Teachers are equated with apples and schoolhouses. But as the end of the school year approaches, what are some gift options that don't involve the cliche?
Showing Appreciation to Teachers
The purpose of the teacher gift is to show appreciation for the special teacher who has spent the year making an impact on your child. Oftentimes a thoughtful card will go a long way to let the teacher know how important he or she is. Regardless of the gift attached to it, include a card to make the gift meaningful.
If the child has a special memory of the school year, look for a gift that relates to that memory. Perhaps a particular lesson stands out. Perhaps a field trip was particularly memorable. Help the teacher remember a fond event. Frame a picture of a class play or of the class as a whole.
Sometimes teachers will tell students about interests they have outside the classroom. If this is the case, consider a gift the teacher would appreciate as a person, not just as a teacher. For example, if the teacher likes mysteries, look for a new mystery novel. If the teacher has a particular fondness for coffee, purchase a pound or two or a gift card to a local coffee shop. Teachers who like word puzzles may enjoy crossword puzzle books.
Avoid the Overused Gifts
Think outside the box to avoid gifts that teachers receive too often -- apple-motif novelties, knick-knacks, and mugs. Keep in mind that many parents will purcahse gifts for each teacher, and that teacher has a new class every year, with new parents who purchase gifts. Though not every student will bring a gift, the numbers add up. Consider looking for practical gifts the teacher will find useful.
Food products, such as chocolates, are popular gifts that won't just sit on a shelf. Books are also popular choices, though parents may want to look for books the teacher will enjoy, rather than novelty books. Also consider gift cards, even lottery tickets, that the teacher will be able to use.
School Supplies for Teachers
Some teachers request that in lieu of gifts for themselves, parents who wish to purchase a gift should purchase items that can be used in the classroom. These items may include arts and crafts supplies, stationery items such as paper and pencils, or decorative items for the classroom itself. This is a more practical approach to gift-giving, as it prevents the teacher from getting something he or she doesn't need and provides the classroom with supplies that will benefit the current or future students.
For those who don't find this a thoughtful gift, consider the fact that many teachers purchase items for their classrooms with money of their own. By helping purchase these supplies, parents save the teachers money and benefit the students at the same time.