Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Getting a gift for your child’s teacher can be a harrowing experience. Though we may not all accept it, this issue is approached with a lot of caution. What if my child has the cheapest gift? What if the teacher does not like it? Should I add a footnote on my gift to allow the teacher to re gift if she does not like it?

Having been a teacher and being a parent, I have come to learn that people over think teachers’ gifts. They are eager to please and have the false notion that the gift will affect the way the teacher will treat their child. Teachers are natural givers and as much as they love gifts, what matters more is appreciation for the work they do. Most teachers I know agree that a handwritten card from a kindergarten student is more valuable than an expensive hallmark card signed by the parent! The handwritten card signifies that the parent has taken time to pass on to the child that what the teacher does needs to be appreciated. This marks the teaching of an invaluable gift of kindness and appreciation that the child is not likely to lose.

That notwithstanding, most teachers look forward to Teacher Appreciation Week. It is a time that evokes very creative, thoughtful, meaningful, solicitous, attentive and considerate gestures toward them. It is also a reflective time because it means that the kids they taught all year are almost moving on.

With this in mind, let me suggest some inexpensive gift ideas for teachers. The easiest way to know what to give to a teacher is to organize with the parents in your class to have the teacher give a brief interview about themselves during the first month that your child is in that class. From there, you can come up with a list that has, say, the teacher’s favorite restaurant, favorite store, Best leisure activity, what materials I need my class etc.

Consider candles in the teacher’s favorite scent.
Get a plain white t-shirt and make a handprint of your child with the words like, “Thank you for changing my life!”
A handwritten card.
Gift card to her favorite restaurant.
Custom cushion for the teacher’s chair.
A nomination to radio stations and TV stations for favorite teacher.
A donation to her favorite charity.
Maid service
Offer to assist in some class tasks like cutting out pictures for projects etc.
A bag of treats for the class goodie bag.
A custom calendar
Fill in at school for her lunch duty.
Most teachers love to read so a good book is always welcome and lasts a lifetime!

The important thing is to make sure that at the end of the day your gift says ‘I appreciate that you are doing a great job’ and not ‘this-is-expected-of-me-so-let -me-get-it-over-and-done-with’ . It may also help to know that most teachers agree that they would still do what they do irrespective of the gifts they get during the appreciation week.

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