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What Gift (If Any) Do You Give Your Child's Teacher at the End of the Year?

How do you show your appreciation for a special teacher? Teachers, what do you like receiving?

It's almost the end of the school year — or maybe you've already reached that point if your child is in preschool or a private school — and you may be thinking about what to get as an end-of-year gift for your child's favorite teacher (or teachers.)

The task may be easier if you know something about that teacher's interests and personality. But what if you don't?

So, what are you planning to get for your son or daughter's teacher? Do you favor gift cards? Edibles or other items that won't clutter up their home forever?

Or do you sometimes even get some sort of memento decorated with...an apple? Teachers, how many of those do you have???

I sometimes gave teachers tea or (for women) lotions or soaps  in "relaxing" flavors or scents. I figured they needed it by June! (But I did sometimes wonder if that was too personal. On the other hand, I wasn't giving them some sort of decoration that they may like, but could hate, and probably wouldn't have room for, either way.)

What about baking your specialty cookies or cakes? A gift card to the movies or restaurant?

Teachers, what have been your favorite or most touching gifts that you've received from students?

How much do you invest in such a gift? And — admit it — do you give a nicer gift to a teacher you or your child really like a lot?

At what grade level do you stop giving such gifts? Would you even give a gift to a middle school or high school teacher whom you felt went the extra mile to help your student?

Let us know by adding a comment at the end of this story! Maybe you'll give another parent an idea of what to get (or NOT get) for this year's teacher gift.

Linda Sadlouskos June 15, 2011 at 08:29 PM
It does sound as if a heartfelt letter of thanks or other handmade memento might be very appreciated — but yes, I can believe the kids want to "keep up" with their friends, even in this area!
Linda Sadlouskos June 15, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Local Mother Judy Hahn says: For the teachers we have loved~ We absolutely went the extra mile for the teacher who did the same. As a class ~we all contributed a page to a scrap book of thanks, which included pictures of the kids in class. We all contributed a favorite recipe, decorated it and made a recipe book, to go with gift cards to favorite restaurants. Once we had the kids each get a square, decorate it, tie together and made a quilt. Individually~ when my kids were younger they wrote thank you notes and created a pc of artwork for favorite teachers. Additionally, as a family we made brownies for all of our favorite teachers. In fact at the end of each year we still went back to all of our favorite teachers to give them brownies and remind them that they were a favorite of the past whom we have not forgotten! It was such fun to visit them all and bring them brownies. By the time we left the elementary school I was making 10 batches of brownies. As the kids got older they got more creative. We gave a unique copy of a favorite book read in class, or gift cards to fav restaurants or book stores. We gave pies to some, or just something that seemed to fit the teacher individually. Cards definitely make it special!
Loretta Lane June 16, 2011 at 06:06 PM
As a teacher for thirty-six years, I loved all the gifts I got. I still use the notepaper, pens, mugs, you name it. The special gifts are the ones the kids picked out themselves or made, and for years, a number of those gifts decorated my desk and bookcases in my classroom. One of my favorites is still a jar of seashells collected on one of our field trips to Sandy Hook. I also received a number of books to use in our classroom, which allowed us all to enjoy the gifts for many years. Best of all, though, are the end-of-the-year cards and letters in which the kids tell us what they especially liked or will remember about their year with us. I've kept them all in a box made by one of my students.
Kathy June 17, 2011 at 03:19 AM
I really enjoy hearing that the teachers like the gifts kids give them. Sometimes you really don't know if they liked it. Our fallback gift here is a Barnes & Noble giftcard because I never met a teacher who didn't like to read. We also try to remember the office staff at the school because they do so much behind the scenes work and have to suffer through all the parental complaints received over the main phone line! A few times, we saw the librarian at a certain local restaurant so we gave her a gift card to that place. Last year, my two boys had teachers who were actually married to each other. So, we gave them one ticketmaster gift card since we knew they were Yankees fans. We hoped they could get tickets to see a MLB game. No matter what gift we decide on, I always try to have the kids write a short thank you note to go with it. My middle school-aged child just gives giftcards to his favorite teachers and those who've been important to him throughout the year. I think the key is to learn a bit about a teacher's interests and consider them when selecting a gift. I'm sure the old "apple stationery" gets a little boring!
Fred Douglis June 17, 2011 at 04:06 AM
I'm curious what people think is appropriate once a kid reaches the age where it's many teachers rather than one. My feeling is that a nominal gift card is appropriate, since at middle/high school a teacher has so many different students, but every year I have that debate and my wife favors bigger gifts -- which collectively are several times the size of what we would give a single elementary teacher. I'm sure the teachers appreciate gifts of any size and style (including the handwritten notes people have mentioned here), and I don't mean to sound petty, but now that this conversation offers the chance to get the sense of the community ... what do you say?

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