A+ Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week


“A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.”–Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Many of our children spend more waking hours a day in the presence of their teachers than their parents. That’s a staggering reality and emphasizes the role of teachers in raising our collective children.

Many teachers remain underpaid and unappreciated despite their importance to the future of the free world!

Teacher Appreciation Week 2023 runs from May 8 until May 12. I surveyed my teacher friends, my mom friends who gift well, and the world wide web for a host of teacher appreciation ideas.

I hope they help you celebrate the teachers in your world.

School-Wide Celebrations

Some schools and parent-teacher organizations plan for Teacher Appreciation far in advance. Each day features a specific theme. One school my children attended offered a teacher car wash, breakfast items in the library each morning, lunch from their “favorite” takeout provided by their specific class, and finally, a gourmet group lunch to round out the week.

It was an all-hands-on-deck kind of week for the Parent Service Organization, which left the teachers feeling loved and appreciated.

Classroom Gifts

Some schools impose guidelines for Teacher Appreciation, while others encourage over-the-top celebrations of their most valuable resource. Classroom gifts reduce the opportunity for teachers to feel left out or underappreciated. They also protect those students who are unable to provide the teacher with a gift from feeling embarrassed or left out. The school staff or room moms collect funds, gift cards, or other items on behalf of the entire class.

Some budget-friendly ideas: a single flower stem from each student to combine into a large bouquet, a handwritten note placed into a book for the teacher, or a flower pot or pillowcase with the name and thumbprint of each student.

When budget is less of a consideration: gift baskets with items like coffee, favorite beverages, new pens, candles, gift cards, etc. Whatever is chosen, the class then presents the gift to the teacher in coordination with the rest of the classrooms in the school.

Individual Gifts

When I surveyed my teacher friends, I asked for blatant honesty. What gifts do you love best and least? Of course, they all said, “I appreciate any gifts from my students.”

But…many of my teacher friends followed up with, “No more mugs!” Imagine teaching classes of twenty to thirty students a year for ten years and receiving five or more mugs a year. That’s a lot of mugs.

Take the time to learn the teacher’s favorites: stores, foods, authors, colors, etc… Share that information with the rest of the parents in the class, if applicable. Use that knowledge to personalize your gift-giving.

Now for what they love.

Almost every teacher I spoke with said their favorite gift is a handwritten, heartfelt note from the student (or parent).

Many of us dread the idea of cooking dinner after a long day, and teachers are no exception. Gift cards to their favorite restaurant, meal delivery service, or grocery store make meal planning and preparation easier or unnecessary. If you are an amateur (or professional chef), a home-cooked meal delivered at the end of the day can turn a teacher’s day around. Check on any food allergies beforehand, just to be sure.

With summer just around the corner, a new plant for your teacher’s home or a beach towel, summer book, and new sunscreen make for a thoughtful gift. If your teacher is more outdoorsy, a picnic basket or annual pass to Fort Pickens might bring a smile to their face. If your teacher likes to shop, take up a collection from the class and purchase a gift card to her favorite home or clothing store.

Whatever you do, make it personal, include their name, and have the students sign a card. It is not the dollar amount of the gift but the thought and intention behind it that makes the difference.

Like the rest of us, teachers want to feel seen and appreciated. We trust them with our most valuable possession, our children.

Let’s make sure they feel our gratitude for the love and support they show our children.




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