I use the term “teacher gift” in this blog but what I’m saying can apply to any member of school staff. Where you see “teacher gift” it can also mean a gift for any school staff including Teaching Assistants, Lunchtime Supervisers, cleaners, office staff etc.
Giving your child’s teacher a gift at the end of term is a lovely way of showing your appreciation for their hard work and dedication in helping your child.
Thank You Notes
Any teacher or member of school staff will tell you THE best gifts are when the child has handmade a thank you card or written a thank you note.
I still have every single card and note I’ve been given since I worked as a Teaching Assistant 20 years ago. Every single one. Some are on scraps of paper others are big pieces of card with a picture beautifully coloured. They are all equally special. I occasionally get them out and look through them and it brings back happy memories and lots of smiles.
So, the short answer to “what is a great gift to give to your child’s teacher?” is a handmade or written thank you card. It is appreciated every time.
Some of the best gifts I’ve been given
However, if you are able to, and want to spend a bit of money on a gift, then the best ones are where some thought has obviously gone into it. The best ones for me were where they had found something personal to me (usually something with a cat on, or a scarf – I love a scarf!) I’ve received a lovely top with cats on that I still wear regularly. It’s from a well-known high street shop that sells very affordable clothes so it wouldn’t have been expensive but so well chosen as it’s very me!
These types of gifts show that your child pays attention in school. They’ve picked up on what their teacher enjoys, or what pets they have, or the style or colour of clothes or accessories they like to wear.
Another winner was a “pamper kit” which included bath items, a candle, a hand-painted glass jar and a book. Now, I’m very fussy about what books I read, and I would say this was a risk, but I read the book (that I would never have chosen myself) and enjoyed it and it did feel special because I took time over the holidays to sit and read it. That gift ensured I had some self-care over the holidays. The jar has been in my bathroom ever since – around 17 years now!
I’ve also been given a £10 Costa Coffee voucher. Great teacher gift! I remember going for my special coffee and cake and enjoying it even more because it was a thank you treat.
I also have a small wooden hanging ornament on which a child painted a penguin and wrote a message on the other side. It is on a door handle in my house, and it gives me happy memories every time I see it (which is several times a day).
What makes a good teacher gift?
Something with a bit of thought or effort put in. A card handmade by the child is always more special than a generic “thank you teacher” mug/pen/keyring/teddy bear. I still have every card every child I’ve ever taught has given me. I’m afraid I can’t say the same about the generic thank you teacher gifts.
Something linked to things the teacher likes – do they talk a lot about a hobby, a favourite food, do they wear certain colours or items (eg me and my scarfs)? What clubs have they run? This might give you an insight into the type of activities they enjoy or interests they have.
Things to treat themselves with are also great, such as the coffee voucher I received. The standard chocolate/wine/toiletries can be good. My husband would always be excited to find out how much chocolate I was bringing home and it often lasted through the holidays.
But, due to dietary requirements, food can be tricky, as can alcohol (do you know they drink? What is their favourite tipple if so?). We rarely drink wine and I still have bottles gifted to me years ago that will probably end up as a raffle prize. Some nice tonic to go in a G&T would have been more appreciated, but it’s difficult to tell 10-year-olds you like a gin-ton!
So too with toiletries, I’m very fussy and they must be Vegan but I’m highly unlikely to have dropped this into daily classroom conversation. I’ve regifted many bath items because they’re from big names who test on animals.
If in doubt, it’s OK to ask. Children like to quiz their teachers! They take great pleasure in sidling up to you at break time and asking “Mrs Lander, what’s your favourite chocolate/drink/bubble bath?” then chuckling as they scurry off to play, armed with important personal information that they think you have no idea why they asked for it in the first place. Teachers will happily play along.
Ultimately, however, it doesn’t really matter what you give. The out-of-date box of Maltesers with the reduced-price sticker still on didn’t diminish the sentiment behind it. I’d rather have that than no thanks at all. It really is the thought that counts, and teachers and school staff will be touched to have received a thank you gift, whatever it is.
Don’t forget the Teaching Assistants, Lunchtime Supervisors and cleaners – they are often overlooked but have all helped your child throughout the year. And remember – the number one thank you is a handmade card or hand-written note from your child, so get those crayons out and get colouring!
If you do want to get a gift for any of the staff at your child’s school, here are some awesome ideas that also support small businesses. Most of them are local to me in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire or Herefordshire, but they post nationally. I don’t get anything from recommending them – I just like to shout out about amazing local businesses.
They range from £1 upwards, but most have items under £20. Most of them have gifts suitable for both men and women (even the jewellery and toiletry shops). Male teachers get A LOT of mugs/beer/ties. If you can find something a bit different, they will remember you forever!
If your teacher is into crystals or likes jewellery, then Cosmic Crystals will have something to suit. Vicki can put together a crystal bundle with crystals starting at just £1 each. https://www.facebook.com/CosmicCrystals1
Kelly makes beautiful, colourful handmade soaps that are vegan friendly and come in 100% eco packaging. You can even have a message stamped on your soap too! https://www.soapimi.co.uk/
Fairtrade at St Stephen’s
Rachel stocks lots of lovely Fair Trade items – a good place for something a bit different. https://www.facebook.com/FairtradeatStStephens
A Touch of Beauty by Lisa Leo
If you are local to Gloucester then it might be possible for your female teacher to redeem a voucher for a pamper session with Lisa. https://www.atouchofbeautybylisaleo.co.uk
Rachael Elizabeth Photography
Rachel puts her beautiful landscape photographs on mugs, coasters, calendars etc. www.rachael-elizabeth.co.uk
All About the Olive Wood
Emma makes beautiful laser engraved wooden items. I used to work with Emma so very pleased to give her a shout out! https://allabouttheolivewood.co.uk/
Kirsty runs a fantastic eco shop here in the Forest of Dean, but she posts nationally. Kirsty stocks reusable bottles, sweet treats, wax melts, wooden signs, face serums, washing grains, soaps and gift vouchers
She can make up gift boxes including soaps, chocolates, shaving bars, shampoos, wooden toys etc with a personalised note. https://www.forestfriendly.co.uk/
Supriti makes beautiful handmade jewellery and donates 50% of her profits to charity to help empower disadvantaged girls through education. What better gift for a teacher?! www.halojewellery.org.uk
Helen’s Scents For Your Home
Helen has a wide range of gifts including toiletries and diffusers at a range of prices. https://helensscentsforyou.scentsy.co.uk/shop/c/36880/gift-guide?fbclid=IwAR38eTogH-Io3JuY3oOqlsWuz6o1f63yKn51NOj43zmpb2-yXwEa_H4xcgs
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