When teacher appreciation week rolls around every May, it is the pick-me-up that most every teacher is craving – whether they realize it or not! Teaching is often called “a work of heart” or “heart work”, and until I became a teacher myself I didn’t fully understand what that meant. I have yet to meet a teacher who leaves the building at 3:15 and actually leaves all of their ‘work’ there. Although they may leave a stack of papers to grade, or a desk that looks like a cyclone hit it – their heart is constantly FULL of care and concern – for all of the hearts they are caring for. It is not a M-F 9 to 5 job that you can clock in and out of…and the idea that teachers have leisurely summers off…is a myth!
Quick question: Are you about to be the parent of a kindergartener?
Do you have a soon-to-be kindergartener? Do you teach kindergarten or do you know someone who does? If so, you have got to check out my FREE DOWNLOAD, 10 Things Your Kindergarten Teacher Really Wants You To Know Before They Go. “I laughed through the entire thing – and shouted ‘YES!’ in agreement! I want to make this a MUST READ for all of my incoming parents!” – Kindergarten Teacher
What is Teacher Appreciation?
Look at the definition of what it means to have “appreciation”:
/əˌprēSHēˈāSHən/ : recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
And now, look at synonyms for “appreciation”
Synonyms: Valuing. Respect. Prizing. Cherishing. Treasuring. Regard. High Esteem.
You Know You're a Teacher If…
It’s interesting to think of saying, “I value you, teacher” – or “I respect you, teacher”. Here are some facts about teaching that you don’t REALLY understand until you teach.
- You do not make a lot of money. This is REALLY hard if you are single, or a single-income family.
- You spend a lot of your own money even if you have great parent and school support.
- You are a kid wrangler, a judge for what I call “kid court”, a mediator, a counselor, a nurse, a dentist (pulling teeth is my party trick! 😉 Likewise, you a comedian, a cheerleader, a friend, and then when you get all of that under control for a minute – you get to teach.
- You spend your summer planning, doing professional development that is often required, and working other jobs, often just to support your teaching habit.
- You do NOT get a full summer off. Period.
Encouraging Words Go A Long, Long Way
SO, when teachers hear things from parents like, “I value you and what you are doing for my child” – it puts gas in our teacher tanks. When we hear, “I recognize how hard you are working to grow my child in so many ways, and our family holds you in high esteem.” MIC. DROP.
Taking all of that into consideration, what can you do for teacher appreciation week that will be EASY for you – but still show a LOT of love to your teacher? Let’s face it – YOU have a LOT going on too! Here are some examples of things I’ve been lucky enough to receive over my years of teaching kindergarten – maybe they can spark a new idea for you or let you know you are on the right path!
How Can I Say “Thank You” To My Teacher?
Teacher Gifts You Can Make
- First, there is nothing quite like a hand-written note from a child or parent – especially when it says something so fun like, “You Rok Miy Hort”. Also equally as awesome, is a parent with a flair for the creative getting involved and helping bring a child’s thoughts to life! Ask your child to describe their teacher, what their favorite part of the year has been, a funny memory they have, or something similar – and then challenge them to create, write, or draw something that will make their teacher smile from ear to ear! (Spoiler alert – WE WILL! I have SO many special notes/pictures saved that I have big dreams of putting in large keepsake books. Never underestimate how much teachers appreciate this gesture for teacher appreciation week!) Also, I’m known as my married name, “Mrs. Scott” at my current school. I didn’t steal someone else’s notes!
“All-About Your Teacher” Book
2. Now consider taking it one step further than a teacher appreciation card or note – how about a booklet? This was one of my favorite things EVER. I was fortunate enough to spend an entire year as an “aspiring teacher” for my student teaching. I split my time between a kindergarten and a 2nd-grade class and fell in LOVE with those kids. The 2nd graders each wrote a special note to me – and it is one of my most cherished possessions.
If your child’s class has a room mom, it’s super easy to have each parent print out a template OR use blank paper, and either come up with a prompt for each child like, “I love my teacher because_____” OR just have them each draw a portrait of their teacher! Assemble them all and hole-punch the pages into a book and tie them with yarn – TA-DAH! Old school awesome! IF you wanted to get fancy – bind together, have Kinkos spiral bind it together, or heck, staple it! Your teacher will love it. (I mean…that portrait of me on the front is CLASSIC!!) You could do the same thing with just your child!
Sweet and Easy Teacher Gifts
3. No big surprise here, but I will never be an upset recipient of some gorgeous flowers! It’s especially sweet when they’ve really tried to pay attention to what flowers I love the most. You see, I have a thing for “fat flowers!” Peonies, hydrangeas, and garden-grown bunches make me swoon. Your teacher may have a ‘favorites’ list on file with PTO or by a room parent, or your child may even know!
4. Also a winner, find out what your teacher’s favorite drink or snack is and deliver it mid-day as a surprise! I have a slight addiction to Sonic. Whenever a Route 44 diet lime-aide shows up…I might spontaneously burst into a happy dance, tears, or both! During the pandemic when all things were virtual, I received the most WONDERFUL box of sweets!
