Ask any teacher about the best gift they’ve ever received, and it probably doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. The greatest way to show your appreciation for teachers during the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week is to acknowledge all the time and effort they put in to making a school year filled with learning fun and educational adventures. When there is a personalized element to whatever gift is chosen, it makes a powerful statement that shows, We see your hard work, we recognize your unique qualities, and we appreciate you.
Ideas for Gifts with a Personal Touch
Supplies—While the classroom supply shelves are eagerly filled at the beginning of the year, those stockpiles start to dwindle come spring. Reviewing that initial supply list and taking note of all the markers, stickers, and glue it took to create and reward all those masterpieces on the fridge will give you some ideas for key items to purchase. Hand sanitizer and tissues never go out of style either. Check out this great collection from It’s Always Autumn1 of printables with catchy appreciation phrases to attach to supplies and other fun gifts.
Recipes—Yes, teachers are often busy moms and dads on the go, just like you. Making a class recipe book with a quick and easy family favorite from each student would be useful, appreciated, and a fun way for teachers and students to connect “outside” of school. A collection of 5-10 family favorites would also be a great gift from an individual student. This gift could be accompanied by spices, a cool kitchen gadget, or simply stand alone as a great personalized keepsake.
Letters—When a student or parent takes the time to write a personalized thank you to a teacher, it really makes an impact. After over 20 years in education, it’s those heartfelt notes, letters, and emails that can really bring on the waterworks. Acknowledging that a teacher helped a child through a difficult time, restored a student’s love of reading (my personal favorite), or simply brightened each day with a caring and supportive approach shows that someone is paying attention and appreciating all they do.
Personalized Keepsakes—Show a teacher you’re really paying attention by giving them a token of you appreciation that relates to a favorite interest or hobby. A t-shirt, notepad, or bracelet (Notice I didn’t mention coffee mugs!) depicting a favorite sports team can always be used. You could also find something for an avid collector, but keep in mind, while apples are associated with teachers, not all of us enjoy collecting apple paraphernalia! If you hone in on personal interests, you can’t miss the mark on this one, so pay attention and don’t let your best intentions hit the re-gift pile!
Gift Cards—Even though you may think a gift card isn’t personalized, choosing just the right gift card can be very personalized. Taking note of the cup of coffee on his desk from a particular chain or local stop, picking up on a story your child retells of a restaurant or store she frequents, or focusing in on a favorite hobby (e.g., reading, movies, music, gardening, etc.) is the key to personalization.
Every gift a teacher receives is meaningful and special because it is truly the thought that counts. Knowing that students, families, and the community realize and acknowledge the daily efforts teachers put forth is the piece that makes us feel truly appreciated. With these 5 ideas for personalizing, you can add that personal touch and show a teacher just how much you care!
Backpack Bonus: Ideas to tuck away for another day.
Have some fun on the go with these classic conversation games from Creative with Kids.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.
Additional Resources & Works Cited
1. It's Always Autumn