It’s that time of year again – time to pick out the best teacher gifts. If you are reading this, it means that you care enough to support educators. Well done you!
So what do you get for your child’s favorite teacher? As a former elementary teacher, my thirteen years of teaching have provided me with some insight into the matter.
The Most Important Thing? A Sincere Thank You
You know the saying it’s the thought that counts? In this case, it’s the thank you that counts.
Great teachers put their hours, energy and love into their practice. It’s a calling for them, as well as a profession. As a result, they care immensely about their students. These teachers want nothing more than their students to succeed in their own way.
When I was teaching, a detailed thank you meant so much. Spoken from the heart or written down, a thank you is what fills up the tank of a tired teacher before a break. Hearing positive affirmations about how they are making a difference in your child’s school experience reinforces why teaching is worth it.
My favorite cards or conversations with parents were the thank you’s that gave specific examples.
A few parents credited me for the kindness showing up in their child at home. Others expressed how much it meant to see their kid love school. I was told about how their child raved over the songs learned or talked nonstop about new facts. It made me so appreciative to hear how loved I was. Those words stuck with me for a long time. Even years later, I still remember those touching moments.
Umm…. What About a Gift?
Ah, yes. Here’s the low down. After a genuine thank you, a simple gift card is the way to go.
Teachers end up spending quite a bit of their own money on classroom supplies, so a gift card goes a long way for supporting those educators in your child’s life.
While gift cards can seem impersonal, you can be creative with what kind of gift card you choose based on the teacher’s interests. Coffee shops, movie theaters, office supply stores, restaurants, craft stores, and ice cream shops all have gift card options.
That Sounds Expensive
It has the potential to be. However, if you are following a tight budget, small gift cards are greatly appreciated. If you child has more than one teacher that you are buying for, $5 gift cards to Target are a huge win!
What if you have way too many teachers to buy for? Well, a Redbox Rental Gift Card is inexpensive and pairs well with one bag of microwave popcorn wishing them an entertaining and relaxing break. A friend did that for what felt like TONS of teachers without breaking the bank.
How Do You Make That Personalized?
Again, it’s the thank you that counts. You could either write out a card thanking your child’s teacher, or have your child create their own card to give to their teacher.
Some crafty parents even come up with clever gift card tags or cute ways to display it. If you absolutely love making crafty gift displays, there are amazing ideas for how to package those gift cards.
What If You Absolutely LOVE Giving an Actual Gift?
I get it. Gift cards can feel impersonal. However, there are ways to pick out gifts that the teachers in your child’s life will love.
If you or your child know this teacher well enough, pay attention to their interests, hobbies, or fashion style.
Does that teacher love wearing funky socks? Have a favorite team? Is obsessed with a certain author or movie? Survives on coffee alone?
If you answered yes or came up with another quirk you know about that teacher, then go for it. If not, do not pass go or spend $20 on a generic gift. Go directly to the gift card section.
What To Avoid
Imagine the scene of your living room after a birthday party or a holiday, like Christmas. Once all the gifts have been opened and the tissue paper has settled, you are now faced with figuring out where to put all of these items in your home. The same goes for gifts received by a teacher before winter and summer break.
Keep that idea in mind. Since teachers instruct many students, some of the same generic gifts from well-meaning families can accumulate.
Here Are The Most Common Gifts I Received in Bulk:
Leaving for breaks I would take home enough chocolate to get diabetes if I consumed everything I was gifted. While I love me some chocolates, everyone has their own personal preferences. I even have a few friends who *gasp* don’t like chocolate.
Also, I will admit to throwing some chocolate away, after trying to pawn it off on others. I feel slightly guilty about it, but I only want to consume sweets that I will savor.
There is not enough room in my kitchen cabinets to store all of the mugs I have received over the years. Plus, I am picky about which mugs I use. When I am up way too early because of my tiny humans with limitless energy, my coffee mug needs to have enough weight so I can keep my balance while waiting for the caffeine to kick in.
Best Teacher Items
I appreciated that I was thought of as “the best.” However, where does one put all of those items?
I *may* have gifted a best teacher photo ornament with my school photo in it to another teacher friend one year.
There is limited space in a classroom, and even more so at home. If your child wants to share that they have the best teacher, have them put it in a card.
Large Crafty Display Items
While cute, it also applies to the best teacher items conundrum. Year after year, teachers run out of room to display all of the creations.
Want to make a keepsake? Make a photo book that they can store easily and pull out to reminisce.
As a good friend asked, “Are you trying to tell me something?”
When you think of your own beauty products, you stick with what you prefer and are used to. Or in my case, with sensitive skin (well, even my emotions are sensitive), I have to be extremely cautious about fragrances in products.
Not to Be the Grinch…
I hope I am not coming off as ungrateful. It is endearing to be thought of. The fact that families take the time to show that they care is what means the most to teachers.
No matter what I received, I took the time to open it in front of the student who brought it in and thank them profusely. It’s more about showing the students your appreciation for their thoughtfulness than what is inside the gift bag.
Those thank you notes or drawings get saved or displayed by teacher desks. They serve as a reminder to that educator that they are adored and are in the right profession.