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Teachers - what do you most appreciate getting as a 'thank you?'

I'm new to the teacher-gift thing (preschool) and want teacher input on what you like to receive. I prefer to get things that are appreciated vs. gifts that don't seem like they'll see the light of day once the thank you notes are sent out. What have been your favorite 'thank you's' from students?

Fri. May 2, 11:43pm

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I think they appreciate either the very unique gifts that are so unique they will keep them for years to come and they will be a conversation piece, or cold hard cash in the form of a gift card. Too many "trinkets" from thirty kids per year have to add up pretty quickly. Although appreciated, I am sure they would much rather have something useful. Even a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a decadent box of chocolates is a nice welcome change from another "teacher" plaque or knick knack I think to collect dust. (Yeah I know we are all dieting, but the box of chocolates is for those that aren't, lol)

Saturday, May 03, 2008, 11:43 AM

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My friend is a teacher. She doesn't want a pin, a mug or a plaque having to do with children or teaching. She doesn't want body lotion or wash. She doesn't want wedding-type gifts (someone gave her a punch bowl once). She really apprecited gift cards to stores where she can buy things for the classroom or dunkin' donuts. She also appreciates hardcover books. One year, the whole class chipped in a bought her a real tiffany's bracelet. This was the only piece of jewlery she's kept over the years. I've followed these guidelines w/ my children's teachers and they seem to apprecite it-

Saturday, May 03, 2008, 3:17 PM

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A hand written straight from the heart thank you letter. It's the thoughts and memories that make a real difference.

I taught in my twenties. My students were special needs adults.

I had one student who wrote me for about 10 years after I moved to another state. I cherished getting her thoughtful hand written cards. Thirty years later I still remember her name and I wonder if she is still alive ( she was older than me).

Saturday, May 03, 2008, 10:31 PM

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The best gift I ever got was a teapot. My students knew that, though American, I'd lived in Britain for many years and loved all kinds of tea. It's very unusual, beautiful and functional.

I also like - and still use, 10 years on - a pair of quilted tartan coasters.

The lacy shawl and fan, suitable for a Victorian dowager, got donated.

Saturday, May 03, 2008, 11:44 PM

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I had a friend whose husband was a high school teacher. She suggested to me that a McDonald's gift card would be "one of the good ones - a keeper".

Sunday, May 04, 2008, 1:17 PM

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I'm a Kindergarten Teacher

I would most LOVE a handwritten thank-you note with a picture of the child with their parent/s! That would be such a lovely memento. :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008, 7:28 PM

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I always loved getting gift certificates. I hate to say it, but the teacher mugs, Christmas ornaments and stuffed animals were not the favs.

One year for Christmas I made personalized notepads for my son's teachers. I designed a simple page that said, "From the desk of (insert name here)" and had a simple graphic. Then I went to Office Max and had them make it into notepads. It didn't cost that much, either. The teachers loved it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008, 9:33 PM

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This is a good post.

Ok, i dont mean to steal the limelight from the original poster, but i have a question in relation to this.

I am a student teacher and am coming to an end of my teaching block at a host for my practicum placement. I would like to get my host teacher a token of my appreciation for his guidance and support this year. What should i get him? He is in this early 30s if it matters. Let me know.

Sunday, May 04, 2008, 10:21 PM

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Gift cards gift cards gift cards. I've been teaching for 17 years and I don't need any more stuff cluttering my desk. If there's a teacher supply store nearby, that's a great idea or just a bookstore card. Anything I can put towards my classroom is great.

For PP, if you're not into the gift card thing, then maybe a cool, "manly" bag for carrying papers, etc. (Although my teacher bag contains my lunch and a few catalogs since I refuse to bring work home anymore). If you're familiar enough, maybe take him out to lunch on your last day. And don't forget to ask for a reference! :)

Monday, May 05, 2008, 9:24 AM

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I am another educator who received a million boxes of chocolate, homemade cookies, and Starbucks cards this past Christmas. I appreciate the thought, but I do not need the calories.

Giftcards are the way to go, but have your student pay attention to what the teacher likes. I don't drink coffee, for example, so I don't have a lot of use for the Starbucks cards. Bookstore gift cards are my absolute favorite. Now that things are so expensive, gas cards or grocery store cards would be good ideas too. My husband was given a grocery store card by a parent a while back and he bought us some nice filet mignons with it that we wouldn't normally buy.

