A great teacher can make a huge difference in your child's life. When I look at how much patience, persistence and imagination that a parent needs in an average day, then realize that teachers do that every day, for 20 or more kids- Wow!
I am so thankful for the amazing teachers that my kids have had this year, but also school support staff, coaches, tutors and music instructors. I try to show my appreciation for all of them, at least once a year.
I have a few friends who are teachers, assistants and speech pathologists, so I did a little survey to see what gifts they love the most.
Now I know any of these fine teachers are going to be happy with anything they receive from their students. I wanted ideas from the teacher's themselves, so that I could give them something useful and not clutter their home or classroom.
90% of the teachers I surveyed said they LOVED homemade cards, notes or gifts, from their students. Many of them said they still have these notes years later! How cool is that?!
Sometimes I forget as a parent that these teachers have spent hundreds of hours with our kids and have seen them change and grow in the last year. They get kind of attached to our kids too!
One surprising thing I heard from my survey, is that junior high and high school teachers are often forgotten when it comes to gifts or words of appreciation. Your high schooler may be too cool to take a homemade note to their teacher but bringing them a Starbucks coffee after lunch, or a gift card, is a great way to honour them.
In our school district, you can e-mail each teacher individually from the school website. A quick e-mail to tell your child's teacher how much they were appreciated, costs you nothing but time, and I believe, that's time well spent.
Don't forget the support staff at your child's school. This time of year is very busy for everyone at the school, so drop off some donuts or a fruit basket for the staff room. Last fall, I was able to get a few cases of coffee pods for very cheap. I found out that a lot of the staff in my kid's school, have Keurig machines in their classrooms, so I went and dropped off a couples cases of coffee.
Here's a list I put together from my friend's suggestions:
- for high school teachers, my friend Shauna suggested a journal with each child's picture and a note from them sharing of one of their favorite memories from the year.
- a summer relax kit - magazine, sunhat, plastic cup with straw, ice tea packets - some of these items can be purchased at the dollar store
- Gift cards were a popular idea from my survey. Most teachers are spending money out of their pockets to pick up supplies for the classroom & said gift cards to the dollar store would be great. Other suggestions are restaurant, bookstore, drugstore, spa/nail salon, garden centre or movie theatre gift cards.
- Tea cups or planters with a flower that your child has planted, don't forget to have your child sign the bottom so the teacher remembers who it's from
- Used books from a garage sale or second hand store, are also great to help your teacher replenish their classroom at year's end
- Homemade treats like cookies or cards were also really popular, and a great way for your child to be involved in the giving
My take away from this survey was that you don't need to spend a lot to say "thanks".
Teachers, coaches, and tutors actually love what they do everyday and to hear the impact they have had in your child's life - makes their year of hard work, just that much more rewarding.