Please make a posting about “end of the school year” teacher gifts. I was just reading something on Facebook about whether or not to buy expensive gifts for teachers at the end of the school year and thought this topic would be perfect for www.LivingOnADime.com.
At the risk of sounding uncaring, we have gotten so out of control with gift giving and that includes things like the end of the year gifts for teachers. Don’t get me wrong– I personally think teachers should be showered with gifts and special crowns in heaven. Teachers and nurses deserve more than we can ever give them here on earth and we do need to show our appreciation to them but it doesn’t always have to be in the form of an expensive gift. It is like the husband who always gives his wife expensive jewelry but never compliments her or tells her how much he appreciates her. If given the choice, most wives would much rather have the sweet words over the jewelry.
As for teachers, even though I know they appreciate the thought, there are only so many mugs and apple knick knacks they can use. Here are some things that teachers have mentioned to me about gift giving:
- The gift doesn’t need to be expensive. Teachers often like something like a small plant or flower they can take and plant at home.
- Some teachers love getting gift cards to a fast food place or another place to eat. They like many different kinds of gift cards.
- They do like things to eat or even baked goods they can take home to share with their families.
But the one thing teachers love and appreciate the most is:
- When you let them know they have done a good job
- Tell them when they have made a difference in your child’s life
- Tell them how they have encouraged your child
Just a nice note or a kind word. I think teachers especially enjoy letters of encouragement from their students or their students’ parents. They can save these items and pull them out years later at times of discouragement to remind them they are doing a great job.
Don’t save this just for the end of the year, either. Through the year if your child comes excited about something his/her teacher has done or taught them that day send a note with them the next day letting the teacher know they are doing a good job. This is especially good for new teachers who can be insecure and uncertain if they are on track with their teaching.
And the best gift of all is to have their students come back years later and tell them what a difference they made in their lives.
Instead of buying 10 generic gifts to give to all your children’s teachers which will not mean much to you or to them, sit down with your kids and hand write a nice note. Give it alone or if you can afford to give a small bag of candy or plate of cookies, muffins etc., include that.
Click here to get our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks 25% Off NOW! They’re filled with tasty recipes and tips to make your life easier!
As a former teacher, we were encouraged not to accept gifts and I rarely got any. I taught at a poorer area and many children could not afford to give gifts. But I will say that I hated that they wasted money on dollar store gifts that I would never use. I don’t want teacher ornaments or things to sit around. I am trying to declutter my house and don’t want any more knickknacks to have to dust! I don’t want homemade food unless I know the house is clean. That may seem mean but I have seen some of the homes. I don’t want candy or stuffed animals because I don’t need or want them. You are so correct that the most precious things to me were the notes from the parents (I taught first and 5K) and the children coming back year after year to visit and hug me. If I did have to say what I would like as a gift, your suggestions are very good. I would like a gift card to Wal-Mart or somewhere like that where I could get anything, including school supplies, that I need. I have gotten flowers and I do enjoy those (they picked them from their yard).
I’m not a teacher, but at places I’ve worked I was a little tired of getting mugs. You can only use so many of them and since most are made in China I wouldn’t use them to drink from anyway. I put pens and pencils in most. I don’t trust anything that comes out of China that is used for food or the body. Just too many cases of them using questionable ingredients in things. I would rather a nice card with a personal note, flowers from a garden, or something thoughtful but simple. Too many candles too are not good.
I am a teacher. I agree with Anne’s comments. The only “gifts” I save are the handmade cards & letters from students. At my school, (sad to say) teachers leave unwanted gifts from students on the give-away table for others to take. I give some gifts to my mom to use as recyled gifts for gift exchanges at her ladies group.
I always gave my children’s teachers a letter of appreciation. I included how they affected my child’s life and if they were exemplerary, I sent a letter to the principal and the school board so they could be recognized. I think this was more important than a knick-knack.
I have made cookies, cocoa mix, etc in the past. This year, my children’s teacher (I have twins) is diabetic. I made her homemade notecards and homemade lemon body scrub. She loved both – I asked scent preference before I made. We live in Minnesota and hand lotion is also appreciated for the winter – handling all those papers makes hands dry. I also write a nice letter at the end of the year and tell her what a wonderful job she did. We have also ordered a large fruit basket for the teacher’s lounge the week before break too at other times – they get so many sweets that fruit is appreciated.
As a college teacher, I have to say it makes my day to have former students stop by or invite me to commencement and graduation open houses. It’s even an honor to have them ask me to write a recommendation letter. Most don’t take the time to write a note, but I have one note (from 12 years of teaching!) and it’s in my personal files to take out whenever I feel like I’m not making any difference.
No money for a teacher gift? Write that note! It really does mean something!
As a former teacher one of my favorite gifts I recieved was from a mom who had come and taken pictures at different events throughout the year, with me and her child, and just of the children in general. She gave me copies of the pictures at the end of the year. It was a great gift of some great memories.
I’ve been teaching for 16 years now. At first, I saved all the gifts I got, but over time most of them have gone to the Goodwill. I agree completely…no knick-knacks, coffee mugs, apple/teacher themed keychains, pins, etc. I do have an ugly dollar store Christmas tree pin in my jewelry box, but it’s because it was given by a child basically raising himself. He bought it and wrote a really wonderful note on the card. That I’ll keep forever! Those really thoughtful notes mean a lot…and I especially like them when they are attached to chocolate or a gift card! :-) That’s just a personal preference, though, and when my kids know my personal preferences enough to pick out some chocolate, that’s a gift in itself.
