Looking for an easy way to let a special teacher know that you appreciate them going above and beyond? Here are 7 great gifts that are sure to be cherished, ranging in cost from free to a 20-spot (which is quite generous for a gift to an educator, according to our poll results). First, what is this holiday anyway, and what is expected of you?
Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States always takes place the first full week of May, and Teacher Appreciation Day is on Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Day. For 2012, Teacher Appreciation Week is from May 7th-11th, and Teacher Appreciation Day is on May 8th, 2012.
Over 20 different countries have a day dedicated to thanking teachers, many inspired by a 1994 UNESCO resolution designating October 5th as World Teachers’ Day in honor of the special contribution teachers make to society.
In many schools, the local Parent Teacher Association (PTA) will organize activities to help students and parents learn more about the work that teachers do. Many schools have established gift-giving traditions where parents or students will bring small gifts or thank you cards to their teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day. If you’re not sure whether or not it’s appropriate to give a gift for Teacher Appreciation Day, check with your local PTA or the school district office. Often there are rules limiting the maximum dollar value of gifts, and prohibiting certain items (such as food) for teacher safety.
Now on to the fun part! Teacher Appreciation Week is a wonderful opportunity to exercise your creativity to make a small token of your appreciation. It needn’t cost a lot of money. In fact, most teachers prefer that you don’t spend a lot of money on a gift (and laws concerning government employees may prohibit them from accepting a valuable gift anyway).
1. Pencil Bouquet
Teachers always need new classroom supplies– but as much as it’s practical, how fun is it to give a box of #2 pencils from Walmart? Fortunately the creative folks at The Happy Scraps have shown us a better way. This delightful Pencil Bouquet is as lovely as it is useful. Instructions here. Supplies here and here.
2. Soda-lighted You’re My Teacher!
Photographer Tammy Mitchell has already done the hard work for you with this cute gift idea. Just go to her site to download the free printable card, attach it to some vintage soda pop, and you’re done!
3. One Smart Cookie Jar
I’ve yet to meet a teacher who doesn’t love fresh baked cookies! Just be aware of any special dietary restrictions such as gluten free or vegan, and check with your district to make sure giving food is acceptable. Then, go to Camie’s site to get the printable “I’m one smart cookie thanks to you!” card and instructions, and of course the perfect cookie jar! Or try this cookie jar set if you have multiple gifts to make.
4. School Supply Cake
A clever variation on the classic Diaper Cake gift for new parents, the School Supply Cake is easy to make and eminently practical. Teachers spend about $500 of their own money on school supplies every year, so what might seem mundane to you is likely to be super appreciated by them! Check out our list of the school supplies most requested by teachers, or put together your own collection on Amazon or CreateForLess.
5. “I Remember My Teacher” Book
What could be more appropriate for Teacher Appreciation Week than David Shribman’s opus to the far-reaching impact that great teachers have throughout our society? As it turns out, pretty much everyone can remember a great, particularly influential teacher they had. Don’t you wish you had let them know just how much they meant to you?
6. Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket
Of course, in an ideal world, we would all make our own gift basket using a cute basket, vase, or even a toy school bus, and stuffing it with a combination of school supplies, snacks, and other teacher essentials like hand sanitizer, craft supplies, or coffee. No time to make your own? Here’s a lovely teacher appreciation gift basket that even Martha Steward would be proud to give.
7. Personalized Gift Card
We saved the easiest gift for last. In our survey of most desired teacher gifts, gift cards came out the undisputed king. No wonder, given the salary most teachers make and the hundreds of dollars they spend out of their own pocket to keep their classrooms well stocked, sometimes even buying basic school supplies for kids who show up without. However, just because you’re giving a gift card doesn’t mean it has to be boring. This site will allow you to personalize a gift card with your own photo and message of appreciation, or choose from hundreds of crafty “Thank you” designs submitted by others.