As the school year comes to an end, I know many parents (let’s be honest, in most cases it is the moms) are once again trying to come up with way to recognize their child’s classroom teacher. And as a full time Kindergarten teacher that has taught over 2 years during a pandemic, I do feel spoiling the teachers, support workers and other hardworking individuals in the schools should be a priority.
In British Columbia, Canada specifically, teachers were some of the only people mandated back to their workplaces to teach the kids of those families that were on the front lines. Fast forward to this school year, and these same teachers were asked to keep everyone safe, by ensuring children were wearing their masks properly (I had a couple 5 year old mask eaters which was super fun) and had to encourage kids hourly to sanitize their hands. So if you are going to take care of anyone, take time to thank a teacher and know it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. I know from experience, any gratitude goes a long way.
While I feel like it is hard to gift something that is meaningful enough for the educators that have cared for, taught and basically raised my children for months on end, a thoughtful gift is a good start and is well received. That being said, I can share some ideas as it relates to teacher gifting with my lived experience in this role. We get a lot of chocolate! And I love chocolate, don’t get me wrong, but hello, my hot girl summer body, doesn’t need a pound of it. Below are some cost effective and unique gift ideas I think any teacher would appreciate.
First off, avoid the mugs! Just like chocolate, we get so many mugs! Again, super thoughtful no matter what, but it is the most common gift I have received in my teaching career. But all is not lost. Check out this cute one from Indigo. It is still in stores and currently on sale for my last minute shoppers.
As someone with a lot of teacher friends, I can tell you some of the most appreciated end-of-year presents are those that come in the form of a gift card or gift certificate. Perhaps a coffee card or restaurant credits to use over the summer break. This year, I went to my favorite local spa experience on Fraser Street in Vancouver, La Bise Beauty Lounge, to stock up on certificate. Again, if you are last minute like me, you can get this the day school ends if need be!
REST AND RELAXATION
As mentioned, the last couple years as an educator have been the hardest of my life and I know other teachers would say the same. The stress levels were off the charts in keeping students and their families safe and healthy, while also not having the human connection with parents, all the while also caring for my own kids and husband. So another idea I had was related to yoga, especially if you know they practice or want to practice their breathing or poses. Once again, these pieces are still on sale in some Indigo stores.
SELF CARE AND SKIN CARE
One of the best gifts I received from a family was skincare products I could make use of while I was putting my feet up come summer break. Who am I kidding, I have two kids of my own, so that never happens and yet, again, the gesture was well received. With so many people travelling in this post pandemic world, I do love the Beauty Counter Carry-On Set. While a little heavy for one person’s budget, you could always go in with a couple other families. Alternatively, you could also pick something else without the big dollar value, such as, a product such as the Beauty Counter Lemon Grass Body Scrub.
CELEBRATE IT’S SUMMER KIT
I also love the idea with what I call the “Celebrate Summer” gift. After working hard all year long, gifting teachers a couple magazines along with a plant and candle, or even better, a towel and drinking bottle, for those summer beach or pool trips. Along the same lines, a cooler bag and beach blanket would also probably get a lot of use in the warmer months.
DIY GARDENING KIT
I have started to really enjoy gardening so this next idea came from that new passion. I went to the local dollar store, picked up a white plastic planter basket and filled it with gardening goodies. And would you believe, all the items bought that I put in the basket were from the same dollar store for just over $15. So if you are budget conscious (who isn’t these days with the high gas prices and cost of living), this may be right up your alley. I do think it is thoughtful and perfect for those green thumb, environmentally aware teachers as well.
MINI WAFFLE MAKER
I know on my summer break, the mornings are a bit more relaxed. I loved when I saw this adorable mini waffle maker recently. You could even pair it with a box of tea or a pack of coffee beans and tell them to enjoy the slower summer pace. Yet, another unique idea that I think many educators would love to receive.
SIGNED BOOK OR CLASSROOM BOOKS
This year we have an amazing educator leaving our school. She happens to be the school principal, but the impact she has had a teacher to my children has been life changing. So to mark her departure, but kids will sign the copy of Todd Parr’s book, “I Love My Teacher”. Alternatively in the past, I have also had my children pick out a couple of their favorite titles from the year that they maybe got from the library or for their own collection and gifted it to the teacher. You may expect that teachers have a huge budget for their classroom libraries, but in actual fact, many times they pay out of pocket. Similarly, a gift certificate for Amazon or local bookstore, like Kidsbooks, is always so appreciated.
When it came to gifting something to my son’s kindergarten teacher a few years back, I went with something outside the box. Well, I take that back–I actually gave her a box…a light box. I figured it was something she could use year-round in the classroom or her home.
HANDMADE GIFT OR CARD
And of course, there is always an option for your child to create something special. One preschool year, I printed a sheet I found in an Internet search that my son and I filled in together. It was a thoughtful reminder of all the fun he had and reasons he appreciated his teacher. As a Kindergarten teacher, anything homemade meant the world. A link to the free printable we used can be found here.
So again, if you are like me, there are a couples days left and amongst the sports all ending, planning for summer break and, just the general chaos that is being a parent in May and June, you are just figuring out what to gift your teacher. Hopefully this list helps. And as long as you are out, don’t forget to grab a little something for the office and support staff, including custodians, as really, they are really who make those schools run.