Dec 9, 2019

My Best Teacher Gift Idea

If you have kids in school, then you're probably thinking about teacher gifts. My mom was a high school teacher, and I remember going through all of the treats she received on the last day of school before winter break. I know she was thankful for every gift for the thought behind it, and the appreciation her students and their families had for her. Not surprisingly, I'm a big believer in making sure teachers know they're appreciated.

When my kids were in elementary school and had only one primary teacher, I served as room parent and would collect $10 to $20 from each family who wanted to participate in a group gift before winter break. We'd end up with a class gift of $200 to $350, which the teachers loved. In fact, I had my ways of asking around, and cash was always the number one preferred gift. I get it - like my mom, they appreciated every gift for its thoughtfulness, but in terms of usefulness, nothing beats cash.

My Best Teacher Gift Idea

But now that my kids are in middle and high school, we're looking at seventeen individual gifts for their teachers and counselors this year. My best gift idea for them isn't cheap, in the aggregate. But I know from the thanks we get that it's much appreciated. It's a $10 Amazon gift card, which comes in a three-pack at Ralphs, so $30 per pack. I attach it with double stick tape to the inside of a small thank you card, write a brief note of thanks, sign the note on behalf of our family, and leave the sealed envelope in their mailbox in the main office.

I could have the kids write the note, but it's not a battle I feel like fighting. I also feel that writing the note in our family's name includes the other child who may have had the teacher in the past, and/or might have the teacher in the future.

My Best Teacher Gift Idea
I found these cute cards in Bullseye's Playground at Target!

I know this idea isn't feasible for every family, because it gets expensive. But the teachers definitely appreciate it. And since my kids' school is a Title I school, where a substantial portion of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-fee lunch, I figure the teachers don't get a lot of high-value gifts.

Of course, not every family can or wants to give cash to a teacher. Also of course, nothing beats a heartfelt note of appreciation. And there may be teachers who would prefer a homemade treat. But if you can, you might consider cash or a gift card unless you know a teacher's specific preference.

As a final thought, for the last few years, I've also been buying boxes of cookies for the various offices at school. I think sometimes that even if the teachers and principal get showered with gifts, the staff can be overlooked, especially if they're not in the main office. Our school has separate attendance and counseling offices, so I buy gifts for them as well.

How do you handle teacher gifts for your kids?

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