No, Your Kid’s Teacher Doesn’t Want a Mug

It’s that time of year again where we reflect on another school year gone by. We pack half-hearted lunches and daydream about beaches and bathing suits. It’s time for a break. It’s time for Summer Vacation, friends.

It’s also time to thank the men and women who are courageous and loving enough to educate our children. We know they don’t do it for the money. And yet, they shoulder every mood-swing, every behavioral upset, every fear and frustration our children can throw at them. They have loved and nurtured out children seven hours a day for nine months.

So, how do we thank these super humans? Below is a list of what teachers are really hoping for this year:

  1. Gift Cards. You know what spends like cash but isn’t quite as tacky? A gift card. Especially if you put some thought into it by choosing a store that would click for your child’s teacher. Some good options are Target (duh), Amazon, and Starbucks. Show me a teacher who doesn’t need supplies, spoils and caffeine.
  2. Gift Certificate. A slightly more personalized version of the gift card, a gift certificate allows you to select both venue and a service. My oldest child is creative, caring, and also a total handful. Her amazing teacher who has lovingly walked her (and her father and me) through this year will be getting a gift certificate for a massage. Trust me, she needs it.
  3. Wine. Red or white? Do you think that after a year of dealing with your child plus twenty-four other kids it will make a difference? Didn’t think so. If you are worried you child’s teacher doesn’t imbibe alcohol, fear not. She can trade it for one of those awesome gift cards another parent who wisely read this article gifted a fellow teacher.
  4.  Reciprocity. Teachers love receiving what they have so freely given to your family for a solid nine month stretch: kindness and consideration. Work with your child on a craft or card for his/her teacher. A thoughtful, personalized gift like this will absolutely light up a teacher’s heart. Not creative? Hop on Pinterest. Still feeling overwhelmed? Fear not, printer paper and a crayons can represent the heart just as well as anything else.
  5. Time. There is always a lot of work for teachers at the end of the year. Volunteer to help your teacher pack up the classroom, clean, organize or do whatever it is that would be helpful. Showing up is an amazing way to demonstrate your gratitude. For extra credit, get some other parent friends together, put on some music, and attack the task together. Your child’s teacher will be so glad she is not the only one deconstructing the bulletin board.

With the above, you should be well equipped to appropriately spoil your child’s teacher. Simply stated, just stay away from generic teacher gifts. Put down the apple shaped mug and the “Best Teacher” paper weight. Before purchasing, think to yourself, “Would I want 50 of these?” If the answer is “no,” skip it. On the other hand, if you would love to get 50 Amazon gift cards this year, then buy confidently. Remember, teachers are people, not gimmicks. Save the school themes for the wrapping paper- or not at all.

In the end, keep this in mind: Who made sure your child is still alive and smarter today than they were nine months ago? Yeah, a teacher did that. So be sure to thank one today!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget about the other people who make your child’s academic growth possible. Principals, office staff, parent volunteers, cafeteria and janitorial staff, crossing guards, bus drivers, counselors, etc. These people make sure a very difficult and complicated task runs smoothly and for your family’s and community’s benefit. A little note goes a long way. Like all of us, they also love to know they are appreciated and remembered.


Give ‘Em Hell

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