I agree with most of what everyone has said. I too am a teacher and I appreciate the little things the most: letters from parents and students, drawings/pictures, fruit or a flower/ plant. You do feel terrible when at the end of the year you throw away all the coffee mugs, Knicks knacks and other items you just don’t have use for. Some of my most favorite gifts have been: lotions, hand sanitizer, flowers/ plants, 5$ gift card, notecards, and really any gift that can be consumed that way there’s not clutter. For my sons teacher we wrote her a letter in the beginning of the year asking what some of her favorite hobbies, colors, scents, treats, drinks, a picture in a picture frame ect that way we were sure to deliver something she would enjoy. Let’s face it there’s nothing worse than when you get a pine scented candle that makes you want to gag! I think I can speak for most of us, we totally appreciate the thought but when it comes from the heart and thought was put into it it is priceless. To all my fellow teachers you are priceless!!!!!
I stopped giving teachers gifts after a year of supplying in almost every grade level a volunteer to help with the problem children and the slow learners.
That is what I was trained to do but never did it as a career due to the area we moved to.
The last day I was there and went to the staff room and teachers came in laughing at the gifts the students had given them and then tossing them into the garbage.
Now some of the gifts were cute and some funny but that was not what the teachers were laughing at. They were laughing at and naming each student.
But even though the gifts were saying thank you the teachers couldn’t see that.
Not one teacher looked at me and said thanks for all your hours you really helped me out a lot.
I figured if the teachers couldn’t take 4 seconds out of their time before they left on the holiday I wouldn’t take any money or thought to have my sons say thanks.
I know not all teachers are like this and so when my sons really enjoyed the year the teacher got a small gift that they picked out not me. They also paid for it out of their own money.
I know this may sound petty but if a teacher doesn’t appreciate the gift or the help of a parent volunteer they don’t get the recognition from me.
There’s too much obligatory gift giving. I was given a wallet once by a rather trying boy in my form. He said, “Me mum said I had to give it to you.” I’d have liked to throw it at him.
At the previous school where my son was, the PTA put the teachers “Favorites” on each of the class pages in the student directory. His new school didn’t have that, so I suggested that they do that. They couldn’t budget to put the extra few pages it would have taken in the directory this year, but they put it on the PTA website. It is so nice, as a parent, to give a token gift that the teacher really likes along with a note of appreciation at the end of the year. The PTA has a Teacher Appreciation Week at the end of the year, but never thought to have a list of the teachers’ favorites other than for that one week. I like to show appreciation all year long. My son’s teachers have really appreciated (even) the small gift cards for their favorite restaurant, or their favorite store to shop in.
I have to add that I agree with whoever said earlier that teachers and nurses deserve much more than we can ever give them. Yes, there are a few that don’t need to be teaching or being nurses, but for the most part, teachers and nurses are in that sainted few who are really there to help others. If you can’t give to them a personal gift, even if it’s a note of thanks, the other impersonal gifts just don’t mean as much.
I am a middle school teacher and a tutor of kids from grade 3 to college, as long as they have a reading disability. I appreciate and value any teacher gift as long as they come from the heart and true appreciation.
I am an elementary school teacher. The comment that was made above about the teachers making fun of their gifts and throwing them away saddens me a great deal. Unfortunately, you will find rude people any where you go. Please don’t judge all teachers by a few that have no manners. Having said that, I can honestly say the notes of appreciation I have received from students and parents have meant a great deal to me. In reference to gifts, I appreciate even a small token, like a gift card to starbucks or dunkin donuts. I also enjoy homemade cookies or brownies. On behalf of teachers everywhere, thank you to those parents who are involved in their children’s education. That is the greatest gift we can receive.
At the risk of sounding greedy, please don’t forget the high school teachers!!
I teach seniors government and economics (snore….) but I also advise student publications which includes the yearbook. I have received three (count ’em THREE) precious notes through the years, and they have meant the world to me. Three seniors wrote to thank me and to encourage me in future years. One student did give me a priceless gift: a mini-scrapbook of our year together, working on the yearbook. She included pages of info about camps we attended, the jokes we had in class, and all the crazy antics of the kids on staff. Needless to say, that was the best thing I’ve ever gotten, and I still get it out each year and literally laugh out loud when I look back on our very fun year. That student has since graduated and graduated AGAIN from college. I still hear from her and a few others periodically.
And parents, please know, your children (no matter what age) are PRECIOUS in the eyes of the Lord and myself and most other teachers. At semester, when I finish grading finals, I pray over my desks. For every student I have who I know sits in that seat, I pray for wisdom, health, and a positive future of success.
It is my honor and pleasure to go to work every day. :D
Kimberly in NC
Jessica: THANK YOU for your prayers!!! Your comment touched my heart so deeply. Our oldest son is in his last month of 5th grade and will go to middle school this fall. Our middle son will start kindergarten this fall and our youngest son won’t start til 2017. I pray that all of their teachers will have your mindset and Christian values. That they have a heart sold out for the Lord so that God can work through them to reach out to all of their students, including our sons. We live in a good school district, so I try not to worry about all of the what-ifs that we hear about in the news. However, I know that anything can happen. But just reading your comment really made my day. And reminded me not to forget to lift up our sons’ teachers in prayer. God bless you and all that you do!
I especially love any words of encouragement that a parent or teacher takes time to write. Those words do bless me, and I do keep them to read over again and encourage myself.
If you look at an iceberg, you see what is on the top. Most students and parents never see the part under the iceberg that teachers do to plan the lessons, make the copies, make the lesson better, grade the student work, record the grades, contact parents, and get ready for the next day. Many of us spend 12-13 hours a day at school and often still take work home.
Teaching is a labor of love.
Writing a letter of thanks is a gift any teacher will treasure.