After some time homeschooling, we’re going “back to school” this year. My daughter will be going to second grade, and my older son is starting preschool for the first time. I’m going to miss homeschool something fierce, but I know my kids will be in good hands this year.
We’re year-at-a-time, kid-at-a-time people, as far as our educational philosophy goes, so I don’t doubt that we’ll probably homeschool again. This means that I want to make the most out of this upcoming school year. (More hours to work? Having help with the more challenging subjects? What a concept!)
I’m utterly, astoundingly grateful for teachers. They have one of the toughest—and most gratifying—jobs on the planet, and not many people can do what they do, day after day, continually filled with creative juices and energy. I know at the end of a school year homeschooling my own brood, I’m crawling to the finish line.
Most teachers I asked don’t expect back-to-school gifts, nor are parents expected to give anything, so this certainly isn’t a prerequisite or even an expectation. In fact, teachers tend to get a lot of clutter-type gifts, so many times, the best gifts you can give are a positive attitude and volunteering time in the classroom.
I want to start our school year off on a good note and to get my kids excited about going to a new school, so for their sake, we’ll be making gifts for their new teachers. Something small, simple, sweet, and practical.
I asked teachers for their most-appreciated back to school gifts, and I’ve also been scouring Pinterest for ideas. Here are some of my favorites. (By the way, the general consensus is no mugs, candles, or anything apple-themed—apparently teachers are inundated with these.)
When I brought up back-to-school gifts on Facebook, a number of you said you don’t like to give them because you don’t want to look like a suck-up. I asked one teacher about this—does she think parents are sucking up when they give back-to-school gifts? Here’s her response:
“Not at all. I think it looks like you care about me from the beginning, that you are invested in our partnership, and you know that this is a job that needs your appreciation. We don’t do it just for the money, so it doesn’t hurt to feel valued.”
Any of these ideas would also work throughout the school year, so don’t feel overwhelmed if you just don’t have the energy or finances to do a back-to-school gift. Every teacher I asked said she doesn’t expect a gift at the beginning of the school year; it’s simply a thoughtful gesture. So save this list so that you have a simple idea when you need it! And to help, sometime at the beginning of the school year you can ask her for her favorite candy, coffee drink, magazine, restaurant, flower, or hobby—this will help you know exactly what she’d appreciate.
What about you… Do you do back-to-school teacher gifts? What are some of your favorite ideas?
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