I spent almost 9 years teaching. I was blessed to teach at a school where the parents were extremely generous. At the end of the school year I would walk away with at least 3 bags filled to the brim…incredibly humbling.
Over the course of that time there were many awesome gifts. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Gift cards to bookstores. That way I could buy something for myself, for my classroom, or both.
2. Anything handmade by parents or students. I have an amazing picture the dad of one of my student’s painted. The same family gave me a wreath made with grapevines from Oliver Winery. One time I got some awesome cinnamon rolls with the recipe.
3. Donations made in my name. Some families made donations to the Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools or other organizations such as Heifer International. Mugs and cups tend to be a popular teacher gift, but let’s be real…a person can only have so many of those. Consider going to World Vision’s site and making a donation of school supplies to another country in honor of your child’s teacher. The thought is very meaningful. Teachers just want you to know their hard work is noticed.
4. Items for the classroom. Many teachers spend a lot of their own money for classroom items. Things like post-it notes are expensive and schools don’t typically provide them. Fancy pens, paper clips, notepaper, classroom award slips, etc. all come in very handy. New games for indoor recess or playground equipment are also wonderful. Also, if a teacher has a particular theme, anything related to that theme is quite welcome. Mine was Wizard of Oz and I got some incredible additions to my collection.
5. My most favorite gifts of all were handwritten letters from parents or cards/poems/notes the kids made. I saved every one of these and still look back at them from time to time. Every year I write a note to my son’s teacher telling her very specifically what I appreciated about her as a person/teacher. Every teacher is unique and we love hearing what makes us stand out from others. My son’s kindergarten teacher stopped me at the beginning of the following school year and told me she had posted the note on the fridge in the classroom and had reread it multiple times. On bad days, I was helped tremendously by looking back at the good things people wrote to me, as well.
Pinterest has some great ideas now of course. The gift doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. A candy bar with a clever note can suffice. Teacher Appreciation Week is this week, and of course the end of school is coming. Whatever you do, just do something. Your gesture will not go unnoticed.