That time of year has come around once again, the final days of the school year are dwindling, the weather is beginning to warm up and kids are counting down the days until summer break. Even with all this excitement, most of us parents are out searching for end of year gifts for the beloved teachers in their children’s lives. How do you express gratitude for such a thing, anyway?
Some of my favorite people on earth are teachers, and I thought it would be helpful to do a little investigating as to what makes the perfect (and not-so-perfect) year end gift, should you be a parent in search of ideas.
I went straight to the source, surveying local teachers about the best gifts they’d received in the past and what would love to receive as this year comes to a close.
Here’s what the teachers had to say:
They DO want…Gift cards!
Almost everyone who responded to my survey mentioned gift cards as a great choice. If you’re buying a very specific type of gift card, it’s important to have an idea of the teacher’s tastes and interests. For example, first grade teacher, Stephanie Huffman, said a gift card to Sephora was one of her favorite gifts received, and high school teacher, Michelle Mercier, loved receiving a gift certificate for wine tasting.
If you’re unsure as to your teacher’s interest. Purchasing a gift card for the movies, Starbucks, pedicures and local restaurants seemed to ring through as great choices regardless of the recipient.
“One time, I got a gift card tree with all kinds of small and big gift cards and that was so fun to start the summer with!” said Maria Bezerra, a first grade teacher.
4th grade teacher, Kelly Haupt said, “One year a student gave me a journal with about six different gift cards of fun things I could do during the summer. That was very sweet.”
Similarly, if you know the teacher’s interests in sports and attractions, tickets to watch their favorite team play a game or for a day at Disneyland (a great, class/group gift) were also very memorable gifts mentioned.
One thing’s for sure – it was pretty clear that the teachers would greatly prefer gift cards they can enjoy personally vs. those to use for the classroom when it comes to an end of year gift.
Also, a favorite gift is as simple as a Hand-written or student made thank yous
Many of the teachers responded in agreement with one another, stating that by far their favorite gifts to receive are heartfelt, handmade thank yous from their students.
High school teacher Amanda Valle states, “A genuine thanks from a student sustains me in my choice to teach”
Former high school teacher turned administrator Ralph Vasquez agreed. “Thank you letters, written by the kid themselves, no matter how long – those are the best.”
Marceen Farsakian, a first grade teacher, shared “one of my all time favorite gifts was a collection of personal ‘treasures’ from around the home and a handwritten note!”
Debbie Scott shared, “The best gift I ever got was a booklet created by a student of 21 ways I made her year the best year.”
Another great give: A class memory gift
A few teachers spoke of gifts they’d been given by a former class, to serve as a reminder of their time with the teacher – especially things that could be displayed in the classroom.
Carlanda Williams, Fresno Unified’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, received and loved a framed painting of a tree, on which all of the students made colorful thumbprint leaves on the branches next to their names.
Kelly Haupt said, “I love when students have given me something I can put up in my classroom. It makes me think of them the next year, too.”
Ultimately, teachers just appreciate being thought of!
Holly Rodriguez, Madera County Superintendent of Schools 2019 Distinguished Teacher says, “I love everything!”
Kindergarten teacher Crystal Holmes said, “I love ALL the gifts I get from my students and their families! Sometimes they don’t have a lot to give so just the thought behind it means so much.”
Want to know what teachers would rather not receive?
SKIP THE COFFEE MUGS. Really. Like, really skip them forever.
I’m not going to name names, but in regards to mugs I received the following comments (note: do not confuse mugs with Yeti tumblers – I’m told Yetis are still great/desirable gifts):
“Coffee mugs are getting old.”
“I love Star Wars, but if I receive another Star Wars mug, I will have to use them for target practice.”
“No mugs! I have 37 mugs!”
“Teachers are people too? Gift cards NOT coffee mugs. Go figure. 😉”
They also would rather not receive Candles and Scented Body Products (unless you specifically know the exact scent the teacher likes)
“I don’t really want any more candles, just because everyone has such a different taste in scents.”
Just for fun, want to know some of the most unexpected (both good and not-so-good) gifts teachers I spoke with received? In no particular order, here they are:
- A gift certificate for adult beverages (It was well-received) “You know, we need to decompress!”
- A gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris (Wow! A big surprise!)
- A fleece blanket with Elvis’ face
- Assorted plastic figurines from the dollar store
- A Sex in the City perfume set
So there you have it folks – as the school year comes to an end, be sure to show your appreciation to the hard-working teachers who have spent the last nine months lovingly educating the next generation. Whether you have a bit to spend, or money is tight there are options on the most wanted gift list for any budget that are sure to please. Now go forth and love on your teachers everyone! They deserve it!
Tag us when you get your fave teacher her gift! @FresYes or #FresYesInsider.
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Now, go make someone’s day!