I know it’s only March so I am ahead of the game, but with 3 children I am very busy and it’s very helpful to plan ahead. Even if you’re reading this way too late and have given yourself no time, don’t panic! Find a good gift even if you’re out of time because you can always find courier services. The end of the school year tends to sneak up on us so I am always on the look out for teacher gifts whenever I am out and about.
Receiving gifts, especially the sentimental kind, from students was always one of my favorite parts of teaching. It reminded me of why I loved my job and the mutual feeling of appreciation I shared with my students and their families was priceless.
I still have some of those handmade gifts I received, and looking at them always brings back a flood of wonderful memories. Since I have experienced both the receiving and giving side of teacher gifts I thought I would compile a list of simple items that really do go a long way.
- Sentimental gifts: These gifts always mean the most coming from students. This can be something as simple as a handmade card. One year I bought a chalkboard pencil holder and my daughter decorated it on her own. We have recently visited that teacher and she still has it in her classroom. It really depends on what you want to spend and the capability of your child due to age but these type of gifts will be cherished for years to come. For example if you are interested in getting a gift of sentimental value, you might be interested in getting a wallet that has a class photo on it, also known as a Foto Portemonnaie by the Germans.
- Gift cards: These are extremely useful. Most of us don’t realize this, but teachers spend a lot of their own hard-earned money on supplies so your children can have a better educational experience. Any help we can give them will be more appreciated than we realize. Michael’s, Target, Amazon, Walmart, or Office Depot are some great places for teachers to pick up supplies.
- Books: Children love to read and when I was teaching I always made sure I had plenty of books in my classroom, so they wouldn’t get stuck reading the same ones over and over again. Receiving them as gifts allowed me build a wonderful library for my students.
- DIY gifts: This one goes hand in hand with sentimental gifts but again is a great way to show your teacher how much you appreciate the work they do. Pinterest is just one of the many wonderful sources for ideas. For example I had a student give me a plant to decorate my classroom and on the pot it said “thank you for helping me grow!” This was a great daily reminder of why I loved my job.
- A class gift: This is a great option if everyone is on a tight budget. If all the parents in the class pitch in $5, you can pull it together and get something really nice for the teacher. This works very well if you have one or two parents designated to buy the gift. A great option is putting together a gift basket with a combination of useful and sentimental items.
- A meal: Sometimes a teacher’s schedule can get very hectic with grading, meetings, and balancing their personal lives as well. You can ask the teacher what she likes and prep something for her to use for dinner that night. If you don’t have the time to prep something you can always grab a restaurant gift card.
- School supplies: If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of gift cards, you can directly buy school supplies for the classroom. Parents can ask the teacher to compose a list of what is needed and post it in the classroom for everyone to see. You could even go a step further and recommend some assessment tools that will help make grading easier for them. They’ll love you for making their workload lighter.
- Indoor Games for the Classroom: Most schools require the children to stay inside on rainy days or extremely hot days. It can be difficult for teachers to come up with ideas besides movies for the children to partake in. Board games can be a great way for the children to still learn and have fun. This one is great because you don’t even have to spend money. You can clean out your closet at home and donate any games your children don’t really play with anymore.
- Monogrammed gifts: Groupon or Living Social have a lot of deals on these items. You can get your teacher a personalized notepad or stamp to use for grading papers. Teachers write notes and grade papers on a daily basis so these types of gifts will be put to good use.
- Volunteering your time: This one is really great if you are on a tight budget. Teachers spend a lot of their own personal time organizing, grading, etc. let them know you have some free time that week and ask what it is they need help with the most. This takes a little effort but the effort will go a long way.
Trust me, teaching for many years I promise these gifts will be real useful for your teachers. I personally love and I cannot express it anymore were gifts that came from the heart and were sentimental! I truly cherished those and always will! Hope this will make your stress about what to get the teacher as a gift a little smoother. 🙂