A Teacher’s Picks: Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

Boy giving a gift to his teacher on teacher appreciaition week

Teacher appreciation week may bring up some questions - what gifts does my child’s teacher want to receive? How do we really show we care? We checked in with elementary school educator and coach Lisa Lefrak Newby to get her top picks:

Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding and challenging careers out there.  

As teachers we show up each day for our students and pour our hearts and souls into our work. Every year it’s extremely rewarding to meet my students and start a new adventure. 

I am now in my 24th year of teaching and although it can be very difficult at times, I am fulfilled by the love, learning, smiles, funny conversations, growing and laughing that I experience each year.  The greatest reward for educators is seeing our students thrive and succeed.  

Teacher Favorites for Teacher Appreciation Week: 

While recently chatting with my teacher crew about Teacher Appreciation Week they shared the most meaningful gift is a handwritten note from a student or their family.  Knowing what we’ve done to make an impact is extremely special. I’ve also gathered that there are several things that teachers also appreciate in addition to a meaningful note.

Top gifts that teachers appreciate:

  • Handmade gift paired with a gift card to the teacher’s favorite store or restaurant
  • Pre-arranged lunch or a favorite drink from a local coffee shop or smoothie spot
  • A gift card to a store or website to buy fun things for the classroom such as fun art supplies, games for brain breaks like Guess in 10, puzzles, pillows for the reading corner, new books, etc…
  • Money to treat themselves or buy something for their class

Teachers Love Gifts for the Classroom!

A fabulous gift is getting something from a teacher’s classroom wish list. Often parents love to help support the classroom by buying something that the teacher and the class can use and appreciate. A wish list is not a necessity, but I always have one just in case. My list usually consists of fun things to enrich my classroom or a meaningful experience for the kids. Over the years I have loved to receive games, art supplies and crafts for my students. 

Recently I received a fun game that the student said was also their favorite at their own family game night.  I never played the game so the student was able to teach the class how to play and then become the in-class expert.  Buying a game for home and for your child’s classroom is an excellent idea for home and school enrichment and learning. 

A game such as Guess in 10 would be ideal for rainy day recess, Fun Friday game time or learning centers. All of the Guess in 10 games are fun and engaging while working on communication, decision making, problem solving and creative thinking skills! I recently added Guess in 10 Marvel to my classroom collection and had to make a sign up list so the students could all get a turn during Fun Friday game time. If you’d like your child to be the class expert, be sure to get one for home too! 

Another fantastic gift for teachers that can add something meaningful to their classroom without dipping into their own wallet is Scout It Out: The 50 States or Scout it Out: The Countries of the World. The Scout it Out games practice and teach observation, problem solving, mental processing, logical reasoning and social skills all while learning geography. 

group of children giving flowers to the teacher

Homemade Gifts to Show You Care:

Handmade gifts are very meaningful and make a big impact. Some of my favorite gifts have stayed in my classroom and I’ve used others at home for years.  

In my very first year teaching I received a beautiful framed canvas with all my students' thumbprints on the tree branches. Many of their names have faded, but I still have it and I will never forget my first class of 1st graders! 

Another favorite was a pillow that had all of my students hand prints on it. That was a great addition to our reading corner and my students loved to come back over the years to see if the pillow was still in the classroom.  

One year a parent organized for each student to make a quilt square and took the time to sew them all together. The effort and love that went into that quilt meant the world to me.   

I have also enjoyed when parents make delicious homemade treats, breads, jams and once I received a set of 10 handmade soaps.

I have been on this wonderful roller coaster of a ride as a teacher for quite awhile now, and I truly just appreciate knowing I am valued and am making a difference.  Many teachers pick this work to make a difference. Gifts are wonderful, but showing teachers you care with appreciation and thoughtful words is what truly matters the most.

Lisa Lefrak Newby, M.Ed is an elementary educator and coach with 24 years of experience in the classroom teaching grades TK through 5th. She is the mother of two boys ages 16 and 11. Lisa is the oldest of five daughters and organizer of all family game nights!

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