If you are wondering about the right gift for your teacher or your child's teacher this year, try to avoid the most obvious and strive for things in the useful category instead. Especially as schools cut classroom budgets, things directly related to instruction or enrichment or common classroom supplies will be appreciated.
Work with other class members or parents to create a group gift if possible. Or work with several parents you know to find gifts around a common theme. Your combined efforts won't cost you much and will be most appreciated.
Gifts of supplies
Teachers have always used their own money to buy classroom supplies and extra books. In these tough budget times, it is likely that teachers are buying even more items from their own pockets. They would definitely appreciate some help. Depending on grade level and school, think of supplying:
You can re-stock worn books, a broken-down chair or a faded rug in the reading corner. Hint: if your local public library has a retail bookstore, you can find many great, almost-new books there, and they are reasonably priced. In fact, that's where many teachers shop during the summer months.
Gifts of help
Be the go-to person when a teacher needs help. Another responsible adult could do many of the tasks that take up much of a teacher's time. You can:
While most teachers would never ever let on, they have a lifetime supply of hand lotion, holiday ornaments, coffee mugs and knickknacks. If you want to give a personal gift, consider what your teacher's hobbies and interests are. You can find useful and thoughtful small items to match your teacher's interests.
Many teachers also have favorite charities and nonprofits. Make a contribution in your teacher's name.
As with most other gift giving, the amount you spend is not as important as the thought you put into your gift. Even a simple letter of appreciation will warm a teacher's heart for months. And unlike coffee mugs, teachers never get too many of these!
With all the people involved in your child's life, buying teacher appreciation gifts can put a strain on the family budget. Learn about some inexpensive ways to reward favorite teachers, and which gifts you should avoid.
Homemade teacher gifts are an inexpensive yet personal way to remember a favorite teacher. Find suggestions for giving homemade gift cards, scrapbooking supplies and food.