17 May 2013

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Since my husband and I got married and went straight to graduate school, this is the first year I've had the delight of watching his expertise in the classroom.  (He's a wonderful teacher.) And I've learned a lot about the joys and struggles a classroom teacher goes through. 

Inspired by some other blog posts around the web recently, I thought I would put together my own take on showing appreciation for the teachers in your life, whether they're your teacher or your child's teacher.

1.  E-mail the teacher's boss, and boss's boss, letting them know several specific things you appreciate about the teacher's methods and work.  Copy or blind copy the teacher.  So many times, teachers and their bosses hear complaint upon complaint, but you never know what power an affirmation to someone's boss can have.

2.  Thank the teacher in writing (e-mail or hand written) for something specific they did to help you or your child grow.  Teachers invest a lot of time in energy in their students' growth, and it's easy for even the best teachers to wonder if their investments are paying off.  A specific and meaningful thank-you note can jump start their energy, at any time during the school year.

3.  Recognize the time a teacher may put in beyond their "required" hours with a gift that sets up them up for quality time with spouse and family.  This doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.  A basket of bubbles, water bottles, and sidewalk chalk for a day at the park.  A gift card for a smoothie place.  A gift card to a book store where they can buy a book to read aloud with spouse or children.  A picnic kit with cute paper plates, some fun reusable plastic ware, napkins, and a table cloth (they can choose their own food items, which is easier for you and them unless you know their allergies and dietary preferences).

4.  Pay attention to hints they give about who they are all year, and teach your kids to do the same.  Teachers spend a mountain of quality time with their students during the course of the school year.  If you're attentive, you're likely to find out what their favorites are:  hobbies, foods, music, whatever.  Act on those discoveries.

5.  Volunteer to help with an extra project in that teacher's program or area, and let the school know your donated time is in appreciation for a particular teacher.

6.  Make a donation (size doesn't matter) to the teacher's program.  If that's third grade, donate toward field trips or a classroom need you know they have.  If that's high school science, donate toward something needed in the lab.  If that's music at any level, donate toward scholarships, tours, instrument maintenance.  Ask what the needs are.  Then show your support with your donations.  And of course let the school know your gift was inspired by a teacher or something specific a teacher did.

So it's not an exhaustive list, but I hope it gets your creative juices going!  You'll notice the first couple of items on the list are free.  But they also have the capacity to be some of the most powerful things you can do for a teacher.

1 comment:

  1. These are all wonderful ideas!

    P.S. I LOVE the Clematis sequence, keep it coming! I need to buy a purple clematis, we have a faded pink one & we're not fond of the color.


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