Monday, May 05, 2008, 11:05 AM

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Another thought - "green" gifts are hot right now. A cousin of mine gave her son's teachers CF light bulbs. I would love my kids to get those for me! Reusable grocery bags are a thought too.

Monday, May 05, 2008, 11:23 AM

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A couple of teachers above have mentioned a gift card to a teacher supply store. I'd be happy to give that, because I once saw that our local elementary school teachers were allotted only $30 a year to buy craft supplies for their classrooms. I guess I never thought of giving classroom money as a personal gift, but if other teachers generally agree, I'll do that in the future.

Monday, May 05, 2008, 3:56 PM

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I'm not a teacher but I have 2 kids in elementary school and for both kids' classes we have always collected anonymous donations from parents and bought a gift card with the total to the local mall. That way the teacher has the most choice as to where/how he/she spends the money.

Our room parent usually takes this on.

Monday, May 05, 2008, 4:28 PM

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OP here. Thank you so much, teachers! This is very helpful!

Now I have the personal dilemma of contributing to a gift I sense will end up stored in a box and forgotten by the end of June or breaking from the pack and doing something on my own! Oh, let the mom drama begin - haha.

Monday, May 05, 2008, 6:51 PM

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Personally, as a teacher, I hate the way this whole gift-giving thing is going. I'm thankful to live in a state where it is no (yet) out of hand, but the trend of room moms collecting from parents to buy something better than last year's or cooler than Ms.-X-Next-Classroom got revolts me, esp. as not all parents will be able to or want to participate (parent politics are beginning to match school politics). And even in our quiet little part of the world, there are already individual parents giving restaurant gift certificates. Some young students end up feeling bad for what they are unable to give. Teachers never tell, but gift-giving students do. It's no gift to see the self-esteem of children we've come to love dimmed because they can't keep up; most of us would rather not receive grand presents.

Things I and my coworkers appreciate:
LETTERS FROM THE STUDENTS. These are my favorite.
Books. These run a close second. Elementary teachers especially can't have enough excellent picture books. Consult a librarian first, and buy something he or she recommends. Buy something newly published, to minimize the possibility of duplicates, although in elem. school it is nice sometimes to have two or three copies of a really excellent book. Or give a gift certificate.
Small-sum giftcards for classroom needs--office supplies, teacher supplies. Really, I'm embarrassed by anything more than $20 and prefer less.
Small-sum giftcards to drive-through coffeehouses (I don't drink coffee but love a hot chocolate now and then).
Notes describing a donation made in the teacher's name to an educational effort in a disadvantaged neighborhood or country, along with a thank-you for what the teacher has done for your child and a wish that all children could have the chance yours has had in this teacher's classroom.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008, 12:46 PM

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12:46 - lol. As a parent I feel the same way :) Which in no way reflects how I feel about the teachers - they're fabulous. The other day I got a note TELLING me how much I owed for gifts - not letting me know that there was this idea for a gift and asking if I would like to contribute, but telling me I owe X dollars by this date. Well, okay then! Then I become the 'bad' mom for not contributing...

BTW - I really do love the idea of a donation made in a teacher's name. And I love giving a heart-felt note, it's nice to know those are appreciated :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008, 2:26 PM

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I teach music, and I got a beautiful instrumental CD from a student that I still enjoy regularly. I got all teary when the little tyke gave it to me! You can get all kinds of easy-listening CD's from Shopper's Drug Mart. They're so relaxing at the end of the day. I also love getting plants in the spring as I'm so excited about gardening once the snow melts.

As a parent, I often buy gifts for my daughters' teachers that support breast cancer. Pier 1 sells beautiful pink stained glass candles at Christmas time and the pink coffee mugs are so useful! Then, you're giving twice, and most teachers have had at least one family member or friend who has battled cancer at some point, so I've had many heartfelt thank-you's afterward (not that I need to be thanked, but that's how I know that these gifts were meaningful).

Gardening tools/gloves, wind chimes, and tropical drink mixes have also been favourites of mine (and always get used!) Good luck!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008, 8:04 PM

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