By Megan Walsh, Schoola.com
I strongly believe that teachers have the most important job in the world. They play a crucial role in the early lives of our children, equipping them with essential skills and inspiration for a lifetime of learning. My daughter is only at the beginning of her schooling career but already I have witnessed amazing dedication, patience and personalized care from all of the teachers and staff at her school that are on site before dawn and on their feet all day for our kids. Not only does this tireless work bring a tear to my eye, but compels me to show my appreciation and support for teachers everywhere, given the challenges they face with school budget cuts and resource constraints. May 3rd is National Teacher Appreciation Day which gives me the perfect occasion to show my gratitude through a gift. But what gift would be worthy for the feats accomplished by our school superheros every day?
At Schoola we are lucky enough to work with teachers from over 22,000 schools nation-wide, so we asked them: what gift would they love to receive from their students? There were two common themes: usable value and a personalized touch. Classrooms can get cluttered quickly and we heard loud and clear that they couldn’t make space for useless objects. Respondents also said that the best gifts showcased some personalized knowledge of them as a person. So we put together a list of top gift ideas that don’t create clutter, and celebrate the uniqueness of every teacher, just like our teachers celebrate the uniqueness of each of their students.
Top 10 Gifts for Teachers
1. For the teacher with a green thumb, stop by your local nursery and pick out the perfect potted plant to brighten up any room. Kids can decorate the pot or stick in personalized messages. Because teachers are the best at helping things grow!
2. Teachers get up early! For the coffee lover, skip a clutter-making mug and go for a gift card to Peets or Starbucks. Or go with exotic coffee blends.
3. Teachers at our school are well-known around the neighborhood. You can acknowledge your local community by giving a gift card from a small business in your area. I’m sure your teacher has a favorite local joint where everyone knows their name.
4. Apples for teachers may be somewhat cliche, but they are perfectly simple and sweet. A basket of farm fresh fruits and veggies is always useful and appreciated. Have a garden? Gift the fruits of your labor with a handwritten note letting them know how much they’re appreciated.
5. Summers are the perfect time for exploring and travelling the world. For the jetset teacher, give a basket of goodies from their favorite exotic travels.
6. On their feet all day, and constantly answering questions… teachers deserve some pampering alone time! Whether that means a gift card for a night at the movies, or a massage or pedicure, gift them a way to unwind from the stresses of the day.
7. If your teacher has a furry friend, like ours does, consider gifting some goodies from a local pet store. Kids love picking out cute toys and treats for pets, and this gesture will show a little appreciation for teacher’s other pets.
8. One of the teachers at our school is famous for putting on music Fridays at lunch. I plan to gift her an iTunes gift card that can be used to freshen up her playlist. We may even take it up a notch by including a keepsake photo card from a particularly rowdy “dance party friday.”
9. Gifts for the classroom are somewhat controversial since they lack the personal and special touch of something just for teacher. However, about half the teachers we asked wanted items from their classroom supply wish list – the tough reality is that many teachers spend up to $600 of their own money on classroom items that the district budget cannot provide. We plan to buy out the remainder of the class Amazon wish list as an end-of-year gesture—all that’s left on the list at this point are books that the kids have requested, so we will present her with a stack of books and supplies that says “a gift from Kinder 2016 to the class of 2017” and I think it will warm her heart.
10. Give the ultimate gift by starting a fundraising drive. You can easily start a Schoola clothing drive and earn enough to fund a field trip, or a development day. Get started in as little as two weeks—there’s still time to book a drive.
May 3rd is right around the corner so don’t delay—grab one of these gifts or tell us about your best teacher gift in the comments below!
About Megan Walsh: Megan’s favorite school memory is discovering a peer counseling program that helped her become a leader in her toughest year of grade-school—when she grew 11 inches in 12 months, and changed schools as a 5’8” fifth-grader. Now she is a mom of two Bay Area babes, and spends the workweek helping other parents leverage Schoola to fund their school programs.