What a Teacher Really Wants for Teacher Appreciation Day - I interviewed my parents who are veteran teachers to find out what a teacher really wants. You might be surprised! @littlegirldesigns.com

What a Teacher Really Wants for Teacher Appreciation Day

Ah, Teacher Appreciation Day. I grew up in a family of teachers so I had a front row seat in seeing what parents actually made and bought for their children’s teachers each year. For this post, I thought I’d ask my parents which gifts stood out for them (in a positive way!) and what they would recommend for parents who are stumped at finding a gift. I was actually surprised at how simple these ideas are and thought the last one was so incredibly smart that all parents need to do it this year. So, let’s do this!

What a Teacher Really Wants for Teacher Appreciation Day

1. Gift card to anywhere. My dad said that the typical amount he received was $5-$10, and he always liked the variety of gift cards he would receive. I have many memories of my dad and mom happily buying a coffee and nice magazine at Barnes and Noble with their gift cards.

2. Something made by the student. This doesn’t have to be complicated. A kind, appreciative note that is framed or a beautiful quote goes a long way. Both of my parents loved receiving kind words in a letter from the parents and a nice drawing from the student.

3. Flowers. My mom loved it when parents would give her flowers in a mason jar (or even a clean mayo jar since they’re around the same size.) They brightened up her desk at work, and the kids loved them too.

4. Bagged mixes. Sometimes these were homemade but my mom always appreciated receiving soup mixes, cobbler starter , hot chocolate mixes, and muffin mixes. (On a side note, I always loved it when my parents received a small plate of something sweet like chocolate chip cookies!)

5. A really nice pen. Now this is for older students, but my mom was often surprised with a set of her favorite micron pens because a student noticed what brand she liked. I have to admit that I would love something like this!

6. Bringing them lunch. I never would have thought of this but my mom said she felt so special when a parent would write a kind note and then add, “I would like to bring you lunch from ___ on Friday.” Since teachers (usually) can’t leave campus for lunch, this would be really special. Just make sure you tell them the day and follow through.

7. Larger gift card from families. Sometimes families in my parents’ classes would get together and purchase a gift card to a nicer restaurant. Add a card and Idea No. 9 from this list, and you’re set!

8. Car wash card. This one is from my dad–he said he loved it when he would receive a car wash card even if it was only for one wash. Saved him some money and time!

The Bonus Add-on Gift That Would Mean the World to a Teacher

9. Write a positive note to the principal about your child’s teacher. Think about it. If you work with clients and one of them takes a minute to write a note to your boss about how awesome you were with meeting their needs your boss is going to take note. The same thing goes for teachers. Your note of appreciation to the principal or school administrator will mean so much to them!

Well, that’s it. I love that encouraging your child’s teacher doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money or stay up the night before perfecting a complicated craft. Honestly, teachers need encouragement. Just like the rest of us! Speaking of which, I think they would love it if you and your child filled out a pack of my encouragement cards and tucked them into a gift. 🙂

P.S. One of my favorite ways to earn gift cards is through Swagbucks. It’s free to sign up, and I use the search engine throughout the day to earn points. Sometimes I’ll take polls or do some of the quizzes. I’ve literally earned hundreds of dollars of gift cards through Amazon (my favorite!) over the past year. Just wanted to share that tip with you!

Have a lovely {and creative} day!

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14 responses to “What a Teacher Really Wants for Teacher Appreciation Day”

  1. Kim Cunningham Avatar

    Sweet ideas! I’m partial to number 3!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Me too! Though your photos would make gorgeous gifts! 🙂

  2. Amy Avatar

    PERFECT timing! I am working right now on not one but two classes for teacher appreciation. These are great ideas and I love your perspective. I would never have thought of the car wash–who wouldn’t like that?

    Thanks for linking this up at the Pretty Preppy Party!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks to my dad for that one! 🙂 I’m glad these helped you! Have a great week! 🙂

  3. Michelle Avatar

    I wrote a post similar to this one Best Teacher Gifts after interviewing teachers and asking what their favorite gifts were. I like the one on writing a note to the principal.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks for your comment, Michelle. I’m sure you had fun interviewing teachers about their favorite gifts; I sure did asking these questions of my parents. 🙂 I was also surprised about writing a kind note to the principal but I know I always appreciated it when a client sent a positive note to my boss. 🙂 Have a great day!

  4. Cyndi Avatar

    Always looking for great ideas for teacher gifts. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      You’re so welcome! 🙂

  5. Vicki and Jennifer 2 Bees in a Pod Avatar

    Hey Jennie – this post makes us wish we were back in school 🙂 Great ideas…lucky teachers!

    1. Jennie Avatar


  6. mary beth at MBZ Interiors Avatar
    mary beth at MBZ Interiors

    My kids always gave a gift card to a national chain book store for the teachers. And wrapped the card in a pretty wrapped box. 🙂

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Love this idea. That was always one of my dad’s favorite gifts. 🙂 He would treat himself to a cup of coffee and a favorite magazine or book. 🙂

  7. April Avatar

    I love this idea, Jenni! My daughter attends a rural public school here in Costa Rica, which aren’t known for attentive, dedicated staff or individualized attention, but my daughter’s preschool teacher is the most amazing teacher I’ve ever met. I can’t wait to write a note not to her principal, who ultimately doesn’t make decisions in staffing, but to the national ministry of education. I’m so flipping excited about this. Can’t believe I’d never thought of it before, you’re a genius!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, I’m so glad you’re going to do this. My parents were both career teachers and when a parent would take the time to write a letter or talk to the principal (or in your case, the national ministry of education) about how they appreciated their teaching, it meant SO much to them. I’m so glad your daughter has a wonderful preschool teacher! 🙂

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