Teacher Appreciation Ideas
By Deborah Taylor-Hough
As the years go by, it seems to become more and common for
parents to be expected to give gifts to their children's teachers at school.
For many families, there's a fine line between showing
appreciation and going broke. Finding just the right gift -- at just the right
price -- can be challenging at best. And besides, how many apple-decorated key
chains or coffee mugs can one teacher use?
Gina Dalquest, a California mother of four, says, "Every teacher
appreciates school supplies. Often teachers spend a lot of their own money
stocking their classrooms. Pencils, paper, whatever I can get inexpensively or
in volume. I bought a big cube of construction paper and sent half to my son's
class. Last year at the holidays, we made decorated glass ball ornaments by
pouring several colors of acrylic paint into them and swirling the balls around
to look marbled. It cost less than $2 per gift."
With the end of the school year looming on the not-so- distant
horizon once again, here are suggestions for helpful -- and often inexpensive --
teacher appreciation gifts for the end of the year (or any other time when a
gift for the teacher might be appropriate):
Shoe-box sized plastic storage box full of school and classroom supplies that
you can stock up on throughout the year at sales, clearance stores, etc.
of popcorn and a flavored salt sampler.
certificate for a video rental.
Homemade fudge in take-out meal containers (or Biscotti, or gingerbread men).
Pencils printed with their names on them.
Painted glass ball ornaments.
Flavored coffee or tea mixes.
Coffee and cup decorated by your child.
candle and candleholder.
Anything for the classroom: games, writing equipment, books, rulers, things to
decorate or theme objects.
Handmade items from the students (potholder, pencil holder, etc).
Movie theater passes.
small basket of lotions or soaps.
letter from the student (and/or parent) telling what they enjoyed about the year
or the teacher's input into the child's life.
small plant potted in a thrift store coffee mug or tea cup.
child-made apple-shaped something or other (although over the years many
teachers end up with more apple decorations than they have room for in their
house or classroom).
Baked goods (bread, cookies, candies, quick breads, etc.).
Chocolate dipped pretzels.
One woman online said, "There are too many people who get left
out and probably feel bad about it, such as the P.E. teacher, the principal, the
secretary, the kitchen lady who knows your child by name, the teacher's aide who
listens to them say their numbers or helps with reading, etc. And then there's
the Awana leader, the Girl/Boy Scout leader, the Sunday School teacher, and the
private teachers like piano and dance. A parent can't possibly buy/make gifts
for all these people."
Her unique suggestion to deal with this large number of
potential gift recipients? Donate a book to the school or the public library "in
the names of all the people who have been part of your child's life this year.
Then give a card to each individual telling them why they were so important to
your child and how this gift will help other children as much as he/she helped
It's been my experience that people in volunteer helping
positions (such as Sunday School teachers or nursery workers at church) are
often completely overlooked when it comes time to give out thanks. Each year my
husband and I try to invite our children's Sunday School teachers and their
families to dinner at our house to thank them for all their hard work and
dedication throughout the year. It's never ceased to amaze me that I always hear
comments like, "No one has ever done anything like this for me before and I've
been teaching Sunday School for twelve years." Even just a simple Thank You card
given at the holidays or the end of the school term could be enough to bowl them
over in shock.
Remember: it isn't a competition to see which child or parent
gives the teacher the best or most expensive gift. Showing appreciation to
assorted teachers should be an expression of heart-felt thanks to the dedicated
people who've touched our lives and given of themselves to our children.
Deborah Taylor-Hough (mother of three) is
the author of several popular books including 'A Simple Choice: A
practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity'. She also edits
the free email newsletter, Bright-Kids, for parents and others
interested in the educational development of the children in their
lives. You can visit Debi online at:
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