Thursday, September 28, 2006

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It seems that many of you who visit this site are looking for teacher appreciation gift ideas (at least that's what my search-word stats tell me). And I'm glad. Teachers need to know they're appreciated.

Most of the teachers in our program know we appreciate them (at least I hope they do), and we try to let them know through several means:

1. We offer (and budget for) a teacher incentive program: if they complete certain training tasks, we purchase a teaching tool or resource for them at our expense (up to $25), It's our way of saying "thanks" for their hard work and investing in their growth and development as teachers.

2. We give thank-you gifts. They're not expensive and are truly just tokens of appreciation, but the teachers seem to value them. Here are just some of the things we've given over the years:

  • Plants (potted flowers, hanging baskets, single-stem roses, etc.)
  • Teaching idea books (to springboard creativity)
  • Devotional books (to encourage their hearts)
  • Leadership books (to encourage their roles as leaders)
  • Paper weights with fitting sayings (to remind them of some relevant truth or encouraging idea)
  • Bible memory-verse cards with decorative holders (for their reflection)
  • Mugs: you can give funny mugs or fancy mugs or inspirational mugs or teacher mugs--any mug consistent with your teachers' interests will do.
  • Food: fruit baskets, gifts baskets with teas, coffees, nuts, cheese/crackers sets, popcorn tins, home-baked goodies, prepared ready-to-make mixes with recipes (hot cocoa mix, soup mix, cookie mixes, etc.) packaged in mason jars or zip-lock bags, etc.
  • Reader gifts (book lights, book marks, etc.). Most teachers are readers.
  • Blank, lined journals and pens. Many teachers enjoy writing.
  • Gift certificates to restaurants, books stores, on-line sites (like amazon of CBD) or teaching supply places.
  • Decorative magnets
  • Hand-written thank-you notes (probably the most appreciated thing of all)

3. We host a once-a-semester Teacher Luncheon that we put on for the teachers at no cost to them. A few people volunteer to prepare food (something easy, like sandwiches or wraps or soups or quiches) and decorate a room (or host at a home), then we invite the teachers to come and enjoy a meal together just for fun (no agenda).

4. We try to support our teachers however we can: offering training events, making ourselves available to help as needed (with copying, or room set-up, or getting equipment set up, etc.) or to brainstorm ideas, praying for them, etc.

5. We recognize them and express our appreciation to them publicly once a year (at end-of-the-semester functions or other leadership meetings).

These are just some of the ways we've tried to let our teachers know how much we value them. Many of the things we've done we've been able to do at little expense (keeping our eyes out for gifts bargains, recruiting volunteers to make or provide things, hand-making treats or gifts, hand-writing notes, buying in bulk, etc.). Or sometimes the students go in together on gifts, everyone contributing just a dollar or two.

Be creative, and don't let cost be an issue. At the very least, hand write a thank-you note (a lost art these days). Teachers often serve thanklessly, so let them know you appreciate and value them. Your simple words of thanks may encourage them far more than you know!

'Til next time,


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