How To Say “Thank You Teacher” In A Totally Unexpected Way.

Thank-a-teacher. Blog title post, How-to-say-thank-you-teacher in a totally unexpected way.  Smiling teacher holding up a back-to-school note of encouragement

If you want to say “Thank You, Teacher!” in a totally surprising and unexpected way, then keep reading. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, I don't have any school-aged children – so this isn't for me.” WRONG! You don't have to have children at all! All you have to do is know someone who is a teacher! If you don't, ask around until you find someone who knows one. It shouldn't be hard! We're everywhere!

Thank a Teacher

Let me set the stage for you.

Last summer, a package from Walmart arrived in the mail, addressed to me. When I picked it up, it shifted, and it sounded like there might be a jigsaw puzzle inside.

I was baffled. Had I ordered anything from Walmart? I mean…it's possible. But I couldn't for the life of me remember for sure.

I took it down the hall to my husband and said, “Did YOU order anything from Walmart?” He said no. I said, “Did I order anything from Walmart and forgot?” He said that was extremely possible.

Then, instead of acting like normal people and just opening it, we kept shaking it and guessing what it could be.

Finally, we gave up and opened it. What was inside was an extra-large, beautiful box of crayons!

Now, as a kindergarten teacher, my heart skipped about 10 beats, and I started jumping up and down and clapping! However, I knew for a fact I had NOT ordered this…But I loved it!

Which left us with the mystery of … WHO SENT THIS TO ME???

teacher-thank-you surprised teacher holding a classroom set of crayons

It turns out that a friend of mine from college, whom I hadn't seen in years and years, decided to send them to me. Had I ever taught any of her kids? No. Had we ever had a conversation about anything teacher-related? Not to my knowledge. Did she just decide that she wanted to thank a teacher and surprise them?

Ummm…..YEP! And it made my MONTH!

thank-you-teachers A snapshot of a text exchange from a teacher thanking her friend for the teacher-supplies surprise

Teacher Thank you

Let's talk for a moment about that glorious box of crayons. My kids LOVED it. They would pretend the angels were singing every time I opened it up. And…every single time I saw them using those crayons, my heart lit up because I remembered the feeling of that surprise that came in the mail.

If you are reading this, and you hear a little voice inside you saying, “Hmmmm…I know a teacher who would also flip out if they received a large box of crayons in the mail…”

Stop whatever you are doing – go online to Amazon, Target, Walmart, or wherever and fill up that cart and mail away!

I PROMISE you, sending a “just because – teacher thank you” gift to some unsuspecting educator will do their heart SO MUCH GOOD.

If you haven't heard, teachers aren't paid a whole heck of a lot, though, I don't know a teacher who got into teaching for the money. We get a raise – then insurance goes up, and the raise is non-existent on our checks. Every year, we spend a chunk of that paycheck on our kids, supplies, and things for our classrooms. That has always been par for the course, but it has ‘smarted' more lately. Why?

Because, if you also haven't heard, there has been some pretty negative stuff out there about teachers, and it doesn't feel good. To love your job, not get paid a lot, then also get negative chatter thrown about…it somehow makes us focus on the lack of a paycheck more.

That is until…

An unmarked and unexpected package shows up with a note that says, “I SEE YOU. YOU ARE DOING GOOD THINGS. THANK YOU. KEEP GOING.”

thank-you-teachers back-to-school note from a surprise box of teacher-supplies wishing a great school-year ahead


A year passed.

We receive boxes on the daily – as I'm betting most of you can relate to. Our dogs don't even bark now when Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc. come up our walk. They do the ‘oh wow – it's you again' nod, then go back to sleep.

In July, a large box arrived. I stared at it. No recollection of what it could be.

I opened it up. And I received a gift that kept on giving, and giving, and giving…

My friend managed to take me by surprise, AGAIN totally. This time, she really outdid herself.

thank-a-teacher a text exchange from a teacher thanking a friend who sent teacher-supplies for back-to-school

Teacher supplies. And Supplies. And Supplies.

