With Teacher Appreciation Week and the end of the school year fast approaching, some people might be considering giving gifts to their children’s teachers. In fact, Pinterest is burgeoning with creative teacher gifts, many of which fail to take into consideration the cost and talent it might take to design the crafts. When it comes to frugal tricks that require little in the way of Martha Stewart’s know-how, these gifts have got you covered.
- Gently used books. After nearly a decade in the classroom, I can still tell you one that one of my very favorite teacher gifts required no additional expense and only a little bit of muscle. That year, I had taught the family’s youngest child; as a result, they had a basement full of books from elementary and middle school days that were starting to collect dust. The father wheeled in a box on a hand truck after school one day, and my classroom scored over hundred books. It made no difference than some of the corners were bent or some of the covers had names scrawled across the inside. I couldn’t thank that family enough.
- School supplies. Whether you purchase extra at the beginning of the year when loss-leaders abound or you re-gift supplies that your child didn’t use, school supplies go a long way. Pencils, pens, markers, glue, erasers, loose-leaf paper, dry erase markers*, construction paper. I promise we’ll find a use for it.
- Retired calculators. In some instances, when students transition to high school, they have to upgrade their scientific calculators to graphing calculators. If no one is going to use that calculator in your household, you would make every math teacher in my building mighty happy by donating it. No worries if it’s clear that it has been used. No one will give it a second thought. Instead, it’ll be a relief when a student–or five–comes to class without a calculator.
- Seedlings. Several years ago, I had a student who came from a large family. Her parents were determined to gift every child’s teacher with an end-of-school gift, but they also didn’t want to break the bank. They started a bunch of basil seeds in April and had adorable seedlings ready to gift by the end of May. They scooped up some inexpensive pots and gifted one basil plant to every teacher. I’ve been shamelessly recreating this idea for the past several years. For less than $1 a gift, it’s perfect for summer!
- A note. No one is obligated to gift a teacher anything. In fact, we get the gift of spending time with your child every day. As much as most teachers love their jobs, I’d wager to say that every teacher has at least one of those days once or twice a week. There’s nothing that reenergizes and motivates me faster than digging through a box of notes from students and their families that I’ve accumulated over the past eight years. I don’t even notice that when a student used the wrong you’re…most of the time.
* The most stunningly expensive of the school supplies. Whoever invented the Expo marker, well done, indeed.
So Tell Me…What are you favorite inexpensive gifts to give? Or receive?