If the last year has shown us anything, it's that teachers are AMAZING. And while you might think that at least once a day, we often forget to tell them. That's why Teachers Appreciation Week - which is happening RIGHT NOW - is such a good reminder to pause and let them know that we deeply, deeply appreciate the people who choose to spend their time trying to mold our children into better people.
Last year, in the height of homeschooling, I made a series of Michael Bolton-inspired graphics because I missed teachers to the level of a '90s power ballad.
But this year, the week sort of snuck up on me, so I didn't have the three weeks to spend on a mediocre Michael Bolton drawing that I'm still too proud of. Luckily, I'd asked a group of early childhood educators what they would like most on this day, and so I've got some last-minute ideas in my back pocket that I thought I'd share with you.
5. Gift cards
I mean, this one seems pretty obvious, but it was good to have reinforcement from real teachers that these are the most likely gifts to be used and appreciated. The group was actually pretty split on whether they'd prefer gift cards that they could spend on teaching materials or on cards they could NOT spend on teaching supplies so they actually have to treat themselves. If you can swing it, it sounds like an Amazon or Target card AND a Starbucks card or a certificate to a nail salon (if your child's teacher seems into that) would be a fantastic combo.
4. A handwritten note
You know your kid, so you know what your kid's teacher has to put up with. I was surprised by the number of teachers who told me how much they love a note of sincere appreciation for the impact they've made on your child. If you can't make a gift happen this year, for time or financial reasons, a card that recognizes their hard work over the past year is the way to go.
3. Coffee - but skip the mug
Whether it's a gift card to a coffee shop or very nice beans, coffee is a good, safe gift that just about everyone appreciates. But based on my extensive research (ie, asking in a Facebook group), your child's teacher has roughly 500 mugs, so he or she is pretty well set there.
2. Something they want
I know you see that and think..."Duh, that is the most common sense gift-giving advice ever." But what I'm really saying there is - you can ask them. Teachers, like literally every human ever, know when they're getting a generic gift. And they will appreciate the thought and understand that maybe you don't know them very well, but you COULD also say, "Hey, I want to buy you lunch on Friday, or get you a gift certificate to go out to dinner, or buy you a bottle of wine. Which of those do you want?" And then you can spare them the chore of regifting that peach candle.
1. A note or card from your child
This feedback just reinforced my first point - that teachers are better people than the rest of us. So many teachers answered me by saying that they keep every card and handmade gift their students give them over the years which, if you know the premise of my upcoming book Hugo von Hector the Kids' Art Collector, you know that I don't even do for my own children.
Get your kids to write or dictate a card with a heartfelt message for their teacher. If your kids are anything like mine, you may need to edit them a bit, as my son wanted to write, "I love you. You're the best. I hope you don't die." which was very sweet but also seemed like maybe a threat?
And since that's what my kids' teachers deal with all the time, I owe them everything on this list - and more.