By Vicki Little
Teachers do so much for our children during their nine months in the classroom. They guide them, teach them, love them – and put up with them on their “off” days. They deserve thanks that we can’t put into words. We try, though, and we want to give them something we know they will enjoy. And that is the hard part – finding the perfect token of appreciation. But don’t stress over finding the perfect teacher gift, we’re here to help!
We asked teachers and did some research, and we have put together a list of gifts we are sure your teachers will love. You can also check with the school to see if the Parent-Teacher Association or main office has a collection of “Teacher’s Favorite Things.” Some schools have done the legwork for you. If your school hasn’t, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher to fill out a “get-to-know-you” questionnaire. The teacher will be touched that you took the time and effort to do so. You also can ask other parents to chip in for a big group gift!
1) A crate of supplies:
Glance around your child’s classroom and take note of what classroom supplies seem to be used most, and also see which containers your teacher likes. For example, does the teacher keep supplies in caddies that don’t have holes (to keep pencils and crayons from falling out), are books stored in plastic buckets, are there any items that are cracked or need replacing? Helping your teacher keep the classroom stocked and neat is a life-saver. Even if it is the end of the year, he or she will appreciate not having to spend as much money out-of-pocket next year.
2) Classroom games:
There are many times when these will be useful, particularly during indoor recess and center rotations. Educational board games, word searches, activity books, conversation cards, dominoes, Uno, or other educational games are great for teachers to have, but they usually have to be bought out of pocket.
3) Elementary box:
This would be a great one for a few parents to give together, and it would only work for elementary school kids, but what a great idea! Elementary box is a subscription club that is tailored to teachers! Each month teachers receive a box of items for their students, such as stickers and books or stamps and a small game.
4) Personalized pencils or a set of Sharpies:
Before I started teaching Junior Kindergarten, I had NO idea how precious these two items are. By this time of year, pencils are chewed on, sharpened to the nub, and are missing their erasers. Your teacher is going to need some next year! Sharpies and red pens also tend to go missing and are loved by teachers.
5) A book for the class library:
Just the other day, one of our students gave the lead teacher a great wordless picture book. It is amazing because students can use their imaginations to create the story. If you have an older elementary student, higher-level books are often in high demand. A book is something that your teacher will always treasure. Maybe tuck in a Barnes & Noble gift card for the teacher to get a book for their own summer reading, too.
6) Gift cards:
This is always a great idea. Fandango or local movie theater tickets with some favorite candy, an Amazon gift card, a Target gift card, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant would all be welcome. Other unique gift-card ideas are for a “meal prep” service, office supply stores, a massage or spa day, a local beer or wine tasting – even sports tickets, if you know this is something they would enjoy.
7) Summer relaxation kit:
Put together a magazine, some flip flops, Aloe Vera, sunscreen, a new beach towel, and maybe even a cute floppy hat. Your favorite teacher is going to be more than ready to head to the pool or beach for some R&R.
8) Your time:
There is one teacher gift that is always appreciated and will always be perfect: your time as a volunteer. The end of the year comes with a LOT of cleaning, organizing, and preparing for the following year. Your teacher will appreciate any time that you can give to help. A thoughtfully handwritten card to accompany your time will make the perfect gift!
Vicki Little is a preschool teacher with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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