It is that time of year again! School is starting to wrap up and as a parent, you may find yourself wanting to give the teachers something special. But before you make your best cookies or fudge, let's think about what the teachers really want or need!
I am a parent coach now, but I spent almost six years as a teacher. I have seen gifts come and go, and here is truth: I was grateful for every single gift. Yes, even the “World's Best Teacher" mugs. Yet, looking back (and seeing my children's teachers now), I know that some gifts absolutely stand out. So, here is a short list of some great gift ideas (and a few of gifting no-no's!).
- A hand-written note or picture from your child and you, the parent! The best teachers work tirelessly, and never truly know their impact. When you specifically make note of how a teacher helped your child or your child recounts his favorite memory, it is deeply gratifying for that teacher.
- Gift certificates to Amazon. Teachers will often spend their own money to buy supplies for the classroom, so it is very much appreciated when a teacher can buy something for her or his own family.
- Food that you think that teacher would enjoy. A mom have me a great idea of giving a nice baking pan with the banana bread in it, with the recipe attached. A beautiful fruit basket, a box of soothing teas, an assortment of gourmet chocolates, and of course, something your child helped make is always appreciated. Remember: Your teacher may be receiving quite a bit of food, so make it small, healthy, and delicious.
- A gift certificate to a book store is always a treat for your little one's hard-working teacher.
- A gift certificate to the local coffee place is lovely, especially when placed inside a nice travel thermos.
- Flowers are lovely, but difficult for your teacher to transport home (vase + water + car = spilling). A beautiful indoor plant in a pot (think orchid) is appreciated, as well as a small pot of herbs! What a delicious and useful gift for any teacher.
- Stay away from gifts of clothing or jewelry…it often creates another job for your teacher if they need to return it.
- Stay away from mugs, unless it is a nice travel thermos. Chances are, your teachers have plenty of mugs at home.
- Avoid craftwork from your child. While you may love it, your teacher doesn't know where to put it!
- Chances are good that your teachers have plenty of stationary, so unless you really know their aesthetic, I would not give stacks of personalized paper.
Whatever you give, be sure to include a personal note and give a big hug (if your teacher is the hugging type!).