The Gifts Teachers Really Want
posted by: Jaime
It’s that time of year again, when children pack up their desks, say goodbye to friends and give a final farewell before springing into a summer of endless sunshine and fun…followed by dog days of summer, indoor air conditioning, boredom and whining.
And that’s when we gain a true appreciation for our children’s teachers!
Teachers give selflessly of their time and often their money too. They spend an entire school year guiding, protecting and securing the educational future of our children. Mid-summer, we are more than convinced that those who choose such a profession are something of a super hero.
So, how do we thank these amazing people who are touching the lives of children, parents and families everywhere?
With an appropriate token of appreciation.
A huge THANK YOU for giving us sanity and for loving our little ones.
So I set out to discover the best ways to show teachers how much we care…
The Thought Does Count
We know that gifts are meant to be from the heart, but as the year is coming to a close, children are graduating and schedules are changing, details can sneak up on a busy mom and leave you adding a well-intended gift to the “to do” list…which may end up being picked up along with the bread and milk. *Not my proudest moment.
Most teachers agree that they prefer a thoughtful gift to an expensive gift.
Forethought is key. The fact that you’re reading this article is a great start! Now that the wheels are turning, you’ll have time to not only think up a great gift idea but to shop for supplies and complete the project before school lets out.
Think Outside the Box
While it’s important that you put some thought into what you give, realistically, there is a limit to the number of candles or bars of soap can a teacher practically use – particularly when receiving them year after year from students.
Most teachers admit that the most memorable and cherished gifts are those that are unique and handmade by the student.
*One mom suggested designing a desk organizer by adding flair to a compartmentalized box using stickers, beads and decorative papers. Add pretty paperclips and push pins to the organizer (teachers often buy supplies with their own money) and attach a kind note. The child may even see the box sitting on the teacher’s desk for years to come.
Be creative with the gift you choose – turn ordinary gifts into something more special! A gift card may seem too impersonal, but tucked inside a handmade card with an explanation as to why your child thought it was fitting, and it’s fantastic! It’s also a good way to make a gift of less monetary value more versatile.
*Fortune and fun: Tuck a gift card inside a Chinese take-out box along with several fortune cookies. Have your child write a message of thanks on a scroll of paper to look as if it is from a large fortune cookie. Top the gift with a pair of chopsticks. Even if the gift card is just a few dollars, the thoughtfulness and effort will be appreciated.
I think it’s wonderful when a mom takes charge and gathers funds for one big gift for the teacher…and some teachers are comfortable making a specific request if asked – which can eliminate the guesswork. Just be sure that if the class is giving a combined gift that the children sign a card or do something to show that they were in on it and appreciate their teacher’s hard work.
Combining funds is the perfect way to give an expensive gift without leaving the teacher feeling uncomfortable. The feeling of gifts as payment for services rendered, bribery, favoritism or other mixed messages can happen if an overly expensive gift comes from one student.
Something For Everyone
A classroom gift is helpful for the teacher and gives back to the entire school. Teachers often spend their own money to purchase the things they need in their classrooms. A gift card to a bookstore or teacher supply store may be helpful. You might also organize a donation drive for supplies such as gently used books, art supplies or other useful items.
A Lesson in Giving
Teachers appreciate gifts, but those from the heart are touching for both the giver and receiver. Be sure that you recruit the help of your child in the gift buying and giving process. Talk with them about why they are giving their teacher a token of appreciation.
*Whatever you decide to give, include a sincere note of thanks from your child.
More Creative Ideas…
Chocolate Dipped Goodies
Have your child dip gram crackers (or pretzel sticks) into melted chocolate. Add sprinkles for extra fun! Place the treats in a tissue-lined box and top with a pretty bow, magnet or other embellishment.
Italian Dinner Basket
Let your child select a fun-shaped pasta (kids get creative with this) and select a marinara sauce. A crispbread, cheese wheel, biscotti or truffles could also be added to the basket. Go all-out and include a small basil plant – for fresh herbs with this meal and several others.
Discover what your child’s teacher enjoys doing in their spare time and put together a craft tote with yarns, paints or whatever they might enjoy. Keep it simple and include a gift card or purchase the items needed to complete a project. Let your child decorate the tote to demonstrate the creativity intended with the gift.
Help your child make beautiful thank you cards out of stickers, papers and embellishments. Tie 3-5 of them together with a pretty ribbon and give them as a thank you for the teacher to give to others. Teachers will be grateful for the time taken to create such a useful gift.
Help build the classroom library with a lovely reading donation basket. Make a Mr. or Ms. Sign to attach to the basket and set it out to collect gently used donations. Be sure to notify other moms of the basket so they can contribute.
Make a classroom treasure chest filled with toys and stickers for the teacher to give as rewards to students. Make it out of an inexpensive chest decorated specifically for that teacher – let your child do painting and help choose the prizes inside.