Throughout the school year, your child’s teacher becomes a part of your extended family. With National Teacher Appreciation Day around the corner on Tuesday, May 9, there’s no better time to show your love and gratitude for these VITs (Very Important Teachers) you’ve entrusted your child with for the entire school year. Despite what some may say, teaching is one of the toughest jobs around. I should know – I’ve been a teacher for 11 years now. We agree that effective teaching is its own reward, but Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8 – 12) is your chance to honor and recognize the dedication we’ve put forth throughout the school year – including spending our own money to provide supplies for the classroom. We are NOT expecting anything in return for our super-human efforts, but every once in a while we do like to feel loved, valued, and just a tad bit spoiled (who doesn’t?). And no, we’re not asking for a Birkin bag or an elaborate gesture – even the simplest gift is an A+ way to show us that you care.
I’ve received so many mugs, candles, lotions, and other little teacher-themed trinkets over the past several years that I honestly don’t know what to do with them, (Spoiler Alert) they end up getting re-gifted or donated. So Moms and Dads, before you purchase that “World’s Greatest Teacher” mug, check out my list of teacher-approved appreciation gifts that your child’s teacher would be thrilled to receive! And because I’m extra, I’ll even give you some tips on how to earn yourself some bonus points and impress the pants off your child’s teacher.
1. HAND WRITTEN NOTE OF APPRECIATION
There’s nothing more gratifying for a teacher than to hear that they’re doing a terrific job and that they’re appreciated. A darling note from your little angel (or you) is completely free and it may be the best gift that the teacher has ever received – they’re definitely the gift that keeps them going! Oh, and please let your child write their letter all by him or herself – misspelled words and all. If it includes a drawing, even better. I happen to keep each and every one of my notes and I’ll read them whenever I’ve had “one of those days”. They’re a real inspiration and a reminder that though I might not be able to save the world, I can make a difference one student at a time.
🌟Extra Credit: Upgrade this heartfelt gift by placing it in a frame (Dollar Store will do) or send a copy of your child’s note (or yours) to the school principal to make it even sweeter!
2. GIFT CARDS
Besides those precious notes, gift cards rank right up there as the best gifts you can give a teacher. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a gift card and you can be 100% sure that they’ll put it to good use. Obviously work within your budget, but please know that even a $5 gift card goes a long way for teachers (Think coffee, coffee, coffee). If you’re considering going the gift card route, make it even more impressive by going in with other parents in your child’s class. That way, they can feel free to splurge on a gift they’ve been dying to buy! I’d suggest purchasing a gift card to a store where the teacher can redeem for personal use or for the classroom. (Target, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, or Amazon gift cards are always excellent choices!)
🌟Extra Credit: If you’re all about presentation like me, check out these free and adorable printables from Hip2Save – it’ll look like you invested a ton of time when really it was as easy as 1-2-3.
3. BOOKS FOR THE CLASSROOM
Teachers are always in need of more books for their reading corners or libraries, so help your child’s classroom library grow by gifting a book or two. Books are great because they can be used for years by many students.
⭐️Extra Credit: To make this gift even more meaningful, have your child autograph the inside of the book along with the school year and possibly even a special message stating why they chose it.
4. CLASSROOM SUPPLIES
You may think that teachers don’t want gifts that remind them of the school day, but they actually do get excited about classroom supplies. So, why not help them out by replenishing some of the supplies off their wish list? Come December, I’d be thrilled to get a big box of shiny #2 pencils, glue sticks, or scissors – you can only imagine my desperation come May. Call me corny, but nothing makes me happier than a brand new beautiful package of Sharpies or dry erase markers.
⭐️Extra Credit: If you’re feeling crafty, turn a bunch of school essentials into a thoughtful gift basket, add some frilly ribbons or tulle, and a cute little gift tag like the ones below…I told you I’m extra!
5. MEANINGFUL DIY PROJECTS
I know some of you are thinking that gift cards and supplies just aren’t personal enough. If you’re someone who feels like you just have to create something and you’ve got some extra time on your hands, then please, by all means get your creative mojo on and craft your own one-of-a-kind creation! But, I have two words for you: consumable and functional. I’m a huge fan of DIY projects, so Pinterest-inspired gifts give me life! Kids love to be involved in the gift creating process, so get them in on the action and have them add their very own special touch. Keep in mind that the gift should be something the teacher enjoys doing (like baking, gardening, or movie watching) and something that won’t just collect dust on the shelf. At the end of the day, teachers just want to feel human, so I can guarantee you that these gifts will be a hit! Not sure of what your child’s teacher loves? You might just have to do a little homework.
⭐️Extra Credit: You already get a gold star for tackling this one – BRAVO!
6. A LUNCH DELIVERY
Teachers have super short lunch breaks and for the most part they’re stuck in their classrooms grading papers or checking emails, so a lunch delivery would be a dream – who doesn’t love having a day off from making lunches? Find out the teacher’s favorite lunch spot, send him/her a to-go menu, and let him/her know that lunch is on you. Just be sure to make your delivery on a day that a school luncheon isn’t already taking place. (Most schools provide lunch at least once during Teacher Appreciation Week.)
⭐️Extra Credit: Throw in a pack of gum or some mints and an extra water bottle.
Last but not least, please don’t forget about the other teachers who interact with your child on a regular basis including Music, PE, Art, Library, Computers, etc. – they often feel left out during Teacher Appreciation Week as students typically only bring in gifts and cards for their classroom teachers. If your budget is tight, have your child write a letter of gratitude – it will brighten up their day, I promise!
And remember, something personal and thoughtful means more to teachers than all the expensive things in the world, and whatever gift your child gives, the teacher will love and cherish it because it is truly the thought that counts. And if you choose not to do the whole gift thing, that’s fine too – a simple “thank you” will do!