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Teacher Appreciation: 12 Ways To Express Your Gratitude

May 15, 2023
May 8, 2023

Want to show a teacher how appreciated they are but struggling to find ideas? Read here for budget-friendly Teacher Appreciation gift ideas.

National Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time to show your favorite teacher that you acknowledge their hard work, value their well-being, and want to make them feel loved! However, it can be a challenge to come up with a week’s worth of gifts.

If you ask any teacher, they will tell you that the last thing they want is for you to stress out about celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. What matters most is the sentiment behind it.

Why Is Teacher Appreciation so Important?

Teacher Appreciation Week, typically celebrated in May or toward the end of the school year, is a way to be intentional about showing teachers that you care.

So often, life can get so busy that we overlook all of the things teachers do for our students each and every day. This week is about taking the time to recognize and appreciate teachers.

What Are Some Good Gifts for Teacher Appreciation?

1. A Handwritten Card or Note

Nothing speaks to the heart more than a heartfelt thank you card expressing gratitude and explaining what they’ve done to help your child grow. Even more sentimental, a note from their student can help teachers really feel the impact they’re making.

You can have your student write a note about their favorite memories from the school year, what they love about the teacher, or how they feel they’ve grown during their time in the classroom. You can even include a little note of your own to thank them for your student’s growth.

In the day-to-day chaos of education, it can be easy to forget the purpose behind teaching. A reminder from students can really refresh a teacher’s “why” and renew their outlook on teaching.

2. A Video From Your Child

If you want to celebrate the relationship between your family and your teacher, consider a cute video from your child.

You can ask your child guiding questions like:

  • What’s your favorite thing about your teacher?
  • What has your teacher taught you this year?
  • Why do you love your teacher?
  • What’s the funniest thing your teacher says?
  • What do you think your teacher loves most about you?

This is a unique way to show an educator that you’re thinking of them, that your child loves them, and that your whole family appreciates them. This video can be sent in an email, or you can put it on a tape or hard drive.

3. A Favorite Book

Getting books into the hands of students is crucial, but teachers often have to fund their entire classroom library themselves. Book donations are incredibly valuable, and how neat is it that your child’s old favorite book can be loved by others for years to come?

The bond that a teacher can build with their students over books is like none other. So give your student an opportunity to share a book with their teacher instead.

Even better, if the student signs their name or writes a note in the book, the teacher can find it and fondly remember them year after year when sharing the book with a new class.

4. School Supplies

Just like their books, school teachers fund the majority of their school supplies. You have no idea how quickly paper clips, sheet protectors, and Post-It notes can add up!

A little gift basket of classroom supplies can go a long way. While the basics are always helpful, teachers also love fun, colorful pens and markers.

Some other supplies that teachers might need are batteries, mini tool kits for the classroom, bandaids, and cardstock.

You can also include cute notes with these items. For instance, include the phrase, “Don’t forget to recharge!” with a pack of batteries to give them a morning giggle when they receive it.

5. Their Favorite Sweet Treat

What better way to show your child’s teacher you care than filling their snack drawer? Teachers are on the go all day long, and, some days, they barely get a minute to sit down or use the restroom. Snacks are a must!

A basket of some snack items and chocolate is an easy, affordable way to make a teacher smile. You can also add cute little puns to some gift tags, such as “Donut know what we’d do without a teacher like you” to go with some mini donuts, “just popping in to say thanks for everything you do” attached to a bag of popcorn, or “orange you glad it’s Friday?” with a basket of orange snack items.

6. Coupons To Volunteer

This is an excellent budget-friendly idea if you have some time on your hands and want to volunteer in the classroom! You can gift your teacher with an extra set of hands during their busiest moments.

Cute volunteer coupons could include:

  • Copy helper
  • Cutting out crafts
  • Laminating assistant
  • Help run a center
  • Read to the class
  • Recess pal

The options are really endless — just consider any of the teacher’s specific needs and any talents you may have. This kind of help is free, and can be an amazing way to support teachers.

Giving a printable volunteer coupon book can also give the teacher the freedom to choose when and how they use volunteers while letting them know that you’re ready and willing to help.

7. A Gift Card to a Local Coffee Shop

It’s no secret that many teachers run on caffeine. Many teachers walk through the door on Monday morning with a piping hot to-go cup in their hands. If you know your teacher is a coffee lover, give them a gift card to their favorite local coffee shop and, if you want to spruce it up, a cute teacher mug or tumbler.

Throughout the year, you can casually find out if the teacher likes certain brands or flavors. This is a great Teacher Appreciation Week gift or even just a little gift for a rainy day. It’s bound to brighten their day.

