Teachers Gifts: To Give or Not to Give?

Should you give a gift to your child's teacher at the end of the year, and if so, what?


Hard to believe but Teacher Appreciation Week and the end of the school year is almost upon us. Which raises the question, “Do you give your child’s teacher a gift?”

 My mother always gave our teachers gifts as we were growing up. I always accepted it as the norm and have followed suit with my kids’ teachers. Norm or not, it makes me feel good to show appreciation, especially for a teacher who has really worked hard with my child throughout the year. However, I’ve written several posts about finding the perfect teacher’s gift and was surprised by some of the feedback I’ve received from both teachers and parents on whether to gift or not, and what the ideal gift would be.

Here was a comment on a post I wrote on Teacher Gift Ideas, “I have been teaching for 13 years. I could not handle 26 homemade gifts for each year for the past 13 years. Please do not give us anything food-related that your child made … My opinion is to get them cash, gas card, Target gift card, or nothing at all.”

Just this past December, I wrote an article for Patch.com on , one of the comments from a parent was, “For parents who do not have the money to buy extra presents and on a budget, I think a handwritten 'thank you for your hard work and dedication' card from the parents and/or students is more than appropriate. I don't like the pressure that accompanies the unrealistic expectation that we need to buy something for everyone, especially in this economy.”

And yet, from other comments you could tell that parents looked forward to giving their teachers some love. "When I was a room parent, we had a caricature of the teacher made and all the kids signed it with a personal note ... We framed it for her to keep on the classroom wall."

The topic of teachers’ gifts was discussed on the talk show The View a few years ago and from the comments, parents were undecided on the whether to gift or not. The teachers who commented mentioned everything from gifts for the classroom, notes from your child, gift cards, and parents volunteering more time in the classroom as appreciated gift ideas. Last December the Huffington Post reported that giving gifts to teachers in Alabama is illegal. Illegal!

So, teachers and parents please weigh in, do you give teachers a thank you gift and if so, what is the ideal gift? Inquiring Moms want to know.

If you do want to give your child’s teacher or other school helper a gift, these posts offer some great ideas for both handmade and purchased gift ideas.


Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.

Marilyn Turchi April 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The nicest thing you can do is write a note to the principal and superintendent about all the help your child received or what ever you appreciated about that teacher. The notes will go into the teacher's personnel files. You might send a copy to the teacher. Your child could also write a note.
Nancy Wysocki April 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Teacher appreciation should actually remind a teacher why they are appreciated. As a room mom, we created a "remember" jar. Simple project and did not cost all that much.... Take an empty jar (we used a large mason jar) and decorated it. Inside was notes from all the kids about why they liked their teacher. The cost was virtually nothing and the sentiments are priceless. While gifts are nice and gift cards are appreciated.... the true sign of appreciation is in what is said instead of what is bought.
Sue Kirchner April 26, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Nancy - I love the "remember" jar idea. You're right, it's simple but such a heart felt way to show appreciation and get all of the kids involved. Thank you for the idea!
Sue Kirchner April 26, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Thank you everyone for these comments and ideas. Keep them coming!
Sue Kirchner April 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Marilyn, That is a fantastic idea. I would never had thought of writing to the teacher's "boss" to show them how much their hard work has been appreciated. Thank you for the idea.


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