A Little Schooling on Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Do you want to be the teacher’s pet? Or at least do everything you can to make your little Susie or Jimmy the teacher’s favorite?

I’m here today to help you do exactly that.

I’m not a teacher, but I’m related to a few and a friend to many. I’ve polled them all, from preschool to high school, and found a common refrain from the lot of them that I’d like to share with you about teacher appreciation gifts.

Don’t bring something with an apple on it. No matter how tempting and precious the item may be, under no circumstance should you bring something with an apple on it. Just say no to apples! Repeat it with me: No apples!

DSC_3619Don’t spend too much time on a sweet little Pinterest craft, especially since preschool and elementary teachers get their fill of crafts (plus not everyone appreciates them.) Nothing makes teachers feel worse than throwing away something they know someone spent precious time on but they have no use for. Think of when you throw out little Johnny’s fourth coloring sheet of the week. Sadness.

As much as you may think you really know a person, unless he or she sent you a link directly to that bracelet, don’t buy jewelry. And especially no jewelry with apples!

It’s okay to  just grab a gift card. Hands down, when I polled my teacher people, their favorite gift to receive was a gift card. Sonic, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, Central Market . . . you name it, they would love a gift card in any denomination. One of them said the very best gift card she ever received was for a pedicure. After wrangling little people all day every day for a year, that sounds like a perfect gift, doesn’t it? I promise your teacher will not think you are a slacker for sending a gift card. What he or she will think is that you really appreciate him or her, and in turn, appreciation will come your way. Also, bonus points to you if you organize some of the other parents in the class to go in on one BIG gift card to somewhere great.

Do send baked gifts from the bakery. Teachers (like everyone else) love to eat. Just make sure it’s pre-packaged from a reputable source. You may have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe on the block, but some people are just not in to eating food they don’t know the preparation conditions and/or ingredients. (There’s a don’t hiding there!) One of my favorite gifts to give is the individual bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. It’s $5, and if you call ahead, they’ll tie them with grosgrain ribbon in the color of your choice and attach a little flag that says something sweet . . . like “THANK YOU.” Easy, inexpensive, nice presentation. Done. (Side note: we showed up with these at meet-the-teacher day. I like to start these things early.)

Do pick an unexpected day to surprise your teacher on occasion. My teacher friends tell me that this type of ninja appreciation is THE VERY BEST of the BEST. When the bell rings or pick up time rolls around, showing up with a cherry limeade will go a long way toward making your teacher feel appreciated. What about swinging by with lunch from a favorite spot unexpectedly and rescuing her from the brown bag that day? Appreciation on just any old day goes a long way.

This is what my teacher peeps wish you knew but would never dare tell you. Regardless of what you bring, they really do appreciate the effort. They certainly didn’t go into education for the glamorous stuff they get out of it! I just know you want to show your teacher how much you enjoy the effort she gives all week in and out of the classroom.

Let’s help our teachers finish out this marathon of a school year strong down the stretch!

What are your best teacher gift ideas?

Emily G
Emily is married to Brad and mother of the handsome Jack and precious Annabelle. After more than a decade as a software engineer (two of those as a working mother), she cleaned out her cubicle and can be found most days at one of the beautiful parks Cowtown has to offer, without a WiFi hotspot in range. These days, Emily spends her time exploring our fair city with her babes in tow, volunteering at her church, cheering on the Fightin' Texas Aggies, and shopping her way through DFW at large. You'll find her journaling her daily life at Being Mrs. Gentry.


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