I talked with many teachers and moms to see what they like to give and receive for Teacher Appreciation. An overwhelming sentiment was no more mugs and candles. Gift cards, Flair pens, and handwritten notes were the top vote-getters from both teachers and moms. So keep reading for ideas for those special teachers, paraeducators, and school staff!
May 3–7 is Teacher Appreciation Week nationwide this year.
Todd Whitaker said it perfectly. “The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.”
Our teachers have pushed through obstacles and hurdles that most would walk away from. Teachers deserve to be recognized and appreciated every day but that does not always happen. So instead, one week is set aside to celebrate them. Being a former teacher and paraeducator I want to celebrate these teachers more often because they deserve it!
Ideas for Teacher Appreciation
Gift cards seem to be the favorite choice for appreciation. As I was looking for ideas to creatively display gift cards, I came across these gift card holders. They are perfect for that last-minute gift as your child is running out the door to school! After seeing these, I decided to keep a stash of Target and Starbucks gift cards in my kitchen drawer. Teachers need to be appreciated more than once a year! I am planning to start sending a little treat once a month just so they know how much we appreciate them.
The quote that began this post came from my friend Marilynn. She is a mom and educator in the public schools who gave much insight to the teacher side of gifts. Marilynn said “Handwritten notes and Target gift cards are my favorites. Or smelly, glittery “hand-a-tizer” and Lysol wipes in a cute bag. No homemade treats because I have so many food allergies. In other words: if you wanna bless us, let us treat ourselves or give us something we’d purchase for our students.” Much heartfelt wisdom that we can all remember as we celebrate our teachers.
Gift Card Bouquet
My friend Jennifer sent me an example of what she did as a classroom mom to show appreciation. They collect money and use the teacher favorites list to buy gift cards in varying amounts. Jennifer suggested getting flowers from Trader Joe’s (“because they have the best, most inexpensive flowers”) and creating an arrangement. Hot glue the gift cards to skewers and place them in the arrangement. This is a beautiful arrangement and gives the teacher the option to treat themselves or get something for their classroom.
The idea of using a teacher favorites list that you send to school on the first day to gain insight into each teacher is genius. I am going to make sure to send a list to each of my kiddo’s teachers so that I am well prepared for next year! My favorite one I found was this questionnaire because it gives the teacher the ability to be very specific about what they like or dislike! Sending little treats in for middle and high school teachers can be a little trickier so I have my middle schooler just keep a running list if they notice something each teacher likes.
Before everything went virtual, I would take a favorite snack and drink to fall and spring conferences as a pick-me-up for them. Nothing fancy but much appreciated by each of them. Especially the middle and high school teachers as they sometimes do feel left out of all the celebrations.
Most teachers just want to feel appreciated for their hard work and long hours. This does not need to be anything expensive. Think about their favorite candy or snack. Maybe sending Thelma’s warm cookies or Jay’s Cookies to school for the staff to share. (Make sure to check with your school for guidelines on this).
Don’t underestimate the impact of a card from their student thanking them or saying their favorite thing about their teacher. It is more about the thoughtfulness behind the gesture than the actual gift.
And if you want a top-rated teacher appreciation gift…grab your favorite teacher a pack of Flair Pens!