Do you hear that noise in the background? It’s a mix of “school’s out” combined with a giant and audible exhale. We made it through a school year during a global pandemic. How? Barely. By a thread, really. Was it ideal? Nope. But thanks to the superhumans and saints standing at the front of every classroom, we did it! As you’re packing up water balloons for the last day’s bus stop ambush, don’t forget one important thing — to thank your child’s teacher. They certainly deserve a small token of appreciation for educating and nurturing your child for the past nine months.
If there was ever a year to say “THANK YOU” to our teachers, this is it. Whether they were on the computer screen, in the classroom, or a mix of both, our teachers are true heroes. Instead of parents wishing them a great summer in the drop-off line, they deserve the Publisher’s Clearinghouse car complete with balloons, Ed McMahon, and the giant check with lots of zeros at the end! Since that’s not exactly feasible, I thought I’d give you a few other suggestions. Here are five gift ideas for an end-of-the-year thank you to the teachers who make our world go ‘round.
Move over, cash — gift cards are king! If you ask most teachers what their ideal gift is, they’ll say gift cards are perfect. They’re versatile, they allow for guilt-less splurging, and, as a bonus, they make for the lightest thing for teachers to have to pack up for the summer.
- Catching Fireflies (Berkley & Rochester)
- Brown Iron Brewhouse (Royal Oak & Washington Twp.)
- Dessert Oasis (Rochester)
Easy: Pick up a gift card while you’re picking up groceries and pop it in a thank you card.
Extra: Make a gift card bouquet by grabbing a bouquet of flowers and a few extra plastic card picks to put the gift cards on.
Put On Your Lunch Lady Hat
You know how you’re sick of packing lunches every day by now? Yeah, so is your child’s teacher. The last day of school and those few days after are a mad dash to say goodbye to students, get grades submitted, and pack up the classroom for the summer. Somewhere in there they have to figure out when and what to eat. Treat a teacher to summer send-off lunch!
NOTE: If I were your child’s teacher, you could just go ahead and send me a bag of bread from Kruse and Muer and call it good, but here are some other lunch suggestions:
Easy: Email a DoorDash gift card the day before so they can order ahead themselves.
Extra: Order yourself to eliminate the teacher’s decision fatigue and have it delivered or deliver in person for a fun surprise.
Go to the Principal’s Office
I used to work at Pottery Barn several years ago. (Before I explain where I’m going with this, let us please have a quick moment of silence for the employee discount I miss terribly!) My boss came to me one afternoon with a copy of an email he received from the district manager. A newly engaged couple I had helped to set up their wedding registry wrote a kind and heartfelt thank you. Now listen, I was just doing my job. They had already thanked me in person. But, they went above and beyond and took the time to ensure leadership in my company knew what I did as well. Do you know how that made me feel? Like a million bucks.
Everyone is so quick to run to the principal with an issue, but rarely do they run with praise. Let’s flip the script! Sit down in the stillness (AKA after bedtime and all extra stall tactics), open up your email and type up a heartfelt thank you to your child’s teacher. Instead of just sending it to the teacher, copy the principal on it, too. Brownie points for that next review? Yes, please!
Easy: Type up the email and press send.
Extra: In addition to sending the email, print a copy, sign it, and frame it so they can proudly display it.
Send Relaxation and Reese’s
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good theme! Two summertime favorites that lend themselves to a great themed gift are a day at the beach and a night of s’mores. Teachers deserve all the relaxation and all the treats for the next few months. You can put together as much or as little as you want, but I’ll give you a head start:
- Beach Day: beach towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, koozie, cans of pop/sparkling water/beer, magazine
- S’mores Night: graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups (trust me – these are a GAME CHANGER), roasting sticks, hand wipes for sticky fingers, bug spray, cozy blanket
Easy: Grab a few items and put them in a gift bag.
Extra: Keep with the theme and grab a beach tote or cooler bag for the beach day, a wicker basket for the smores kit, etc.
Give Grapes, Not Apples
Do I really even need to say anything here? This year has been quite a doozy, so if you know the teacher drinks wine, get him or her a little boozy. Grab a bottle (or twelve) at the grocery store or check out some local options:
- Youngblood Vineyard (Ray)
- Michigan By The Bottle (Auburn Hills, Royal Oak, and Shelby Twp.)
- Red Wagon Shop (Rochester Hills)
- Cellar 59 Wine Bar (Clinton Township)
- Northville Winery and Brew Company (Northville)
Easy: Hand the teacher the bottle with a card that says #earnedit.
Extra: You could get one of those glasses that holds an entire bottle of wine and/or pair it with a few delicious cheeses from a local cheese shop like The Cheese Lady. Check out Etsy for a bunch of fun ideas for printable labels and tags for the bottle.
“Teaching is a work of heart” applies to any year. This year? Teaching is a work of the strong, brave, and determined. Gifts to say thank you are never expected but always appreciated. Thank your child’s teacher in a way that works for you and your budget. If one of my suggestions is helpful, great! Are you more of a die-hard Pinterest mama? Go get your craft on. Maybe you know a local baker and can order some cookies. With all the love in my heart and on behalf of 99.99% of teachers everywhere — just no more mugs, please.