I won’t lie. Getting gifts from my dance students rocks.
I certainly never expect them. But as any teacher can tell you, working with kids does get difficult. Not because the kids themselves are difficult — not at all — but because you feel such an immense pressure to do the very best you can for them.
And occasionally you wonder if your best is inadequate.
It can be emotionally exhausting.
When they struggle, the teacher struggles. When they triumph, the teacher triumphs.
I feel such a strong connection to every one of my students. I truly see them as family, and I know the same goes for other teachers out there. Especially school teachers, who spend day in and day out with them.
So believe me when I way: Being given the privilege to work with your child — be it as a school instructor, sports coach, arts teacher or anything else — is gift enough.
That being said, showing your appreciation and support is always a great feeling for teachers. And if you feel inclined to do something, then here are a few ideas, which I’ve collected from fellow instructors and educators.
Gifts ideas for teachers
- Letters: This tops this list, every year, every time. There’s nothing better than hearing from a student or a student’s parent how you, as a teacher, have a made a difference. And in case you’re wondering, teachers do often keep these letters. I keep one drawing on my fridge from a younger student and one letter from a past student in a special box for safe keeping.
- Photos: These are especially great for coaches or extra curricular instructors, who often participate in fun, exciting events and moments with your kid. One dance teacher told me, “I love getting personal memories of something that was special throughout our season.” So next time you see Walgreens offering a sale on prints or those cheesy mugs with photos on them, consider grabbing one for a coach.
- Supplies: Teachers often pay for supplies to support your child’s learning environment. One teacher mentioned to me, “I love the food we get, but I want books, Expo markers, and nice blue pens!” The great part about this? These are easy gifts!
- Relevant gift cards: Think about what the teacher needs to be able to do the job. If it’s your kid’s yoga instructor, perhaps a gift card to Lululemon. If it’s a school teacher, maybe one to Staples or a nice clothing store. If you want to play it safe, everyone loves Target!
- Coffee: Yes, teachers love getting spoiled with coffee gift cards. They love being spoiled by most beverages and popular food locations, so if you have a favorite local spot, considering treating a teacher.
- Consistent words of support, encouragement: Again, it doesn’t take much to make a teacher’s day, folks. “It’s so easy to get discouraged in this usually thankless job, and when you have a student (or) parent recognizing your hard work, it does wonders for your mentality,” one teacher told me.
Pro tip for parents who want to go all out
One of the coolest tips I’ve ever heard came from a former teacher turned entrepreneur who said she once assembled an Amazon wish list filled with items requested by the teachers. The list was then forwarded to all parents in the grade, who could then purchase an item off the list and send it directly to the school. Talk about efficiency!