There are so many ways to thank your child’s teacher for a great school year, but to make sure we were ranking high on our gift giving, we consulted some of our favourite local teachers to get the goods on the gifts they’ve appreciated the most.
Support Their Passion
Teachers are among the more selfless folks out there, so it’s no wonder that charitable donations ranked high on their gift list. Local charities like Halton Food for Thought, Canadian Tire JumpStart, The Burlington Humane Society, Me to We, and Food 4 Kids are big favourites of the teachers we spoke to, but a donation to any charity that helps kids be the best they can be is sure to be a winner.
New Parent / Spouse?
If your teacher is getting married or having a baby in the near future, definitely take that into account. Search their registry if they have one, or pick up little something meaningful. Maybe a onesie that relates to the subject they teach, or a duplicate of your own child’s favourite baby toy for their new baby to enjoy. How about a set of luggage tags for the engaged couple? One year, Burlington teacher Amy Spiers‘ class all went in together to buy her the luggage set from her wedding registry, and 10 years later she’s still using them, and thinking of the now-university-aged kids every time she does!
Less “Stuff”, Please
While every teacher agreed that any token of your appreciation is appreciated and unexpected, we suggest try not to add to their “things that need to be dusted” list. Unless your teacher has just moved out on their own, they probably have enough coffee cups and bubble bath, and unless you know them very well, things with scents are a tricky purchase. Heather Smith, an educational assistant with the HDSB, loves that one of her parents takes the time to bake homemade treats for her twice a year. Consumables like gift cards are always welcome. Darcie Boutilier, Kindergarten teacher, loves receiving gift cards for Indigo, Tim Horton’s and Starbucks. And Deb Duncan, high school teacher, loves that her students take their own money and purchase her Tim Horton’s or LCBO gift cards. It’s a big gesture, that doesn’t cost much.
“When in doubt, gift cards are the safest bet.”
Help Your Teacher Get a Jump on Next Year
Teachers spend a lot of their own money on classroom supplies, so help them get one step ahead of next years classroom with a gift card to Indigo or Dollarama. When you think of how many $20 shopping trips a teacher makes a year, a gift card could really help take the sting out of the pocket book. Or, for something more tangible, I’m sure you’ve noticed the option to “buy a classroom book” on the back of the Scholastic book order form. Classroom libraries always need a few new books each year, so help your child’s teacher get a jump on their next classroom with a few new level appropriate books. Or purchase a series of books on a topic they’ve discussed that year: space, structures, historic persons, or living things perhaps?
Tug at Those Heartstrings
One of the most memorable gifts Holly B., a HDSB Kindergarten teacher received had each student completed a page for a class book, listing their favourite memory from the year. A parent organized and put it together, and it’s a definite keeper!
The Big Winner…
And the ONE gift that EVERY teacher remarked as being their absolute favourite is… A handwritten note from home. Whether it’s from a parent or child, just hearing the positive feedback on your year in class is what keeps teachers going. They become second families to our kids, and hearing about how they have impacted your child is definitely a gift they cherish for years.
“…a card with a handwritten and heartfelt note from the student and/or the parents is also one of the best gifts you can get as a teacher. I have many of those that I have saved over the years and look back on them and read them again from time to time. They are very meaningful to me.”
Paul Brandreth, Grade 5 Teacher, Halton District School Board
And as always, no teacher ever expects a gift, but we know so many people like to thank them at the end of the year, and we wanted to help you do that. Three cheers for teachers!