I just received a text from a parent with a link to our local coffee shop’s menu. It said, “Pick your drink and breakfast – you will have a delivery waiting on you tomorrow morning!” She said to be sure to ask my student teacher too – SO thoughtful! One year I had a parent who sent in a box of my favorite Kind bars every few weeks – along with a sticky note that read, “You are my favorite KIND of teacher”. Find out what your teacher likes for teacher appreciation week – ask your child!
Sentimental Teacher Gifts
5. Anything that somehow captures the year’s class members and is a keepsake! This particular year that is pictured, each child put their thumbprint on the tree like an apple, and then put their name beside it. I LOVE it. Similarly, a framed picture of the class with their names signed around the mat or on the back is also a favorite.
6. I have always loved receiving a special canvas, print, wooden sign, or even this PRECIOUS crosspoint! The “Ms. Bolls” signs have traveled with me as I moved schools and even got married. I will ALWAYS keep them as they are so special to me! Be sure you have your child’s name somewhere on the back with the school year and grade. Teacher appreciation from parents is one of the highest compliments we as teachers receive. Trust me when I say I always love and proudly display these gifts.
Creative and Crafty Teacher Gifts
7. T-shirts, socks, and tumblers – OH MY! This t-shirt was the sweetest – and these socks crack me up! (Crazy sock day anyone?) This tumbler says “Mrs. Scott – Mrs. Scote – Mrs. Scoot”…inside joke about the mispronunciations of my name – and I love it! Think about your teacher – are they quirky? Do they have a favorite sports team or color? Find out and you won’t run out of ideas to perk up their day! For personalized items – I say check out Etsy! Something not pictured that I always love are personalized notepads and stationery. The ideas are endless!
Appreciation Gifts No Teacher Can Resist
8. Got a crafty kid? CRAFT AWAY! Got a creative lego lover? LEGO TIME! Got a creative thinker? CREATE! The day I was gifted this little Lego Mrs. Scott was a happy day indeed! The boy that made this for me was obsessed with Legos – his love language! This little lady has sat perched on my shelf ever since and has inspired a new version every year! A future architect made this pencil box – and I cherish it! The list of 10 things is hilarious and personal and a keeper for sure. Think about what your child loves – and ask them what their idea of a perfect gift for their teacher would be. I think of these kiddos every day I look at these – and smile BIG.
9. These earrings are MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE! This is NOT an ad…but I am telling you – GO NOW to www.gabyandgrace.com. These earrings are not only beautifully crafted, but they are LIGHT-WEIGHT. Like…..REALLY light-weight! They are a small business and I am just in love with them! CHECK. THEM. OUT. (Tell them I sent ya!)
A Teacher Appreciation Week To Remember
10. Lastly…TAKE YOUR TEACHER AROUND THE WORLD! Ok…this one blew me away. This would definitely take some planning and the participation of a whole class – but I can tell you your teacher will be gobsmacked and stay jaw-dropped with awe and wonder!
For the 5 days of teacher appreciation week, I was greeted by items representing a different country – and each card that accompanied the days made me cry! The little silver fortune cookie is now by my bedside table and makes me smile every morning I wake up. The cup and saucer are now my special “ice-cream eating” cup at home. The french bread is no longer with us…but was delicious! The pinata was filled with notes from my kids….and now sits on top of my large cabinet in my classroom. As you can see the final day prepared me for any beach of my choosing! The kids brought in the care packages each day and I think had as much fun as I did. It would be a decision to organize and put together – but your teacher will NEVER forget it!
Hopefully, you have MORE than enough ideas to show your teacher how much you appreciate them! These ideas are super for this special week, but also for birthdays, Christmas, or any other reason you just want to send your teacher an out-of-the-blue smile! Also important to note: No teacher will EVER turn down a gift card to Amazon, Target, or Hobby Lobby!
As a kindergarten teacher, when I am given a leaf on the playground – I wear it in my hair. When I am made a necklace from paperclips and pony beads – I wear it. I have a bracelet that says “Mrs. Scott” that was made for me during virtual school – I have it on EVERY SINGLE DAY. Trust me when I say to you…teachers do not do what they do for money, glory, or recognition. BUT – to feel appreciated is to feel SEEN. Seen by the people who are our WHY is the very thing that keeps us going.
Finally, I would LOVE to know your favorite gifts that you’ve either given or received – share in the comments so we can all be inspired!
Before You Go…
One more quick question, do you have a soon-to-be kindergartener, teach kindergarten, or do you know someone who does? If so – you have got to check out my FREE DOWNLOAD, 10 Things Your Kindergarten Teacher Really Wants You To Know Before They Go. “I laughed through the entire thing – and shouted ‘YES!’ in agreement! I want to make this a MUST READ for all of my incoming parents!” – Kindergarten Teacher
P.S. Jusssst in case you didn't know – I had a career mash-up of epic proportions I'd love to share with ya! Singer/Songwriter + Kindergarten Teacher = MUSIC FOR KIDS! (and their parents, teachers, etc!) I'd be honored if you'd take a hot second and go check some of my tunes out! We even had a #1 on Sirius XM Kids Place Live with “Dare To Be Me”! Pretty darn cool if ya ask me!