If you have a little one in school, you know what a big difference a good teacher can make. They help our children grow academically, socially, and emotionally, all while making sure they feel safe and happy for 6-10 hours a day.
But teaching is hard. Teachers spend countless hours both within the school day- and outside of it- doing the unseen work that helps our children thrive. Many teachers even spend their own money to keep their classrooms running and ask for nothing in return. Teachers do their jobs because they love them, not because they’re easy.
And that’s why it’s so important that we show our teachers how much we appreciate them. And while I believe that we should be building relationships with our teachers and showing them appreciation all year round, it’s especially important during Teacher Appreciation Week.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate your child’s teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week, this blog is for you. I polled over 200 teachers on Instagram to find out how they really want to be appreciated, and I’m going to share those ideas with you here. (hint: it’s not a coffee mug 😅)
The #1 Thing Teachers Want
When I asked the teachers who follow me on Instagram what their favorite gift to receive was, there was one answer that came up ten times more than anything else:
Handwritten thank-you notes with drawings from students, cards from parents, emails (bonus points if you CC their principal,) and even just thoughtful texts.- These were the gifts that meant the most to teachers by far.
And that’s because, above everything else, teachers just want to know that their work makes a difference and that you recognize and appreciate the amazing job they’re doing. They pour their hearts and souls into their job, and there is nothing better than hearing that what they do has made a positive impact in your child’s life. I quit teaching almost 5 years ago, and I still keep a whole bin of the thank-you notes and pictures I got from my first graders and their families. It cost nothing, but those words of affirmation mean the absolute world.
So if you’re stuck on what to do for your child’s teacher this year for Teacher Appreciation Week, I can promise you that you can’t go wrong with a handwritten note from you and your little one. Just like any gift that is thoughtful and meant specifically for them, a note is guaranteed to make them feel special.
If You’re Looking to Spend Some $$$
As a former teacher, I can tell you that how much you spend is less important than the thought that went into it. Buying a Starbucks gift-card or a silly mug may feel like a safe choice because… well, teachers like coffee, right? Well, as it turns out, what teachers like more than coffee is you taking the time to get to know them and think about a gift they may like. To give you some inspiration, I asked my Instagram followers what the best gift they ever received as a teacher was, and here are some of the ones I saw most often:
- A spa day to destress
- A gift card to one of their favorite stores or restaurants
- Donation to a charity that’s important to them
- Lunch from their favorite restaurant for them and their team
- Gift card for groceries
- Their Starbucks order in the morning
- Favorite books
- Supplies that they’re always running out of
- Framed artwork/ pictures from their class
- Personalized stationery like pens, notepads, and stamps
And two more that came up a lot…
- Wine (LOL)
- Cash (this one is a hit every time)
FREEBIE: Favorite Things Survey
Now, that’s quite the list: from hand-written thank you notes to cash and wine… it may be hard to know exactly what your child’s teacher wants this year. So I’ll say again: the thought that you put into this is more important than the money you spend. And there really is no “right” gift.
But as two former teachers ourselves, something my partner and I like to do every school year to make sure this is as easy as possible is to ask them to fill out a favorite things survey like this one:
After completing this quick survey, we have all of the information we need about how to thank each of his teachers for the amazing work they do with him every day. We also like to share the answers with the rest of the parents in the class so that every family can make the teacher feel appreciated all school year long. You can make your own version of the survey or get the digital version of this survey here. : )
If You Can, Give Time
Like I said before, you absolutely do not need to spend any money for Teacher Appreciation Week. If you want to celebrate your child’s teacher without buying something expensive, one of the best ways to do that is by giving them your time. Teachers have a million things to do, so giving them more time to get some of those things done (or just take a minute to themselves) will go a long way in showing them how thankful you are.
A few of the ways you can share your time with them are to:
- Cover their recess and/or lunch duty (so they can eat their lunch in peace)
- Chaperone a field trip
- Help with tasks around the classroom, like making copies or laminating
- Volunteering to help with class activities, like parties or field day
Giving your child’s teacher your time is a simple (and free) way to show them that you appreciate everything they do for your child.
And no matter what you decide to do for Teacher Appreciation Week, just remember: it’s not about the amount of money you spend on a gift, it’s about the thoughtfulness that’s put into it. Teachers do amazing things every day of the year, so don’t miss this opportunity to show them you appreciate everything they do before the school year ends.