No teacher goes into the teaching profession for the glory and the numerous, glamorous gifts. Teachers go into teaching because they love the profession! However, the end of the year is a nice time to say thank you to teachers.
Here are some ideas on gifts that your child's teacher will love:
Personalized stationary or note cards: If you're a pro with graphic design, try your hand at making personalized, colorful stationary for your child's teacher. Stationary or notes cards with your teacher's name or initials makes a great gift as teachers send notes all year long. The more colorful they are, the more they will stand out!
School supplies: Teachers are always in need of more school supplies. Make a gift basket with supplies that are in high demand (post-it notes in various sizes/colors, Sharpies, glue sticks, antibacterial wipes, etc.). If you are feeling ambitious, see if there is a bigger gift that is needed for the classroom, such as an electric pencil sharpener or a three-hole punch.
Movies: I think everyone loves to take in a good movie now and then. Put together a basket with movie popcorn and a gift certificate to the local theater.
Anything for a specific hobby: What does your teacher like to do in their free time? If they love to garden, put together a basket of gardening supplies. Are they crafty? Put together a basket of their favorite crafting items. If you aren't sure, don't hesitate to ask.
Gift cards: When in doubt, a gift card is always appreciated. Buy one for a local bookstore, coffee shop or teacher supply store.
To make the gift complete, include a hand-drawn or hand-written thank you from your child. Help your child think about some activities that made the school year memorable. Then, take the time to write down or draw a picture of these special memories for the thank you card.
Here are some teacher gifts to avoid:
Coffee mugs: Teachers have so many that they will never run out.
Scented lotions or bath soap: With so many allergies, this gift might be one to avoid. If you specifically know a scent that your teacher loves, then I would make an exception.
Homemade treats: Everyone loves a treat. However, teachers couldn't possibly eat all the treats that children bring to school. Also, many people have allergies and dietary restrictions.
Anything with an apple on it: After about the third year of teaching, there is no more storage room for apple ornaments, apple trinkets or apple pictures frames.
No matter how you choose to say thank you, it will be greatly appreciated.■
Tracy Christman is a psychologist with Milwaukee Public Schools and the mom of two boys.