I love teachers, and when it’s time to give them a gift, I try really hard to make it something they will personally love or use in the classroom. As we all know, they often use their own financial resources throughout the school year to supplement our children’s education. If there’s anyone who deserves a gift of appreciation, it’s a teacher. So what gifts should you give? How can we honor these amazing professionals?
PTA members often do door decorations, host lunches, and/or encourage an entire week of themed days to honor Teacher. Last year, Teacher Appreciation Week slipped right by us. I discovered the informational flyer scrunched in the dark recesses of my son’s backpack a week too late. Oops! One day he was supposed to wear her favorite color. Another day he was supposed to write her a note of appreciation or bring her a treat, etc. We certainly didn’t want her to think we didn’t appreciate her! So we gave her a gift of redemption and appreciation when school let out for the summer.
So what do you give a teacher? There are a ton of Teacher Appreciation gift ideas floating around Pinterest. They are adorable, and I know teachers will love them. But I’m practical minded. I want the teacher to use the gift we give and not have it add to any clutter.
So what’s helpful? Maybe you should ask your chid’s teacher–or any teacher, for that matter. Or if you insist on the element of surprise, at least try to make a careful observation of what your teacher might like or use.
Classroom supplies: In a school our son once attended, the hallway walls were lined with carpet. The space was meant to be used for classroom bulletin boards, but staples and pins didn’t hold things up well. I spotted some cubicle clip pins that were perfect for the job! During the school year, I gave a box of them to the teacher, and she was beyond thrilled!! She later asked me where I’d purchased them so she could get a second set. Hello! Golden gift opportunity! I told her I’d get the information to her, but then I sneaked a second box to her as our parting gift.
Check on Amazon.com for a variety of teacher supplies. How about this eraseable marker caddy? Or this magnetic whiteboard eraser that will stay put on the board? Strong magnetic hooks or magnetic clips might also be helpful. And if I were a teacher, I’d think these labeled clips were heaven sent. Maybe sit down at the computer with your child and brainstorm at Amazon for a few minutes. Your child can probably spot what his or her teacher could really use.
Gift cards: Walmart, office supply stores, online teacher resources, book stores, and restaurants are a few ideas. Give a gift card and let the teacher decide what’s needed for their classroom. Or they should feel free to splurge on a personal indulgence. Your gift card might just help them do so.
Cash: Help your favorite teacher replenish the money they’ve spent on your child’s classroom this year. Chances are they’ll still use it for next year’s classroom needs, but at least they won’t have to dip into their own pockets as much.
Note or drawing: Go old fashioned, simple, and inexpensive. Encourage your child to write a note of thanks in their best penmanship or create an original artwork masterpiece. I know teachers love to receive these. It’s better payback than anything money can buy. Plus, these sentimental mementos can be easily stored in a binder or box and reviewed throughout the years. After retiring, a teacher will treasure these items and will likely have tossed other gifts.
Gifts to steer clear of:
Teacher-labeled or apple-themed gifts: signs, mugs, shirts, bags, etc. Unless your teacher is new to the profession, he or she likely has a bazillion of these things already.
Class-themed trinkets: One of our beloved teachers had a cow theme going on. She’d been teaching for 25+ years. Her shelves were bursting to capacity with every conceivable type of cow tchochke imaginable. She probably didn’t want or need another. If your favorite teacher is just starting his or her teaching career then, by all means, load up on the frogs, cows, monkeys, or whatever the theme is. Otherwise, you may want to spend your money on something that’s really needed or would be truly appreciated.
Bulky, fragile, or perishable gifts. Keep in mind that the average teacher will receive about 30 gifts by the last day of school that they’ll then need to transport to their vehicle and on home. In some schools, teachers also have to clear their classrooms and haul all those materials home too. Your potted plant or food item might not make the journey in very good shape.
Of course, teachers will appreciate any gift you give them. They’re too nice to ever say otherwise. But I like to think that our family’s teacher gifts are really utilized and appreciated. Since all teachers need extra funding, it only seems right that our gifts should help them with needed purchases or make it possible for them to afford a much-deserved indulgence.
What teacher gifts do you like to give? If you’re a teacher, please tell us which gifts are most helpful to you.