The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to start thinking about what mementoes and tokens you want to give to your teacher.
But let’s be real: you don’t want to spend a fortune or give something the teacher won’t appreciate.
Which is why I’m here. These are my
Best End of the Year Gifts for Teachers
Teachers have spent hundreds of dollars on your child’s class this year. Think of all the crafts that came home, the fun experiments that happened, or the special events that made this year special. Goodness, even the posters on the walls!
I would bet that your teacher spent out-of-pocket on at least part, or all, of those things.
Now is a great time to pay it forward, and help next year’s students. Grab a gift card to office or teacher supply stores, Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Art stores, like Micheal’s, are great, too. All that construction paper costs money!
Or you could help your teacher pre-caffeinate with a thoughtful gift card to a coffee shop. We all know that working magic on a daily basis with young kids is draining, so give the gift of coffee or tea!
2. Actual Caffeine
Other than getting a gift card for coffee (or tea), getting a bag or box of actual caffeinated beverages is ideal. This one needs a little recon from your child (or you could just ask, I guess. Find out your teacher’s preferred morning or afternoon drink. Popular choices for me are: decaf coffee, non-dairy cocoa, and ginger tea.
Then, go grab it from the store! No need to add a mug, unless it is really awesome or keep liquids hot/cold for many hours. Teachers get mugs and cups regularly, and the teachers’ lounge is almost guaranteed to have a stash of coffee cups, too.
Pop it into a box or bag with a heartfelt Thank You note.
3. Photo gifts
Teachers have loved your children all year long, and one great way to honor that commitment is with pictures.
But this one runs into a snag: if all the students a teacher taught over the years gave her photos, she would need a filing cabinet just to store them!
My class last year came up with a genius solution: photo gifts of the whole class! They created a whole class running picture using our school photos and framed it. And they also had a class photo mug made. Yes, this is my ONE exception to coffee mug gifts, other than for first year teachers.
Other cool ideas are:
- framed and signed class photo
- magnet of the class photo
- purchase the school yearbook, and have everyone sign it
- pen with your child’s picture on it
Chances are, you received at least one note home from a teacher this year. And I bet it wasn’t just scribbled on a Post-It note either.
While teachers do collect paper and memo pads over time, sometimes it is nice to have a special place for notes.
At this point, even plain note cards or professional looking note pads would be great! Something other than paper blasted with company logos or advertising.
5. Flowers and Plants
But only if you KNOW she likes them! And if you are sure there is a vase/place to put them. Try to find flowers that don’t drop pollen everywhere, or something unique. One student brought me cabbage roses once, and they were amazing!
For plants, find something that is hardy and easy to care for. Succulents or low water plants are perfect, since they don’t require too much thought to keep alive.
6. Your Help
Your child will shortly be leaving this class, but your help at the end would be amazing! Every year, teachers need to pull everything down from the walls, sort through their reams of lesson plans and materials, and box everything up for summer storage. Or sift through it all, deciding what to pull for summer school and what to store.
Just show up.
Well, schedule a time to show up. Teachers sometimes get thrown by surprises, even good ones!
Offer to do a read aloud, an experiment, a guest lesson, an activity, supervise an outdoor adventure on the playground, whatever. This lets the teacher take care of that sorting, filing, and packing.
Or you can pull things off the walls. Organize and catalog the classroom library. Write down the supplies leftover from this year, noting what you think needs restocking (and then organize other parents to help with building up those materials). Bring a color coding system or a label maker or an extra three hole punch. Help kids clean out cubbies, desks, and lockers.
You could even just be an extra adult in the room for the teacher. Kids at the end of the year are crazy. No lie.
Things to avoid
On Pinterest you are sure to spot a whole bunch of cute end of the year gifts. There are many homemade treats, super time consuming crafts, or cutie teacher specific things. And they are nice.
Well, except for the homemade food things. Avoid these. Some teachers have allergies, dietary restrictions, or food preferences/aversions. And teachers have probably never seen inside your personal kitchen. It’s not personal, it’s just the fear of the unknown, of stray dog or cat or human hair, of unwashed hands or sniffles and coughs, of cross contamination with an allergen. Unless your teacher trusts you/your family, your homemade treat might end up in the trash.
Also, avoid anything that is very cutesy. Not all teachers love apples on everything. Not all teachers love things with “teacher” logos and mantras sprinkled everywhere. Not all teachers love flowers, or kittens, or horses, or puppies, or motivational sayings. Unless you are sure, skip it. And don’t assume that the presence of these items in her classroom means she likes them. It might just mean that another student of years past purchased it for her.
If nothing else, teachers love a heartfelt card or picture from your child.
So tell me, what do YOU do for your teachers at the end of the school year?