Most teachers work tirelessly, often well beyond the classroom. We trust teachers with our children and know that their efforts are not always recognized or rewarded. What can we give this time of year to show that we appreciate their efforts?
Cash or Gift Cards
This may not seem incredibly imaginative but it can be the most appreciated. Teachers generally don't earn a lot and often spend their own money on materials and supplies. A little extra cash can go a long way, especially this time of year when they're trying to buy their own gifts or simply replenishing classroom coffers for the remainder of the school year.
Funding from schools or districts for classroom supplies is often limited, particularly in this era of continual budget cuts. You may know your children's teachers well enough to ask what they need or be able to ask a fellow teacher or administrator. If not, you can check a number of sites for wish lists that have not yet been fulfilled, including AdoptAClassroom.org, DonorsChoose.org or TeacherWishLists.com.
Gift Certificates for Dinner, Show, or a Spa
Teachers have lives outside the classroom. Do you know their favorite restaurant or spa? Treat them with a certificate that they can use at their convenience. It's a chance for them to recharge while showing that you care.
Adventure to Fitness
I'm proud to say that Adventure to Fitness has been one of the fastest-growing resources in elementary schools over the past four years. It is an innovative approach to promote physical activity while kids learn... particularly relevant in the coming months when kids are often stuck inside due to inclement weather. This is a gift for the teachers and the kids! Gifts can be used towards new subscriptions or to extend existing ones.
Many teachers appreciate donations in their names to a specific cause or organization. Note -- this only works if you know a specific cause that's near and dear to the particular teacher. While teachers who support a specific cause may be eternally grateful, others may see it as a "non-gift." It should not be a donation to your favorite cause or charity.
Trust me on this one -- teachers get enough food, candy, and cute coffee mugs this time of year. Soap? Only if you're trying to send a message! Give them something that not only shows you appreciate what they do, but that they'll enjoy as well.