8. Pictures of Your Student’s Growth

Similarly to the video, you can send the teacher some pictures of your child's growth during their time in their class. If they spent a lot of time teaching your child to read in elementary school, you could send a photo of your child reading a difficult book and thriving.

If you’ve seen growth in your child’s writing, you can send them a before and after picture of something your child has written to show them that their hard work is paying off.

9. A Heartfelt Craft

You can also work with your child to make a creative card or gift for their teacher. These can be simple paper crafts, like a flower with a sweet description of their teacher on each petal, or more in-depth, like painted pottery.

You can make your teacher a mug, some classroom decor, a vase, or a pencil holder so they have a little reminder on their desk every day that they are loved!

10. Gift Cards

Sure, gift cards may not sound like the most sentimental gift, but they are useful and can be meaningful if you put some thought into them! If you’ve had a conversation with a teacher about their favorite place to eat or run into them at a restaurant, you can give them a gift card to that place to show that you were paying attention.

If you know the teacher loves getting their nails done, you can get them a gift card for some relaxing self-care. Even a grocery store or gas gift card can go a long way.

If you want to keep it classroom-based, most teachers buy a lot of classroom items from places like Amazon, Target, and Teachers Pay Teachers. You can get your teacher gift cards to all of these places — plus, it’s a great way to invest in future classes of students.

11. Personalized Lanyard

One thing almost every teacher has to have is a lanyard to hold their badge! You can find cute, personalized lanyards online or in person that match your teacher’s style.

You’d be shocked at how many different teacher designs and styles there are. From cute pencil or crayon designs to boho themes to rainbow-colored lanyards, you’re sure to find something that will make them happy.

Some lanyards even come with cute attachments for hand sanitizer, pocket wallets, keychains, and so much more. A lanyard with their initials, name, or the phrase “best teacher” on it will be sure to brighten their day.

12. Personalized Notepads

To take personalized teacher appreciation gifts one step further, personalized notepads are another great gift to add to a teacher’s school supply. Whether they’re writing short notes to send home, to their coworkers, or to the office, it can be fun and convenient to have their name already on their stationery.

Notes to parents can look more professional when a teacher uses personalized stationery or notepads. While this requires a little more planning to order ahead of time, this makes a thoughtful gift for the new teachers in your life.

How Else Can You Celebrate Teacher Appreciation?

Turn Teacher Appreciation Day into Teacher Appreciation Week.

There are many ways the school and the parents can help make Teacher Appreciation Week fun for the amazing teachers!

Celebrating teacher appreciation with a week of themes can create lasting memories for the teachers and give parents a general guide of what to send in on different days.

A fun way to do this is by using an acronym.

An idea of what this may look like:

  • S - STOCK your classroom with SUPPLIES!
  • T - Say THANKS in a card or note! Tell your teacher how much you appreciate them.
  • A - Show how much you APPRECIATE them teaching your child to read! Donate a new or lightly used book to their classroom library.
  • F - FILL their bellies with their favorite yummy treat!
  • F - Give a gift card to their FAVORITE place!

Having specific days of gifts can take the pressure off of parents and let the teachers know what to expect each day while still maintaining the element of surprise.

You can also make this fun with a travel-themed week! Give each teacher a “passport” and allow them to “visit” new places each day of the week. Teachers can go to Maui on Monday, Tahiti on Tuesday, Out West on Wednesday, Thailand on Thursday, and France on Friday!

The parents can then use decorations (think: luau themes, cowboy hats, etc.) to transform the teacher’s lounge. The parents can also get fun snacks or desserts, small gifts, or themed cards and crafts to correlate with each new location.

You can also create your own hashtag and have the parents and students make posts on social media celebrating school staff. While thank-you gifts are always welcome, sometimes the best way to say thank you is with a little public school appreciation!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to Teacher Appreciation Week, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re acknowledging the week and putting in the effort to make a teacher feel loved and appreciated, the teacher will feel valued without a doubt.

All in all, teachers love what they do — teaching truly is a work of heart. Supportive students and families just make the job all the more fulfilling!

This is especially true at Primer, where our teachers are free to focus on what really matters: their students. Thanks to our microschool model and individualized learning structures, our teachers can adapt curriculum to each student’s needs, connect with each student on an individual level, and help each student pursue their dreams. Learn more about our microschools today!


Guide to Professionalism in the Workplace | UMass Global

7 Ways to Help Your Parent Volunteers Be More Effective | Walden University

Out-of-Pocket Spending on School Supplies Adds to Strain on Educators | NEA

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