Teaching has got to be one of the most under-appreciated professions there is. I worked in an elementary school for several years as an Educational Assistant and I know first hand how much work teachers do to inspire and educate our kids. The teachers my kids have had through the years have, for the most part, been excellent. I count several of them as friends years after my kids left their classrooms. This year my youngest had two teachers: his original teacher, Mrs. Fulsher, had a baby part way through the year; and a substitute, Ms. Ernstrom, came in to cover for three months. While switching teachers half-way through the year is not the ideal situation, we were lucky enough to have two fabulous teachers. My son has had an incredible year and has enjoyed both his teachers.
To show them our appreciation, we are giving them gifts at the end of the school year. Lots of people do this – sometimes it is a class gift from everyone, sometimes individual families give gifts, sometimes both. I know from my classroom experience that teachers all over the country will be getting lots and lots of gifts with an apple theme. After all, an apple for the teacher, right? Teachers love all gifts, and it truly is the thought that counts, but since I know a lot of teachers, I know what they could really use. All teachers have an in-class library where kids pick books at their level. There are never enough books. Especially the books that are really popular. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants and Goosebumps books are always gone when my son wants to get them. Dear Dumb Diary, Katie Kazoo, Judy Moody, and Fancy Nancy are all popular with the younger girls. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians books are hot for upper elementary kids, boys and girls. And you can never go wrong with Harry Potter. Every teacher would love to have a few extra copies of these books in their classroom library.
This year, we are getting a book basket for our favorite teachers. A couple of books, some candy or a Starbucks giftcard (for those days when they really need it), and a couple of sheets of personalized bookplates. The bookplates will help make sure that these new books (and all the other books) stay in the classroom library! The teachers simply put the personalized labels in each book and everyone knows whom it belongs to.
Another thing you could slip in the basket? A note from your child about how much they have enjoyed the year. Have them list one or two things that they learned that year. Did they finally master division? Tell their teacher, she’ll be so glad to know. Will they always remember how to spell “fabulous” because their teacher wrote it on their papers? She’ll laugh to know that. Or remind their teacher of the valuable lesson on frog habitats they learned when all the frogs died. A note from a child about what they learned and remember is a very appreciated gift.
This is how we are showing our appreciation this year. What is your favorite way to tell teachers you appreciate them?