When it comes to showing appreciation for a teacher, any of us can go out and buy a gift card or set of candles. But they always say the best gifts come from the heart, right? Well this goes for teachers as well. This doesn’t mean you have to know your teacher on a personal level to give a personalized gift, or invest in a ton of time and money. However, putting together a gift yourself is a lot more creative and much more appreciated than a gift card to Applebee’s. If you’re not the creative type, or are honestly just completely stuck, here’s a list of some simple but still heartfelt ideas:
1. Greeting Card/Letter- You’re probably thinking, “That’s it??” But really, it’s probably one of the nicest gestures to show a teacher your appreciation. This actually takes more thought than almost anything you’d end up spending money on. In fact, you could spend absolutely no money at all and just make a greeting card. The most important thing in a card/letter is to be specific. Why do you appreciate this teacher so much? What did they do to really impress you or what have they taught you that you’ll never forget? Having students point out how their lives have been touched is what dedicated teachers aspire for every day. This is what keeps them going. Show teachers that they truly made a difference, and your gift will be the best they’ve ever received (yes, even better than the fruit basket that Johnny’s mom sent in).
2. Poem- Poem’s can be cheesy for older students, but for children in elementary/middle school, they’re fantastic. There are tons of teachers appreciation poems online, or you can make one up yourself. Either way, just have your child copy the poem down on a colored piece of paper or poster, and decorate it with stickers, glitter, markers, etc. Creative children will have a lot of fun doing this, and what teacher wouldn’t love it (especially an English teacher!).
3. Baked goods- Anyone can go buy a dozen cupcakes, but it takes some real effort to convince a 7 year old to sit still long enough to icing just a few. The great thing about baking for your child’s teacher is that it promotes a bonding experience with your child. You can combine this with the last suggestion, or do it alone. If you want to bake a cake, try writing a personal thank-you on top in icing to the teacher.
4. Coffee mugs- You can buy a plain white coffee mug at most arts and crafts stores and decorate it however you’d like. You can write a personal message or even use the poem idea. This is a great gift because it’s inexpensive and will also be around for a while. Even if the teacher doesn’t drink coffee/tea, I’m sure they’ll have this cute little gift displayed on their desk.
5. A vase/flower pot- Flowers are always appreciated, but you can elaborate a bit on a gift that was once cliché by personalizing it. They make flower pots you can write on with chalk, or you can purchase chalkboard paint and paint it yourself. This is very teacher-esque, and is cute because you can write a message and it can be reused. You can also use glass paint to decorate a plain vase, write a message to the teacher, and fill it with flowers. They’ll most likely keep the vase forever.
6. Personalized note pads- You can order planners, sticky notes, and to-do lists with personalized messages for teachers. You can find an awesome selection of pretty much any kind of teachers appreciation gifts you can imagine, and they’re all for very reasonable prices. This is a really cool gift because every time the teacher uses it, they’ll think of you (maybe they’ll even see it sitting on their desk when they’re grading your paper—bonus points!)
Whatever you decide on for your teacher/your child’s teacher, just remember the purpose behind the gift. Don’t get caught up in details of how it looks or how much money you’ve spent. What’s important is to find something that will best convey the message you want to get across. If the teacher helped you with something specific, or just really went out of their way for you, don’t be afraid to explicitly thank them. And one last thing—don’t underestimate the power of simply saying, “Hey, thanks, I really appreciate what you’ve done for me.”