Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Teacher Gifts: Gift cards top list of faves; decorative dolphins don't

Posted June 4, 2015

If you're struggling with ideas for a thank you gift for your kids' teachers, it's likely that whatever you end up giving will be better than this: "I once had a student give me one square of chocolate off of a Hershey bar," shared a teacher who follows Go Ask Mom on Twitter. "Think she ate the rest!"

As the school year winds down for many (I know it's ended for some!), I checked in with teachers on Go Ask Mom's Twitter and Facebook pages to find out about their favorite gifts and their least favorite gifts.

My mom is a retired teacher. My sister is a teacher. I know that while gifts are very much appreciated, some of those trinkets come in handy more than others. My mom, for instance, has more apple-themed mugs and Christmas ornaments than anybody could possibly need. She's given most of them away.

Here's what she has held onto: A simple watercolor painting of a cat that a grade schooler gave her decades ago. It still hangs on her wall.

On Go Ask Mom's Facebook page, teachers said they don't need anything big or fancy ... or scented.

"Yes please: personalized notepads or thank you notes, Starbucks cards, any gift cards," wrote one teacher on our Facebook page. "No thanks: coffee mugs, scented lotions, candles."

Wrote another: "I always appreciated gift cards to places like Walmart, Target, or Something handmade from the parent or child is always nice too! Least favorite gift I ever received: A very large decorative glass dolphin. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the family who gave it to me, but I just didn't have any use for it, so I re-gifted it to my aunt as a joke. She kept it and might still have it somewhere in her house today. Ha ha!"

Another teacher echoed her appreciation for gift cards and reminded parents to not just remember their child's classroom teachers.

"Coffee gift cards are always the best gifts as you know that the teacher will use it for him/her. Target, Walmart, etc., gift cards are great too, but we tend to spend them for items needed in the classroom," she wrote. "Parents, don't forget your child's specialists (P.E., Art. Music, other). They teach your child as well."

Finally, whatever you give, don't forget to put your child's name on the gift!

"LOVE, Love, love the gifts, but PLEASE attach your name to the gift," wrote a teacher on our Facebook page. "When receiving multiple gifts on the last day of school, the brain has so few cells that continue to function, it is often difficult to remember who gave what and every Southern woman wants to send thank you notes to the giver and do so correctly."

Sounds like she might like some personalized thank you notes!

Whatever you give, be sure you and your child sit down and write a thank you note. Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. They need to know how much we truly value everything they do. In fact, for one teacher, a nice note is the best gift she can get.

"No soaps or lotions, please (I get skin reactions!)," she wrote. "Gift cards are nice, but my favorite is definitely a heart-felt note."


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  • Kristin Byrne Jun 5, 2015
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    Not just Southern women send thank you notes. I was born and raised in NY, and I always send thank you cards for everything, even if I've already thanked the person in person. I hate how people consider thank you cards pointless these days. I think it's rude not to send a card, or at least an email if you must.

  • Ambrōsher Hall Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    These teachers sound absolutely selfish. Some kids put a ton of thought and anxiety into what to give their teachers. Sometimes so do te parents. I always try to make something nice for them but if I knew my gifts were a joke to them, I would never do it again. The decorative dolphin sounds like something that came from the heart and this is how the teacher treated it?! Just disgusting and I hope she isn't one of my kids' teachers!!

  • Julie Holder Jun 5, 2015
    user avatar

    Please take this story down. What if the child or parents who gave this decorative dolphin read this. Maybe that was all the child could afford. Teachers need to be appreciative and not post negative things about the gifts kids given them. No child or parent is required to give a teacher a gift for doing their job. However, lots of kids want to do this but cannot afford much. Be thankful for whatever they give. Do not make fun of it and re-gift it as a joke. Really???? What kind of person does that with a gift from a child? I am ashamed of the teacher and for WRAL for posting this. I truly hope the child or parents do not see this. Not classy at all.