What was inside this box just kept going, and going, and going…I couldn't believe it. I posted it on Instagram, and it got lots and lots of views. My hope is that it spread like wildfire and that the idea caught on and SO MANY OTHERS surprised a teacher friend.

teacher-supplies comments from an IG post from other teachers and friends saying they'd like to do the same thing for other teachers

Here is the Reel I posted on Instagram @kacibollskids

Thank you teacher note from Parents

You may be thinking to yourself, that's AWESOME. But I'm already spending a TON on my own kid's school supplies. I hear you!!

Can I share with you something that a teacher would love? An unexpected “thank you teacher” note from parents. (We also LOVE notes from students – and drawings – and mulch pieces – and – leaves! When you are teaching kindergarten, there is no shortage of love like this!)

Teacher Appreciation Week is wonderful. I don't know any teacher who doesn't love it! I mean, do you enjoy your birthday? Your anniversary? When your husband gives you flowers on one of those days – it's the best feeling!

But, on a random day when my husband does something sweet and unexpected, like buy me an Edley's BBQ ballcap to replace the one that one of our dogs chewed up…THAT gets me.

I'm not dismissing the big days and big moments. But the unexpected ones – those do something a little different. They say, “I'm thinking of you – I see you – I appreciate you, even when it's a random Tuesday in August.”

So, are you short on funds to surprise a teacher with teacher stuff they love? Write a note. It seems little – it feels BIG.

Teacher Gift Ideas

Ok, so if that video didn't play for you, and you don't want to head to Instagram and locate the reel, I want to share with you what was in that BIG box this July. Maybe it will give you an idea of some of the teacher supplies and teacher stuff we love

  • Classroom set of crayons
  • Post-it notes (different sizes and colors)
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Fun stickers
  • Erasers
  • Extra Strength Tylenol (because… ya need it)
  • Gift card to Walmart (or Target or Amazon)

Half of the fun of getting this box was reaching in and seeing what surprise would come out next!

Ask Your Teacher If They Have An Amazon Wish-List

For the past couple of years, I've kept a wish list on Amazon for my parents. I'm unsure when this started, but almost every teacher I know has one. We tend to put things on this list that aren't used every day, like a beautiful hard-cover read-aloud, magnetic tiles for indoor recess, a neck fan for anything outdoors, etc.

Every once in a while, one of those items will pop up and come through my door, and it's always a little bit of a boost! An unexpected “I see you! Thank you!”

When You Are Out and About – Check the Dollar Bins!

I have a new parent this year who has done the sweetest thing. When she is running errands, she sends a text via our communication app and says, “I'm going to pick up a pack of Clorox wipes for you; anything else you can think of?” Or, “I'm at the dollar bin at Target, grabbing some treasure box refills; anything else you can think of?”

I'm telling you, it means a LOT.

Thank you Teachers

If you've ever said, “Teachers have it made – they get summers off,” or “It's only kindergarten – they just play all day,” or anything remotely similar, let me share with you another perspective.

My mom was a teacher. She taught K-5 music and put on some of the most amazing music programs ever. After that, she taught 3rd and 4th grade. I never, ever understood how hard it was, nor did I ever fully appreciate how much of herself she gave to those kids and to that school.

I didn't start my own teaching journey until I was 40. When I was getting my master's, I called her MANY times and said, “I HAD NO IDEA.” She just laughed. My first year teaching, getting my classroom ready, trying to figure out ALL the things…I would cry to the teachers across the hall from exhaustion and sheer defeat some days…they would lift me back up and say, “We ALL have felt like this – teaching is HARD.”

So, may I encourage you, if you are reading this and have ever uttered any negative word towards teachers without FULLY understanding what teachers do, please take a pause. We are counselors, nurses, secretaries, managers, advocates, messengers, crisis controllers, and after those things are taken care of…we get to teach.

We NEED teachers. Please consider lifting up the people who consider this profession. When you do, it works wonders.

And…thank you, Joyce Leppert Turner, for a surprise box of crayons and for a box of teacher supplies. Thank you for being an example of how a surprisingly simple act can ENCOURAGE, UPLIFT, and be an inspiration for others to THANK A TEACHER.

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