Great Teacher Gift Ideas
Appreciate A Teacher Today
Teachers are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people on earth. They put in long hours--much longer than the typical school day--making sure that everything is just right. They create lesson plans, teach the lessons and work with their students to develop understanding. They correct negative behavior, reward good behavior and direct students to a better response. Teachers praise and encourage their students and strategize on how to help them to be the best they can possibly be.
Teachers also invest in the future. They continue to develop their own skills, building their repertoire of creative ideas through personal study and continuing education. It all takes time. Some have to have a second job or summertime employment, just to make ends meet, but that doesn't stop them. They teach because they love teaching. They teach because they know that they can make a difference.
It's not just a job to them. If it were, they'd probably be doing something else. Something less demanding. Easier. But, no. They can't stop teaching because, difficult as it may be somedays, they love to teach and they love their students. It is what they were created to do.
So what are the best times to bless a teacher? Anytime is a good time. You can send them a card or give them a gift when they first come back to school, or during the Thanksgiving or Christmas/Hannukah season, on their birthday or at the end of the school year, thanking them for a job well done.
Teacher Appreciation Week is an obvious winner. This national event is scheduled each year during the first week in May.
Yes, anytime can be a great time to appreciate a teacher and it doesn't have to be limited to your child's teacher, either. How about the principal, guidance counselor or support staff? Do you have a family member or friend who teaches? Why not wow them with a surprise gift for their classroom? Appreciate a teacher today!
What to Get the Teacher Who Has "Everything"
If the teacher is relatively new at teaching, and a coffee drinker, a personalized coffee mug would be a treat. Teachers who have been around a while may have a cupboard-full. In that case, you may want to select a different kind of gift.
Some easy-to-find gifts:
Books: Don't know which book? How about a gift card to the local bookstore or Amazon?
Craft Supplies: teachers are always in need of craft supplies for bulletin boards and other art projects. Buy them a gift card to a local craft store. Michael's is a teacher-favorite, as is AC Moore! Or, you can make up a big surprise package yourself filled with an assortment of craft-goodies.
Food Gift Cards: teachers need a treat. Even a $5 card to Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks would be a thankfully received. How about Pizza Hut or Subway? If your teacher has a family, a night of not having to cook would be a welcome change.
Restaurant Gift Cards: Of course, higher priced cards to a great local restaurant would be welcome. Look for group-restaurant cards in your area. The benefit of a group-card is that the recipient can select the restaurant that he/she would prefer to go to.
Teachers love stores that cater to their classroom needs. Unfortunately, some of the local teacher supplies stores are closing up. If you are fortunate to have one in your town, buy a gift card there so that your teacher can splurg and get those special supplies that they wish they had. If there isn't a local retailer, here are several great online sources:
Personalized Gifts: surprise that very special teacher with a personalized t-shirt or tote bag. Decorate it with the faces and names of the students, hand-prints with signatures, or original student artwork. Family Fun by Disney® has a complete tutorial on just how to do it.
Create a Cartoon: FindGift.com features a unique gift of custom cartoon items for your teacher to receive from your child or from the whole class.
Video Collage: using Microsoft Windows Media Center, or similar software, combine photos taken at class activities along with student art work to create an essay of the year's events. Do it as a video slideshow, with music, and burn it on a DVD. Present it at a brief classroom celebration (bring in cupcakes or some kind of snack) so that you can enjoy the first-viewing together.
Yard Clean Up: organize a group activity for the students to bless the teacher by going to their home to do yard clean up --rake up the fall leaves or do early spring lawn & Garden preparation.
Car Wash: on a similar note, treat the teachers in the school to a student-run car wash. Have the teachers park their cars in a location in the parking lot convenient to running water and, with adult supervision, they will wash & dry all of the faculty's cars.
Have A Luncheon: with the help of other parents, plan a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast or Luncheon. Collaborate with the administration to find the right time and place for your event.
Teacher to Teacher Gifts
Are you the principal? Wise administrators know that there are times in the life of a school year that are tougher than others. When there have been unusual strains on your staff, create an Appreciation Day of your own.
Greeting Card Campaign: At a faculty meeting, provide a variety of blank "thank you cards" to the staff and have them draw names from a hat containing the names of one teacher on each one. You can even include support staff. Have them take the cards back to their classrooms so that they can spend some time putting a thoughtful commentary inside the card and address it to that person.They can choose to remain anonymous or make their identity known.
Writing Prompts: Things that you can suggest that they can say might include "What do they most admire about that teacher?" "What are their hopes and dreams for them?" "How do they shine in your school community?"
As principal, you will collect the cards the next day and will be the "mail man" to deliver them to the addressed recipient. (Check to be sure that everyone is getting one. If not every card has returned, you may need to do some fancy footwork to assure that no one on staff misses out.)
More Gift Ideas
The Mailbox Magazine: get a subscription for your teacher to this excellent resource, filled with project and lesson ideas that really work. Each issue is written specific to grade level and the contributors are all seasoned teachers who teach at that grade level. Yearbook collections are also available from Mailbox or through Amazon.
Family Fun Magazine is filled with wonderful creative ideas for crafts, projects, cooking and fun, as only Disney can do. They have a great website and a very reasonably priced print magazine, as well.
A Box Full of Goodies: this great idea comes courtesy of Tip Junkie. Give your teacher a beautifully decorated compartmentalized box full of goodies!
DIY Chocolate Dipped Stirring Spoons from Piece of Cake Recipes! Easy to make and a very thoughtful gift, especially for coffee drinkers.
Pizza and a Movie: Give your teacher a nice evening out by make up a little gift basket with movie tickets and a gift card to a local pizza establishment, such as Pizza Hut, where they can dine-in or take out.
Other Ideas: Greeting cards with a note of appreciation, picture frame with the class picture, paper weight, flowering plant, fruit basket or Edible Arrangement, homemade baked goods, decorative calendar, gourmet coffees or teas.
DIY Teacher Gifts
Make your own gifts for your teacher and dazzle her with your creative genius.
Lemon Tree Dwelling shares this great DIY gift idea: Colored Pencil Holder.
Nominate Them for an Award
The Golden Apple Award is an accolade that a teacher may receive. This particular award has been adopted by many towns, often sponsored by a local television or radio station. It was created to recognize teachers of excellence for their accomplishments. Find out if your city or township has one. If they do, nominate your teacher, if not consider creating an award of your own.