It seems like only yesterday that you were sending your child off to the first day of school with a backpack full of fresh supplies. Now the end-of-year countdown is on: The pencils are down to nubs, the notebooks are frayed and full, the days are getting longer, and Teacher Appreciation Week is here. If you're thinking of showing your appreciation with a gift, you're in luck: There are lots of presents for educators that are both meaningful and budget-friendly. Take it from me — I'm a teacher, and I think they're all awesome.
Since 1984, the first week in May has been recognized as Teacher Appreciation Week, according to the National PTA. The Tuesday of that week is also singled out as Teacher Appreciation Day (also known as National Teachers Day), and some retailers are offering teacher discounts either on Tuesday or throughout the week. As with days and weeks honoring other professions, the idea of Teacher Appreciation Week is to recognize the work teachers do and remember the challenges they face every day. After all, not everyone is capable of managing a classroom full of 4-year-olds, making Common Core math understandable to second graders, or teaching high schoolers to appreciate Shakespeare.
Parents who do choose to thank their children's teachers often do it with a token such as flowers or gift cards. Although these are both fabulous presents — I consider Dunkin' my second home — you can also opt for a gift that honors more specifically the work that teachers do. All of the suggestions below are available on Amazon Prime, and best of all, they're all below $20, so you can express your appreciation without breaking the bank. And none of them is a coffee mug. (Yes, it's true: We have more than we can use.)
Have you ever seen what a teacher carries to school? Depending on the day, they might be lugging a lesson plan folder, a lunch bag, food for the class pet, extra markers, or the sneakers they'll change into after work. Give your child's teacher something sturdy to lug their supplies in, with a message that will remind them why they got into the profession in the first place.
Show me a teacher who can find a push pin or rubber band when they really need one, and I'll show you a miracle worker. For the rest of us teachers, an organizer like this is a handy way to store those little necessities; it's especially useful for "floater" teachers who don't have a permanent classroom.
This touching picture book tells the story of an energetic, restless second-grader whose teacher's patience and encouragement helped her feel at home in school and even inspire her to consider becoming a teacher one day. The Amazon reviews all rave about how much teachers loved getting this from their students.
With all the talking they do all day, a teacher's throat can get mighty parched...and they usually don't have the time to run to the water fountain between periods. So your child's teacher will be eternally grateful for this sturdy, BPA-free bottle, which includes a handy infuser. Teacher can drop a few slices of orange, strawberries, cucumbers, or other add-ins to make it even more refreshing.
Keepsake From Child
This is a blank book with a twist. Your child (with a little help from you, if needed) fills in the 50 things they love most about their favorite teacher: their friendly smile; their encouragement; the stickers they hand out for excellent work. Wrap it up and give it to the teacher, along with a box of tissues to dry the tears that are sure to follow.
This thoughtful gift has both a sweet message ("Thank you for helping me grow") and a practical use. It comes with everything you need to grow your own basil plant, and it even includes magnets and suction cups so your child's teacher can attach it to a window or metal surface. In no time, they'll have fresh herbs perfect for a variety of summer dishes. (Hellooooo, Caprese salad!)
For The Guys
If I had a dollar for every time I or one of my fellow teachers said, "I don't know what I'm making for dinner tonight," I'd exceed my actual salary. Show your child's teacher some love with this cookbook. It features tons of recipes that take just half an hour or less to prep, cook and serve, giving teachers the time they deserve to relax and enjoy being with their families.
For An Exceptional Teacher
There surely must be a special place in Teacher Paradise for those educators who work with children on the autism spectrum. They understand their students' unique abilities and needs, and help them achieve great things. You may not be able to give your teacher a halo, but you can let them know how amazing they are.
For More Than One
Once children reach first grade and beyond, their world expands to include different teachers for various subjects including ELA, math, science, and art. If your child wants to thank more than one teacher, this set of three bracelets is both a moving and economical choice.
Teachers need hot drinks, too — not to mention a container that will keep the drink hot until they have a moment to sit down and sip it. This multipurpose tumbler keeps coffee steaming for up to 18 hours, and also includes a strainer for making tea from fresh leaves (particularly handy for keeping healthy during cold and flu season).
Work Of Heart
Gift Of Cheer
Teachers love their profession, but they'll be the first to admit it can get stressful. (Ever tried facing a roomful of 25 kids and tried to get them all to listen?) Encourage your child's teachers to take a break over the weekend by giving them a bottle of wine with one of these stickers plastered over the original label.
Good Clean Fun
Crikey! Fudge! Shut the front door! Shiitake mushrooms! One of the skills a teacher learns early on is a list of clean curses to use when they need to vent, but have to watch themselves around those little ears. This clever coloring book lets your child's teacher illustrate these oaths nicely — and the act of coloring itself will help them relax and forget the day's frustrations.
Keys To Knowledge
Teachers have the keys to knowledge, but they also have lots of other, more practical keys: to their classroom, the storage closet, the supply cabinets... Help them keep track of their keys with this attractive enameled inspirational key ring (also available in blue). This one says, "A good teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart."