We posted this eCard on our Facebook Page, and it got me thinking about how true the statement is. I decided to consult the teachers in my life to verify this truth (or dispel it) and get their thoughts on the best ways to show appreciation to a teacher before school’s out for summer, or during the holidays.
I really must preface this post with how much it touches a teacher to let them know they are appreciated. This sentiment was unanimous with the teachers I spoke with preparing the list below. Every one of them said a handwritten note can mean so much more than trinkets or gifts. It’s no secret teachers are overworked and underpaid, especially considering the HUGE role they play in our kids’ lives, and a personal word of encouragement can go a long way. That being said, lots of well-meaning parents can get a little off-track when demonstrating that gratitude in gift form. Since teachers are much too gracious to say anything, I thought I’d keep their identities anonymous and say it for them.
It’s tempting to turn to Pinterest for inspiration, but it turns out that can sometimes be a big no-no. Exactly how many crayon wreaths should a person own anyway?
When it comes to a DIY gift, simple and heartfelt seems to be a big hit, and you get extra brownie points if it’s consumable and disposable.
Teacher Gift DON’TS
1. INSPIRATIONAL TRINKETS ABOUT TEACHING
Any book, mug, pen, or paper weight that has some sort of inspirational quote about leading lives or changing futures. The Teachers said it was a dead giveaway of a quick trip to the Dollar Store the night before the last day of school. Actually, add mugs of any sort to this list. They’re overrun.
2. WIND CHIMES
3. ANYTHING WITH AN APPLE MOTIF
If you have a teacher who isn’t a noobie, chances are they have closets full of apple tchotchkes already.
So, so, so many candles. And I quote, “enough with the candles, please!”.
5. BATH PRODUCTS & SCENTED LOTIONS
This can be a very personal gift, and many people have sensitive skin, or strong preferences (or aversions) to fragrances.
You wouldn’t believe the things The Teachers said they’d received that seemed like they had been re-gifted. Keep in mind that if you wouldn’t wear it, eat it, or put it in your house neither would your child’s teacher.
- Disney character denim jumpers
- Pleasures gift certificate
- Lawn sculptures of wild life
- Random knick-knacks like ceramic fruit and creepy children
7. OFFICE SUPPLIES
This one surprised me at first. But think about it… they’re getting ready to pack up their rooms for the summer. They don’t need boxes of pencils and markers to keep in storage for months. Save the classroom supplies for your new teacher at the beginning of the school year and you’ll be a rockstar from the get-go.
CAVEAT: Only you really know your teacher and what he/she would like. Take these Dont’s with a grain of salt! Local retired teacher Stephanie Hyatt says, “My favorite gifts were the ones the kids pick because it makes them think of me – a dollar store necklace that they think will look good with something they’ve seen me wear; apple butter they made at home with mom; and I love coffee mugs, especially when the kid says “I know you love your coffee, and I wanted you to remember me!” Bottom line: if you KNOW your teacher collects coffee mugs, get her one!
Teacher Gift DO’S
1. NOTES & LETTERS
Hands down, the most cherished. It doesn’t have to be War & Peace either – just a quick note of encouragement. Or better yet, write a letter to the principal about how awesome your teacher was – especially if they’re up for tenure!
2. GIFT CARDS
You can’t go wrong here. Starbucks, Target, Michael’s, Staples, their favorite restaurant, nail salon, movie theaters (so they can catch the summer blockbusters!), and bookstores are all great choices.
3. SUMMER BEACH BAG
If you want to get a little more personal, that’s still possible without going craft crazy. Fill a beach tote with sunscreen, a beach towel, a magazine, some drink mix (Crystal Light lemonade is a good choice), and a nice insulated cup is a pretty awesome gift for a teacher beginning summer break. Take a look at our Pinterest board to see all the cute ways you can put this together on a range of budgets.
4. PEDICURE & FLIP FLOPS
Another summer break hit! A mani/pedi gift certificate is always welcome, according to the female teachers I consulted. Pair it with some cute flip flops if you know her size and & her favorite color polish, and her toes will be beach-ready in no time.
5. SUMMER SONG MIX
Burn Teacher a summer-themed CD to enjoy in the car or on vacation. The kids can help pull this one together, and if you pair it with one of the items above it will be extra-special. Here’s some great song suggestions to get you started.
You Might Also Like…
- RCM’s Summer Camp Directory
- Where Teens Can Volunteer This Summer in Huntsville
- Back to School: The Care & Keeping of Teachers & Students
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.