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Dec 052012
 
 December 5, 2012  Posted by  Hot Deals, Shopping
teacher

Do you have a child in school? Whether you have a preschooler, elementary school student, middle schooler, or high school student, you likely are thinking about getting gifts for your child’s teachers. It’s a quandary parents face ever December.

Lucky for you I have advice on teacher gift ideas that are appropriate, based on your child’s age, and a teacher’s likely likes and dislikes, and that take your budget into consideration.

This information should put your mind at ease — and make your gift shopping much easier. To make my advice easier to follow, I’ve broken out tips based on the “level” of school your child attends.

Nursery or preschool

Most nursery or preschool teachers spend a lot of time in the classroom or out on the playground, using their hands. Whether it’s pushing kids on the swings or washing out paintbrushes, these teachers deserve a gift of pampering. How about a gift card for a manicure? And it doesn’t have to be pricey either.

One of the ways to make this gift affordable is to find out if your favorite spa or salon employs any apprentices that know how to do manicures. Apprentices who are just learning the trade often charge much less than full-time staff. You should be able to get away with a $20 gift card that easily covers a manicure and tip.

Another gift option if you’re not a fan of manicures, or don’t think the teacher would be, is to give the teacher a book to read (for herself, not the classroom) or a gift card to a local bookstore.

If money is tight, a plate of homemade cookies – even the slice-and-bake variety – is wonderful. Teachers can share these with their colleagues.

Elementary school

I still love the notion of a gift card to a bookstore — especially if I can support a local business — as a gift for an elementary school teacher. However, after running into my children’s teachers at the local java joint on school mornings, it dawned on me that a gift card to help pay for their morning Joe just might be the perfect teacher gift idea.

Another great idea for an elementary school teacher gift? A board game for the classroom, so the kids have something new to play with during indoor recess.

Again, homemade goodies are also always welcome – especially in the break room.

FYI, when my kids were in elementary school, I gave a gift to the primary classroom teacher and any assistants/student teachers. I also always gifted the specials’ teachers–figuring not many parents remembered those educators who are also an integral part of your child’s school experience.

Middle and high school

Even when your kids move into middle school and high school and don’t have just one teacher all day long, I believe that you should still find a way to recognize the teachers and staff at the holidays. Once again gift cards can come in handy as a teacher gift, even if you can only afford $5 or $10 each.

This year many restaurants are offering free bonus gift cards when you buy a certain amount of gift cards, and this may help you get the gift cards you need at what amounts to a discount. I know that restaurants like Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Maggiano’s, and Outback Steakhouse all have these deals going on.

Another great option we have here in our school district — and you may, too — is an education fund that allows you to make a donation in the teachers’ names. The teachers are notified of your donation, and they are then open to apply for a grant to use this money to somehow better their classroom or their students’ educational experience. Best of all, I don’t have to donate a large amount to make a huge impact. And because this education fund is a legitimate 501(c)(3), my donation is tax deductible.

What gifts do you like to give teachers? Teachers, what do you like to receive?

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Leah Ingram

2 comments on “Pop quiz: What’s the perfect gift for a teacher?

  1. When I worked in the classroom at a grade school, my favorite gift was a small box of home canned items in Mason jars. All I could think of was the work and thought the parent took. Wonderful!

  2. I used to bundle a couple of envelopes of bath salts with a Hershey’s dark chocolate bar. A little bit of quick luxury!