I’ve been a teacher in Lafayette Parish for nine years now. My school is one of “those schools” that does teacher appreciation BIG! We receive gifts every day of the week, PTO buys us a gift, and we have a luncheon on Friday. Parents class sit for us all afternoon so we can attend the lunch, enjoy a great catered meal, and hopefully win a door prize! I am so thankful for all the appreciation we receive during this week.
However, I know that sometimes it is a strain on the parents (financially and creatively) to come up with great gifts for their child’s teacher(s). Especially when we are talking about having multiple children. This year, I will buy teacher appreciation gifts for 4 teachers that spend all day with my kids. Then we start on the speech teacher, the music teacher, the librarian, the science lab teacher, and the PE teachers. It can get out of hand quick. Especially for a mom who is a teacher herself. I just want to give them a million dollars, and be done with it … alas teacher’s salary. Here’s my take on the best way to approach teacher appreciation week while staying on the budget we set in May.
1. Do something that costs nothing.
Some of the best gifts I have ever received where absolutely free. Handmade cards, decorated and written to tell me I’m awesome, are always great. I have a few of them from over the years hanging by my desk. On the hard days, I just take a minute to sit and read them. I teach third grade so my students are all capable of sitting down to writing a paragraph. Sit down with your child, have them write a thank you card to their teacher. My personal favorite was a card I received last year. It said, “I don’t know how you did it, but thanks for making me love to write.” Mission accomplished. I promise their teacher will remember far longer than cheap bubble bath. This free printable is great, especially for younger children that may have trouble writing a whole paragraph.
2. Gift Cards that Cover the WHOLE purchase.
Here’s the deal, if I bought all my kids’ teachers a Tsunami gift card, they’d need at least $75, probably more like $100 to cover their dinner. That’s $400 just for the ones that spend all day with my girls. It just ain’t happening folks. Therefore, even if I know Tsunami is their favorite restaurant, I’m not getting them a gift card from Tsunami. Since the budget is smaller, I think of places that will get you a whole trip for cheap, like CCs, Starbucks, Johnston Street Java, etc. … $5 goes a long way somewhere like this. $10 gets them two cups of coffee. $10 at Target gets you nothing, basically, so go with a smaller gift card that will cover the whole shebang. Other cheaper gift card ideas include: Indulge, Chicken Salad Chick, Chick-Fil-A, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Great American Cookie Company. This little printable looks all kinds of cute when you purchase a coffee gift card.
3. Go in with the Whole Class.
Every few years, I have a parent that will send a letter home to every student in my class. The letter simply asks for money to buy me _________________. One year, I had a class give me $100 to the spa. Win! Another year, the class pooled their money to buy us a huge gift card to Social. Ideas that aren’t gift cards include a nice essential oil set, beach bag and beach stuff (towel, hat, fancy cup, etc), movie night basket with movie or Netflix gift card, snacks, etc). Even if you aren’t comfortable going in with the whole class, get a few of your mom friends together and buy a bigger gift.
4. Anything Personalized.
I’m a huge fan of anything monogrammed. Therefore, monogrammed notepads, stationery, hats, beach towels, and blankets (Costco has blankets for $7.99, that are amazing) are always a hit. I shop the sales and have someone put a monogram on it for another $7-8. Another great gift is a monogrammed planner for the next school year. I know I love these planners from Plum Paper. I buy a school year planner every summer, and it would be so cool to receive a gift card or one of these for Teacher Appreciation Week. These gifts look like a spent way more than I did.
5. School Supplies
Hear me out on this one. Please don’t get your child’s teacher a pack of copy paper or yellow number two pencils and call it a day. Buy them fancy school supplies that they would not be able to use school money for or would not normally buy for themselves. Examples of my favorite are fancy monogrammed mouse and mouse pad that hooked up to my Chromebook, huge post-it notes, electric stapler, electric hole punch, paper mate ink joy pens, monogrammed clipboard, etc.
I happen to think that succulents are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. They are also cheap, cheap. I found some at Albertson’s for $2.99 this week. A flower from the garden, a bouquet from the grocery store, or a potted plant that is all kinds of cute, us teachers love them all. This printable is free, and precious for your flower arrangements.
7. Make it Personal.
I’d also like to add that I think it is totally appropriate to ask the teacher what they enjoy, etc. Shoot them an email just to get some ideas. Ask their favorite color, favorite restaurant, favorite gift cards, etc. They won’t mind taking five minutes to answer your little questionnaire, so you don’t waste your money on a gift they may not use. Here’s a questionnaire you can send to your child’s teacher that will help you get some ideas to give a more personal gift. This questionnaire would also be great to send in August, so you can have ideas for Christmas, birthdays, and so forth.