As a teacher, gifts of appreciation are not necessary. However, they do make the warm fuzzies show up! Doing an act of kindness out of obligation isn’t really kindness, but when I want to do something nice, I always seem to forget awesome ideas I see online. So here is a run down of some clever and not-pocketbook breaking ideas! Teacher Appreciation week is great – but if you feel like spreading the love out, here are 9 ideas that are quick and easy for the year.
1. Find out their favorite beverage.
Okay, but first make sure it’s PG right? A bottle of wine may be necessary, but not exactly union friendly. In the first months of school, ask the teacher or send your kid in with the mission of finding out their favorite drink. Iced mocha? Black coffee? BOOM. That coffee drive thru can do double duty for you and them! Teachers thrive on beverages that can be drunk hot and then eventually cold. I’m pretty sure my record on hot coffee is five sips before I need to go reheat it three hours later!
2. Bring in a menu.
Lunch hour is actually 15 minutes. It is the fastest 15 ever. But if you bring in a menu, have the teacher pick their dish, and let them know it’s being delivered? You will be the TALK of those 15 minutes, and most teachers will not be able to wait until they get your kid! Plus, a hot tasty meal is awesome. Or cold, if you roll like that. Another option is, if like our school, you have the best hot lunch cook who cooks from scratch, (YES – it still exists!!) see if you can buy them a few meals at school too!
3. Write a note.
Spending money is NOT a prerequisite. A handwritten note highlighting something you love about their teaching will boost them up, and really brighten their day. Another option is emailing the principal with compliments. Trust me, even if the teacher never hears about it, it’s always a good idea. I can say that as a coworkers, we do this a lot – and it is the most meaningful gift!
4. Gift Cards.
In this day in age, gift cards are here to stay. You know the local “teacher hot spots”. No, not the dive bar in the shady part of town, but Target, Hobby Lobby, etc. Even $5 will help them alleviate their budget. Or allow them to have tasty food or fun things that may even *gasp* NOT be related to teaching!
5. Offer to help.
There are ALWAYS pencils to sharpen, folders to fill, floors to sweep. You name it! One of my personally best gifts was a mom who offered to help me organize this VERY scary shelf that needed to be fixed. So she came in after school, we took everything down, organized, threw away junk, and got it all put back. It took 30 minutes, and would have taken me 2-3 hours. It was the best!
6. Cleaning Supplies.
Wipes, hand-sanitizers, tissues – these are the items teachers use to wage war against germs. Anytime there’s a sale, feel free to drop some off. Flu season is super fun in Minnesota right?! Cough drops, or even something that contains Vitamin C will help your teacher fend off the germs.
7. Art Supplies.
I could technically group that into the cleaning supplies, but if you know the teacher needs some more crayons or those super awesome pencils that sharpen really well? Load up if you are able. Other ideas can include tissue papers, glue sticks, sharpies, neon printer paper. Ask too! There’s always an elusive item that a teacher needs.
8. A friendly face.
Sometimes, all a teacher needs too is a smile, a wave, some friendly gesture. Rough days can be smoothed over easier with something friendly. A picture from your child to their teacher is always a fun pick-me-up.
9. The Bulletin Board.
Some teachers love to do their bulletin boards. I love the idea of them, but when it comes down to time and ideas, I run out of both pretty fast. If you are a crafty person who can use a stapler – offer to help do some decorating! I know, I know, fellow teachers, I may be crossing into territory that may be hard to share – BUT it is helpful when you can say yes to something like this!
There are 1,000s of other ways to show appreciation – and this should and can extend to support staff, paras, aides, office workers, etc. I can promise you I missed some great and obvious ones! Help me out, comment below – and tell me – what was either an idea you used for a teacher, or an idea a family used on you, fellow teacher. Tried and true ideas area always the best!!