Favorite Teacher Gifts to Give…and to Avoid

Posted on Posted in For Her, For Him, Teachers

What was your second grade teacher’s name?  Which teacher made you work the hardest, but taught you the most?*

Got’em?  Great!  Now thank them!

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, is dedicated to recognizing all that our teachers do to make a difference. Once upon a time they may have taught us reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, but nowadays, a teacher’s job description includes technology literacy, first responder status, common core expert and too many other things to count. In some districts, teachers are even being placed in the position of asking if their students have come to school with full bellies and clean clothes. (If you haven’t seen this video, make sure you get a tissue before you hit play.)

All these responsibilities, yet the average annual salary in the U.S. for public elementary ($56,320), middle ($56,630) and high school teachers ($58,260) is less than the average hedge fund manager makes—in just SIX DAYS*!   Sigh. (How I wish people were paid for their positive contributions to society!)

So please, please, please thank a teacher for all they do!  They are not only shaping our children, they are shaping our future.  Remember, there’s no statute of limitations on thank you notes, so feel free to thank a teacher that made a difference when YOU were a child.

If you’re looking for teacher gifts that will move you to the head of the class (sorry, I couldn’t resist), here are some ideas:

  • Have your child write a note explaining what they like best about the teacher or favorite memories. It doesn’t have to be an entire essay, just a heartfelt sentiment.
  • Surprise a teacher by decorating their door with a fun poster. Bonus points if you can have the students put their personal stamp on it.

teacher collage

  • Send your child to school with a flower from your garden…or even the grocery store. If you want to organize a class activity, provide a large vase for the classroom and ask each child to bring in a flower.  The teacher will end up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
  • Give a gift card to the teacher’s favorite coffee or lunch spot or a store that represents her interests (REI for the outdoorsy teacher; Paper Source for the crafty teacher…). How much to give is up to you, but the reality is that many teachers pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, so this is a great occasion to be generous.  🙂
  • With summer right around the corner, a pedicure is always a lovely treat. Package with a pair of flip flops or bottle of nail polish for a fun presentation.
  • Organize a classroom “thank you toast”-provide a cup of sparkling cider for the students, and then ask them to stand up individually and thank the teacher for something specific. Capture the special celebration on video so the teacher can relive the moment again and again!

Having spoken to many teachers about this, I feel it’s also my duty to mention TEACHER GIFTS TO AVOID:  forget the apple-themed items (overdone), pass on the “Best Teacher” trinkets (they have lots of these already) and skip items you want to regift (if it’s truly a great gift AND consistent with the teacher’s taste, go for it. If, on the other hand, it’s a wacky item that your friend could instantly tell you are regifting…so will the teacher.)

THANK YOU to the 3.7 MILLION teachers in America (and the countless ones around the world!) who are making a difference each and every day.  You have one of the toughest, yet most impactful, jobs in the world and we are tremendously grateful for all you do!

-Thank you to my second grade teacher, Ms. Diane Warga who believed that girls could do anything. Thank you as well to Ms. Marion Bohen who taught me literature, Latin and the importance of doing my best each and every time.

-Assumes the average pay, including base salary and bonus, for a portfolio manager at a large hedge fund with performance near the industry average, earned around $2.4 million in 2014, an 8 percent on-year increase, according to the 2015 Glocap Hedge Fund Compensation Report.


thank a teacher

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