Giving holiday or end-of-year gifts to your child’s teacher is certainly not expected in most schools and may actually be prohibited in some public schools, but when you decide you want to show your gratitude to that extra-special teacher, finding the right gift can be tough. For those occasions when the “#1Teacher” mug or ubiquitous apple just won’t cut it, here are some fresh ideas:
Books: If your child’s teacher maintains a classroom library, donate gently used books your child has outgrown. (If not, the school library may appreciate them; ask the librarian.)
Faculty Lounge Treats: If you’ve got several children at the same school, show your appreciation for all of their teachers, as well as for the administrative staff, by sending a supply of high-quality coffee and an assortment of good tea for the teachers’ lounge. Ask someone who works in the office what kind of coffee machine is available to the teachers to ensure you send something they can use. A fruit or vegetable tray or a fruit bouquet is also a generous gesture.
Customized Stamp: Writing his name in every book that belongs in his classroom is a time-consuming chore for your child’s teacher. Save him precious minutes by giving him a self-inking stamp that will allow him to mark books and other classroom supplies with ease. Most office supply stores will allow you to choose from a variety of customize-able stamps.
Donation of Your Time: Tell your child’s teacher that you appreciate all the work she puts in so much that you’d like to put in a little of your own. Many teachers will leap at the chance to involve another pair of adult hands in a big project or experiment. (If you’re artistic, offer to collect the supplies for an art project and lead it yourself.) Another idea is to offer your help with time-consuming tasks like taking down a classroom display of student art and setting up a new one, designing a display bulletin board, or helping pack up the classroom at the end of the year. A very innovative idea is to ask if the school would allow you cover the teacher’s lunch or recess duty or study hall. The time off will give your child’s teacher the chance to squeeze in some grading or simply relax.
Pampering: Time to one’s self is rare for most busy teachers. A gift card to a local spa for a pedicure or a massage is almost always welcome.
A Night on the Town: If you find yourself with tickets to a concert or sporting event you can’t attend, ask the teacher if she’d like to use them before you try to sell them. Many teachers would also appreciate a gift card to a local restaurant.
A Handwritten Note: Most teachers go into teaching because they dream of making a difference in the lives of children. Let your child’s teacher know he succeeded with a letter that tells him just how much you appreciate him. Include a specific memory, like the way you felt when your child, formerly a reluctant reader, couldn’t stop talking about the book the class was reading. A note from your child (act as scribe if she’s too young to write it herself) would be the icing on the cake. For extra credit, send a copy of your letter, and your child’s note, to the principal. This free “gift” is likely to be the one the teacher will treasure most!