The truth about teacher gifts is that all of them are appreciated but some of them are better loved than others.
When I taught at an inner-city school families would bring me homemade tamales, small figurines from the dollar store and fresh flowers from their yards. Sometimes the 8-year-old girls would come back from recess with bunches of Oxalis, a pretty yellow weed from the playground. These inexpensive gestures made me feel well loved.
When I taught at a school in an upper-class neighborhood families would bring me chocolate, homemade dinners and beautifully arranged photo albums with children’s letters. At Christmas and the school year’s end I would also receive over $200 worth of gift cards. Once again, I felt very well loved.
My point is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to say “Thank you,” but if you do, that’s nice too.
There are many ways to show appreciation, but here is a no-fail list:
- homegrown flowers
- notes of appreciation–consider sending a copy to the principal
- student artwork
- store-bought flowers
- gift cards
Notice I didn’t mention food.
Personally, I loved the candy, home cooked meals, and other baked goods I received from families. But that was me. Your child’s teacher might be on a special diet or have food allergies you don’t know about. It’s simpler to give her a gift card to Starbucks.
So what does my family give to teachers each year? We start saving early so that we can buy gift cards to Nordstrom’s. I owe my kids’ teachers a debt that can never be repaid.