As the school year comes to a close and the summer is about to begin, now is a great time to thank the people who have been instrumental in your child’s development. As a teacher, I have never expected my students to bring me a gift at the end of the year. After all, I was only doing my job and to me just being a teacher was reward enough. However, as a parent, I think it is important for my kids to recognize and to say thank you to the people who have given so much of themselves throughout the school year.
But when you think of all of the people that have had a hand in making your child’s year great, it can be overwhelming to come up with genuine ways to express your thanks. So to help you out, I’ve compiled a list of 5 great ideas for end-of-the-year gifts that any teacher would love!
1.) Write a note. Throughout my years teaching, the most memorable and touching gifts that I have ever received have been the hand written pictures and cards from my students. It sounds so simple, but to a teacher, having a parent or child thank you personally means the world. I once even had a student write an essay about how I was his favorite teacher and he sighted specific things that I did to help him grow. I had a parent write a letter to the Superintendent about me and the impact I had on her daughter. That was far better than any store bought gift.
2.) Make a theme bag. Teachers appreciate creativity so why not throw together a theme gift? A beach bag is always appreciated. Fill a small tote with a beach towel, sun block and a magazine. Or how about a sweet treat theme? Fill a gift bag with an ice cream scooper, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and a $5.00 gift card to an ice cream shop. A movie night bag is another great idea. Simply buy a DVD of a romantic comedy and pair it with some microwavable popcorn and candy. With so many people to thank, theme bags are nice because you can find most of these items at discount stores to keep costs low.
3.) Go green. One year, I gave all of my kids’ teachers potted plants for their houses. I bought a flat of flowers from the nursery and some basic hanging planters. I made a colorful arrangement for each teacher and included a note that said, “Thanks for helping me grow!”
4.) Stock up the classroom. Many people are surprised to learn that teachers use their own money to stock up their classrooms with supplies. When I look around my children’s classrooms, I see all of the money that came out of their pockets. Most schools provide the basics like books, desks and paper, but most of the extras are not included. As a teacher, I have purchased on my own book shelves, posters, games, books and even a rocking chair for my classroom. One great way to express you thanks is to ask your child’s teacher if there is something they really need for their classroom. I once had a student give me a globe as an end of the year gift and I think of him every time I use it. You can also fill a basket with pencils, reward stickers, post-its, and magic markers.
5.) When in doubt, gift card it! If you are pressed for time and want something quick, you can always send a gift card in any amount. Teachers typically love learning, so book stores or museums are great gift card ideas. They are also in need of some much earned rest and relaxation, so gift cards to nail salons, movie theaters or restaurants are all well appreciated.
Whatever you decide, remember: It is not the dollar amount that matters. A little bit of thanks goes a long way and your child’s teacher will appreciate knowing that you cared enough to say thank you. Want an added bonus? Your child will feel so much excitement when he hands that special person his special gift.
~ Anne Davis ~