Giving your child’s teacher a gift at the end of the school year is a well-established tradition. It’s a nice way for parents and students to say ‘thank you’ for the difference their teacher has made over the past year and show them how much they’re valued.
Any present from your child will be appreciated, and it’s certainly not about grand gestures - we don’t know any teacher who’d want parents to feel pressured into contributing more than they can afford to a class collection.
Here’s our guide to gifts that will make teachers feel special (hint: there’s not a comedy tie or best teacher cushion in sight!)
Make time to say thank you in person or to write a thank you card. Tell the teacher what you and your child appreciate about them. It can be anything – helping your child settle in, helping them understand something they find tricky, or being really kind or funny!
You can help highlight the positive impact teachers and school leaders make in our society too by sending a free Pearson National Teaching Award thank a teacher card. Anyone can send a card; children, students, parents, grandparents and colleagues can all say thank you to a teacher, teaching assistant, headteacher or team.
Give the basics
We know that a growing number of schools now ask PTAs to fund classroom essentials like books, pencils and gluesticks. Some teachers even buy these basics from their own money so that ‘their’ kids don’t go without. So if you want to buy a gift (individually or as a group) make it something practical that teachers can use with their class.
Why not ask the school if you can set up a ‘giving tree’? It’s really no more difficult to organise than a collection:
- Teachers, TAs and other support staff provide a list of items they’d like to receive for their class
- You write their name and an item on a tag and tie it to a tree (you could put some branches in a pot, use an artificial Christmas tree, or make a tree shape from card and stick it to the wall)
- Parents pick what they’d like to buy from the tree and you keep topping it up until every parent that wants to, has picked a tag
Give a little love
If you’d prefer (or your child really wants) to give a personal gift, then make it something that will bring their teacher a little light relief after a tough day. A jar of relaxing bath salts, a voucher for a cake and a coffee at a local café, or a bottle of wine usually go down well. If your child has their heart set on making something they could decorate a shoe box and put together a little care package.
My favourite ever, was a brown paper bag with a packed lunch in it and some extra goodies like chocolates and a small wine. The tag was - you have looked after me every day, making sure I have everything I need, always showing me you care. Today is my turn to look after you and show you I care - Thank you.
Give your backing
What better way to show your appreciation than to back your teachers by getting involved at school or adding parent voice to teacher voice on the issues that matter. If you know the school is struggling with funding you could rally parents to all write individually to your local MP. If teachers need extra help in the classroom, make a book of ‘parent vouchers’ - each voucher promises an hour, half day or full day of volunteering time.
What do you think makes the best teacher gift and why? Share with us on Facebook @Parentkind.org.uk and twitter @Parentkind.