In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11, we asked teachers at a local K-8 charter school about their most cherished gifts from students. While many teachers do enjoy gift cards to their favorite stores, coffee shops, and movie theaters, there are other thoughtful ways families can say thanks. We found that what teachers cherish most are the gifts that—as one teacher put it—come from the heart. Here’s what they had to say about their favorite gifts:
- “Each gift that a child crafted with their own hands has a particular mark that triggers a memory. I cherish those gifts most.” —Dottie B., fifth grade
- “One family took the time to send a nice note to my principal letting her know what they appreciate about me as a teacher!” —Stacy C., second grade
- “The greatest gift I’ve ever been given from students was the gift of genuine listening and generosity.” —Tiffany R., kindergarten
- “A handwritten note from a student and their parent with a simple chocolate bar thanking me and explaining that this was all they could afford to do. Touched my heart so much!” —Molly T., second grade
- “The [gifts] that you know have a significant meaning attached to them; they show that the student has been listening carefully to the things you say are important to you.” —Ron S., sixth/eighth grade
- “I’ve always taught in very low-income, inner-city schools, so money was very tight. Sometimes parents would make some sort of food from their culture as a gift, and I loved that.” —Anny G., seventh grade
- “When it comes from a child’s heart it means so much more!” —Wendy P., gifted and talented coordinator
- “The best gift I have ever received from a student was a poster a girl made for me with a quote I, frequently, use during class.” —Kristin S., fifth grade
Go All In
Want to really wow the teacher? Get the class to pitch in on a bigger gift, like an Airbnb gift card to spend a night or two away with family or friends during summer break. Or, if you have a teacher who loves theater, purchase two tickets to a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Ask your child if there is a particular mountain location or activity that the teacher mentions often. This way, the kids get to be part of the surprise, and seriously consider what their teacher might like.
Gifts teachers appreciate, but are given too often:
- Coffee mugs: One teacher noted that she gets anywhere from five to 10 coffee mugs a year, and, although she does love coffee, she doesn’t have room to store them.
- Starbucks gift cards: Keep in mind that not everyone drinks coffee or tea. Find out what the teacher does enjoy as a treat, and gift her that instead.
- Candy: Especially candy that’s leftover from previous holidays. A handmade card and flowers picked from your garden are just as sweet.