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Teaching is one of the most beloved professions, for very good reasons. We remember some of our youthful school experiences with our favorite teachers. Some may have been challenging, embarrassing, and even painful. Hopefully, we also recall moments when we had that "ah-ha I get it" moment and the "I do have a talent for that" thought, or perhaps "school is fun" joy. These great moments, helping to create the adult and perhaps the parent we are, are thanks to gifted and dedicated teachers.
While no professional seemingly do their expert work with the aspiration of receiving gifts, most of us appreciate the messages and expression of such. Teachers don’t expect holiday gifts. The holiday season should not signal any more important expressions of gratitude toward those who help us year-round. However, let's be honest, it does. We stop ourselves, pausing to think of those that have offered especially meaningful efforts on our behalf. Your children's teachers are probably on that list.
This article seeks to guide your selection of teacher gifts. Some of the tips may fit your current situation or can be adopted by the teacher you have in mind. Always recall that our teachers have earned a yearful of thanks and gratitude, so at this time of year don't consider going over your time or financial budget; better to express yourself often and offer a token now.
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Elementary School Teachers
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This article focuses on gift shopping lists for elementary school teachers. As you know, they typically spend the bulk of the school day in the same classroom of students, especially the kindergarten teacher. That's when our children tend to want to bring in gifts and when the teachers seem prepared with hugs and appreciation. Ideas are offered for when you have one teacher in mind, or perhaps several teachers in the school, along with staff members.
Basic Teacher Gift-Giving Tips
Making the gift special
Every teacher is special, from their personality to years of teaching. Your child may be able to tell you some of their fun facts, such as hobbies or perhaps family size. Here is a hint: look for an introductory letter the teacher may have written at the start of the school year. The room parent can be a good guide and you may learn about organizing Christmas gifts for teachers that you can join.
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Be sure to check with your school, asking for rules or guidelines to follow when gifting the staff. Perhaps the leadership does not want monetary gifts to be exchanged, including amazon gift cards, for example. Perhaps the leadership is asking those wishing to honor the staff to provide a group donation that will be divided up among the relevant personnel. They may have more ideas to share, even a list of teacher-suggested wishes.
Some of the best gifts are the simplest. No matter what you choose, make sure it shows how much you appreciate what your teacher has done for you this year! That's a gift from the heart and sure to create the feelings you wish to convey.
A must, alone or with an item
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Handwritten cards are the one item that makes a perfect gift. Your child can participate in writing the words, signing their name, or at least decorating the card with pictures and stickers. Your child might dictate a personal note, and chances are the teacher will read the note back to the child for an exceptionally tender moment.
The student may be able to share with you a special moment or story of personal meaning this year: when they taught him to dribble the basketball, write their name, and speak the foreign language greetings.
The important focus is on the from-the-heart thanks for their time, effort, and patience. A handwritten letter is a great way to show your gratitude to your prized educator.
Think of your child
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Gift-giving and offering expressions of gratitude are learning experiences. Children are classically known for their gift-wanting, and they may need to be coached on how to be good recipients. Now is their chance to truly enjoy the feeling of giving. Consider their level of skyness as you ask them to write notes as well as deliver gifts. Their teachers are key individuals in their daily life. Naturally, they have deep emotions, about their desire to show thanks as well as their stand-off nature to this major adult figure. Help guide their way with several honest chats, including the purpose of a message or gift as well as their ability to express gratitude and kindness.
Know your teacher
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How well you know the teacher may be reflected in your gift for teachers' shopping. Perhaps you have heard about his or her interests and hobbies. Maybe you have discussed their family size.
For example, readers appreciate a subscription to a magazine of interest or perhaps a book club. Perhaps your teacher is into personal fitness. Then a new gadget, such as hand weights, a kettlebell, or a yoga mat will keep the energy up.
We know the feeling of seeing our name in print, whether in a note or on a gift card. How about expanding this feeling for your special teacher gift by making or purchasing a personalized gift? Consider too that a personalized gift may be one more likely to use and cherish.
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From crafts to useful items, homemade gifts deliver a bonus The lucky recipient knows that they were thought of all through the design and construction phases. Local craft stores offer small kits to create useful items for the classroom. This can be as simple as a hand-painted picture or ceramic. Another idea is an initialed bookmark, made by the young student and expressing their shared love of reading.
While we all hope our classrooms are well-stocked, many news articles have been written about the shocking amount of their own money teachers spend to furnish the classroom. There is never a limit to the creative tools and supplies that can make great gifts. After snooping around a little, you may discover what age-appropriate games or toys can be a welcome addition.
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For their family gifts
Our families, especially young children, are not aware of our day-to-day work. Gifting items that are meant for the teacher to share at home can connect everyone to the work. Consider gift certificates that families can enjoy such as to local restaurants or activity centers. Perhaps in this way, your teacher's family feels how much the teacher is respected and greatly appreciated.
