The struggle is very real. You want to show your child's teacher how much you appreciate their hard work and greatly underpaid year of molding your child's academic future. But how do you do that in a meaningful way that hasn't already been done 100 times before from all of their classes past?
While contemplating this very question for my own family, I asked my many teacher friends for their inside opinion on the do's & don'ts of the end-of-the-year teacher gift. Here is what they had to say:
#1 - NO MUGS! While this may seem like a great idea, they have a million of them. Just don't do it.
#2 - Skip the "Best Teacher Ever" and personalized gifts of that nature. While these types of gifts are special and appreciated, let's be honest, they only really stay special until the next round of kids come through and they end up getting the very same thing again. Each year's previous version either has to end up stored in a box or tossed away.
#3 - Candles and chocolates are also things they get in plenty, so again, while appreciated, you might want to stay away from those if you're looking for something that will stand out a bit more.
#5 - If you know a little something about your teacher and his/her activities & family, you might be able to do a more personalized (but yet useful) gift like a beach bag filled with towels to use with their family at the pool for summer fun.
#6 - Overwhelmingly, if you want to give a physical gift, gift cards are the way to go. Even though they are sometimes viewed as impersonal, every teacher said that they are ALWAYS appreciated and needed. You can choose to do stores that would help out in the classroom like Staples, Barnes & Noble, or the local parent/teacher store. Or, you can do something more for the teacher's home like Lowes, Target, a local greenhouse, or a favorite coffee shop. Some schools carry a list of their teachers' favorite stores & restaurants. If your school does not have one, ask your PTA/HSA to see if one could be organized. Or, you could also have your child ask his teacher her favorite places to go.
But the #1 thing they ALL said?
A NICE NOTE! (or 2)
Have your child hand write a special note to their teacher, whether if it is included with a gift or not. And if you want to take it one step more, send a letter to your school's principal about how much you appreciated your teacher that year.
Schools all too often hear about all the things they do wrong, and do not often enough hear about all the wonderful things they do RIGHT and how much they are truly appreciated by all us parents. That means more than anything after a long year of hard work!
Happy Summer Vacation!