told me that the gift they value most is a heart-felt note from one of their students.
As teachers, sometimes we worry whether anyone is actually listening and learning day in and day out. We hope to make a difference, and it’s good to hear occasionally that we aren’t completely missing the boat.
So, even if you don’t have money to spend, you can give your child’s teacher a meaningful gift–actual expressed gratitude.
That’s what I’m doing for Little Man’s teacher this year. You could just have your child write a simple note, but I wanted to make things a little more fun.
I designed an “All About My Teacher” page for my son to fill out and give to his teacher. It has a place for him to draw a picture of her (Kindergarten portraits are awesome!) as well as several prompts for him to complete:
- My teacher really likes…
- My teacher is good at…
- My teacher always says…
- This year, my teacher helped me learn…
- My favorite thing about school this year was…
- I like my teacher because…
I can’t wait to see what he says. Hopefully it will be a good balance of making his teacher laugh and maybe even getting her a little teary, knowing that her students really do love her.
Give it on its own, or pair it with a gift card (I’m going to use this cute Amazon printable tag) and you’re good to go. It will take you less than fifteen minutes to make a meaningful impact on a special teacher in your life.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Do you give teacher appreciation gifts? What have been your favorites to give or receive?