I imagine every school teacher in America has a dark room in her home filled floor-to-ceiling with "#1 Teacher" mugs, tzotchkes, and smelly bath and body lotions.
Personally, I love to give my kids' favorite teachers gifts that acknowledge they have a life outside the classroom. Happy personal lives can lead to happier work lives—just like with any profession. And while it's important to let teacher know she's #1, I like to tell her this face to face and then give her a small gift that says, "Now go have a little fun..."
Here are some meaningful ideas for end-of-school-year teacher gifts that won't end up in that dark dreaded room.
Consider these gifts for teacher (they're nice, useful, AND eco-friendly gifts too!):
- A gift card to Target or Walmart—What teacher can't find something good or useful at these stores?
- A gift card to a nearby coffee shop or bakery—Teachers' mornings are hurried too; nothing nicer than being able to run in and grab a quick coffee, baked good, or warm breakfast sandwich on one of these hectic mornings before school—make sure to pick a spot close to the school!
- A gift card to a bookstore—We love a teacher who loves to read.
- Movie passes—In many cases, your child's teacher has a couple months off to enjoy a summer movie.
- Handmade card from your child—Let your child make his or her teacher a card that tells Mr. or Ms. Teacher how your child feels about them.
- Teacher's favorites—If you know your child's teacher has a favorite coffee, tea, cookie, or other consumable item, then by all means, bring some as a gift. Your "best guess" gifts don't always make good ones, however. And don't go crazy buying her tons of paraphernalia with her favorite sports team logo. One can only have so much of this stuff.
See a theme here?
Remember, the gift doesn't have to be expensive—even a $3-$5 gift card well spent is better than a $3-$5 mug that goes at the top of a pyramid of 50 other mugs in a dark room in your favorite teacher's home (and later a landfill).
It's also a great idea to contribute with other parents to a gift certificate of a nicer amount. Then your teacher might be able to even enjoy a nice meal out in a restaurant or buy something more meaningful.
What creative teacher gift ideas have you come up with that won't end of in your teacher's dark and hidden room full of knick knacks?