What Teachers Do NOT Want
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This section is not actually what teachers do not want for gifts. It's more focused on why a specific gift may not be on teachers' "favorite gift" collection list.
Candy, and other such sweet treats
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While pleasureful, let the teacher pick their indulgences. A teacher's opportunity to enjoy treats seems to many as too frequent, available all over the building this time of year.
Mugs and pencil holders
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Yes, your recipient may be the "World's Greatest Teacher", and a mug is a useful item by itself. But, we can only use one at a time, so just how many mugs does a teacher need? Keep the ideas to more unique items, unless hand-made by the student.
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This includes the most delicious treats. While the gesture is lovely, there exist too many risks coming with an unlabeled food item: think allergies, germs, and mysterious ingredients.
Young students may think their teacher lives in the school. And, the teacher probably loves in-classroom-themed items but for home decor, jewelry, or clothes, not so much. They and their families probably do not wish to replicate the classroom or the school colors all around the house.
Personal care items
The prettest, sweetest smelling, and loveliest to feel lotions, creams, perfumes and all are simply a very personal preference. Personal use gifts may not be the way to go. Additionally, in these times when hand washing is a must, most teachers will not look toward these lovely items as they maintain the safest of germ-fighting practices, reaching instead for hand sanitizer.
Most teachers are devoted to their profession but don't actually want to wear it, decorate with it, or even manage a pile of apple-themed towels.
What's left? Lots and lots of great ideas
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Teachers, as do we all, appreciate sincere messages that express your appreciation. When there are special examples of their attention, remember to include that in your hand-written message. Encourage and assist your child to participate in this gift's design, including the writing or drawing the teacher will be sure to recognize. These gifts will be appreciated, shared, and treasured.
Gift cards, from stores with a variety
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No pressure when you consider a store gift card. There are many easily available and even easier to use. Consider the online stores including amazon gift cards and the big-box stores such as Target. Your teacher can shop from their wish list and for their family holiday celebration knowing they will find wanted items. Also, consider asking your classmates' families to pitch in and increase the card's value while staying within your budget.
Cards to major retailers, including grocery stores, are often displayed for easy selection. Different values are pre-printed, beginning with relatively economical levels.
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No one appreciates the value of good quality school supplies more, especially in large quantities, than a teacher. Consider some "cool gadgets" such as a zippy stapler, great marking pens, and even materials to decorate the room. Shop for new items to excite her and the students.
Consider how the "craft corner" can be enhanced with simple items such as assorted papers, ribbons and bows, and even magazines for picture cutting, all available to the whole class. Hunt for supplies, including among other households, that can be an amazing gift, at no cost, but expressing your efforts and interest. Home knitters and sewers often have a large leftover stash ready for donation, for example.
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One thing we probably know for sure is that teachers love books. They especially love books that are read again and again by their students. Consider purchasing books for the classroom with a message written inside, dedicated to the teacher.
Books to fill the classroom's shelves are always welcome. As with toys, be sure to label the items as belonging to the classroom. And, for the sake of happiness, make sure your children know that these objects have been gifted to their teacher. They are for everyone's enjoyment and remain in the room after graduation!
Delicious fun for the teacher and family
How about doing a little investigation and learning where your child's teacher likes to eat? Many restaurants offer gift certificates at almost any level. Home delivery may also be offered. Like all busy people, your favorite teachers may appreciate the "no need to cook night" as well as the sharing of the gift with her family and friends.
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You can gift your teachers a little extra out-of-school fun. How about gift cards to movies, and fun activities around the town, like mini-golf, with her kids? Search further and you may find exciting and creative spots like a painting, flower arranging, or cooking class.
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While we may usually reserve gifting flowers to that special someone, wait no longer. Your favorite teacher will enjoy the look, scent, and sentiment that flowers bring. Consider, too, a potted plant, which is sure to last longer and grow, just like her students!
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To honor someone while building a legacy, consider a targeted donation. Perhaps you know that your child's teacher supports animal or nature causes, then you can direct a donation to these hardworking organizations. Maybe you have chatted about his or her work with nonprofits that support hunger relief or work with youth and families. Organizations will appreciate your donation, in any amount, named for your honored teacher. Consider asking for a certificate of the donation to be sent to the teacher or hand-delivered by your child.
Teachers' lounge gifts
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The very important teachers' lounge may also be very neglected in a busy school building. Consider how your gift of thanks can extend to all the staff using this room for much-needed calm and rest. Does the coffee maker need an upgrade? Perhaps the tea inventory could benefit from a variety pack or expand the selections to now include hot cocoa. Other parents may be very excited to join you and focus on your gift this year for all the teacher friends.
Gift-giving is complicated. We often don't know the way to go even when our feelings and desire to thank someone are very strong. Start by learning any existing rules, including those directed by school leadership. Perhaps as well, the teacher has expressed his or her wishes, including cards and messages only. When shopping, think of your recipient as well as your budget and your child. This effort can become an important learning experience for your child in many ways, and expressed again and again in years to come.