The value of the teachers in our lives—be they elementary, middle school, high school, college professors, tutors, or any other kind of teacher—cannot really be overstated. It is the teachers of this world who guide us in our formative years, who foster growth and confidence, who inspire us to be all we can be, who instill us with the knowledge we need to move through this world and thrive. In short, good teachers are important and amazing and deserve to be recognized. So how can you, as a student, or a parent or guardian of a student, show that appreciation? Well, we have some ideas.
What Not to Give
Before we give you the ideas, though, let’s talk about gift ideas you might want to reconsider. Now, don’t get us wrong, a good, caring teacher surely appreciates every last gift they get immensely, but there are some things they’re probably tired of. Apples, for one thing, are a classic, but a bit cliché and probably overdone in most cases. Lotions, candles, ornaments, and useless—if sentimental—trinkets and baubles, are things that any teacher who’s been at it for long enough are not likely to have a shortage of. Gift cards, too, while certainly useful, are also easily forgettable, and something most teachers are certainly quite used to. Another thing to avoid, unless you ask first, is baked goods. For one thing, you don’t know how paranoid your teacher is, and whether they’ll be willing to eat something homemade without seeing it being made (an entirely reasonable concern, really). Your teacher also may have dietary restrictions you’re not aware of. Basically, homemade treats are usually a no, but if you ask your teacher first, it might be an okay choice.
Giving your teacher a potted plant isn’t a bad idea, as it gives them something pretty that will only get bigger and prettier with time and care. The theme of growth is also an appropriate one for teachers, considering the way they help us grow and blossom. In fact, you can subtly or directly make a nod to this metaphorical connection by adding a personal message to the pot. In fact, any kind of decoration or personalization at all means that even in the undesirable event of the plant dying, the pot itself is still a keepsake, and can be replanted.
Of course, you can also just be really direct and write a letter or card explaining, in full detail, exactly why your teacher is amazing and why you appreciate them. This option is incredibly low-cost, and incredibly meaningful in its utter simplicity.
If you’re willing to put in some time and effort selecting photographs and writing captions, as well as arranging everything tastefully, you can create a book full of precious memories from your semester or school year. You can also make it extra-special by having others in your class sign blank pages at the end and add their own comments in the vein of why your teacher is wonderful and appreciated.