Teacher Appreciation Week is next week. Many people choose to get their child’s teacher a gift during Teacher Appreciation Week or at the end of the school year to show their appreciation. No matter what gift you or your child choose, the thought will be appreciated. That being said, there are some ways you can show your appreciation for the teachers in your life that may be more meaningful than generic “1# Teacher” mugs and plaques, or the default box of chocolates.
5 Meaningful Teacher Appreciation Gifts:
1. A hand written note or card that specifically mentions what you, or your child, appreciates about their teacher. When I was a teacher, I always loved getting cards from my kindergarten students’ parents with a hand written note inside expressing why they appreciated me. I also loved receiving notes or pictures created by my students. Several teachers have mentioned to me that their favorite thing to receive is a thoughtful note.
2. A craft made by a student. Three years ago, a sweet fourth grader in my class approached my desk one morning and excitedly pulled out a small, lumpy gift wrapped with wrinkled wrapping paper. With a huge smile on her face, she told me: “I made this for you. I painted it myself!”
That bobble head dog remained on my desk for the next three years. Then, when I left teaching to become a stay at home mom, it moved from my work desk to my desk at home. To this day, the thought of my student’s excitement when she presented me with the gift she made makes me smile. Many other teachers have shared how touched they were by a gift that their student’s worked hard on and were excited to give them.
Last year, my sister Katie, who teaches second grade, shared her favorite gift with me. It was a large card, made from a piece of poster board. It was covered with drawings. As the student who had created it happily pointed out each drawing, it became evident how much thought and time had been spent creating the card. It became one of the most meaningful and memorable gifts Katie received that year.
3. Volunteer Your Time. It may seem like a teacher works short hours. After all, if they get there when the kids do, and leave when they leave, they have it easy! The reality is that teachers arrive at school well before the kids, and leave long after they do. Very few teachers that I know work only 40 hours a week and many schools require teachers to fulfill “duties” before school, during lunch, or after school. So, why not give them the gift of time?
Work with your school’s parent volunteer organization, or with other interested parents, to arrange to give teachers a break. For example, one year, several parents at the school I taught at volunteered to monitor students in the cafeteria so that the teachers could meet together for lunch in the teacher’s lounge. Parents who were not available to come in and volunteer sent in dishes of food to provide a delicious potluck lunch for the teachers. Another year, a parent who worked as a massage therapist volunteered her time to do 15 minute chair massages for teachers, while other authorized parent volunteers helped watch students. Keep in mind, your child’s school may have restrictions about volunteers working with students. Check with the front desk staff, or the parent teacher organization to request information on volunteer policies.
4. Treat the teacher with a gift card. While they may seem impersonal, a gift card can be a treat for a teacher. Consider treating the teacher to a fun night out by sending in a restaurant or movie ticket gift card. Gift cards to Walmart, Amazon.com, a book store or office supply stores can also allow the teacher to purchase needed materials for the classroom.
5. Help restock needed school supplies. Some school supplies constantly run out. Consider making a small basket with supplies such as dry erase markers, nice pens, post it notes, sticky tack, white out, tape, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.