Gracias. Merci. Grazie: Ideas for Teacher Thank You Gifts!

Teachers are a gift.

For over 280 days each year they create and deliver lesson plans that stimulate and stretch young brains. Outside of parents, they are often the most important figures in children’s lives, as they spend anywhere from four to eight hours a day with them. Teachers have the capacity to put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and the great ones will undoubtedly make a lasting impression. The work they do is hard and often thankless.

A thoughtful and heartfelt gift that celebrates their considerable contribution is not only a great way to end the school year, but it’s also an excellent way to reconnect them with the joy of being a teacher. Don’t miss the opportunity to say thank you for a year’s worth of hard work.

Alicia on ‘Gathering Information’

Your child’s teacher deserves a gift that is special and unique to them. Rather than grabbing a generic gift, take a moment to ensure it’s something he or she will like. It doesn’t take much, just gather a few details. This can be done in a casual conversation with the teacher, another parent, or your child, and is definitely worth the time and effort. Does he or she have a family? What does the teacher like to do when not working? What are his or her plans for the summer? Armed with just this little bit of knowledge, picking out that special something will be a lot easier.

Sarah on ‘360 Feedback’

In the working world, feedback on professional performance is a critical motivational tool. And as both children and parents know, a little positive praise for a job well done can go a long, long way. Take some time to reflect with your child on the contributions the teacher has made to your lives. Write them down and think about how you can tie them into the gift.

Here are some clever gift suggestions to show appreciation to some of the most important people in your kids’ lives:

#1: A Tisket a tasket, give her a basket
Armed with just tidbits of personal information, you can create a one-of-a-kind themed gift basket for the teacher that will be remembered for years to come. Pick up a wicker basket, colorful tissue paper and bows at a mass merchandiser or card store. Then fill the basket to the brim with themed small gifts.

Here are some favorites:

1. Summer Fun — Include sunscreen, a romance novel, gossip magazine, sunglasses, popsicle making kit, toy water pistol, bubbles, and a gift certificate for Amazon.com to let the teacher pick out favorite music or books.

2. Movie Basket — Include microwave popcorn, 2 months subscription to Netflix, 2 free movie passes, 2 sodas, movie candy like Junior Mints, and the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.

3. Back To School — Before you know it, school will start up again. Include a gift certificate to an office or school supply store, an apple, coffee mug, personalized note pads, and new pencils.

#2: Personalize It
How did your child’s teacher make a special contribution to your child’s life this year? Maybe she recognized and nurtured an artistic talent or helped them make a breakthrough in math. Choose a personal item that is linked to that gift the teacher has given to your child. You could thank them with something fun like personalized M&Ms (www.mymms.com) with or something like math symbols on them or a book on the subject at hand.

#3: Better To Give Than Receive
If you feel your kid’s teacher probably has everything he or she needs, a terrific idea is to make a donation to charity in the teacher’s name. You can pick a charity near and dear to the teacher or choose any charity that helps children. This may indeed be the best gift of all.