Celebrating great teaching and learning is at the heart of what we do at Edutopia 365 days a year, but during the month of May we launched a special "Every Day in May" campaign which featured a daily tip or idea for how you can thank a teacher. Look for strategies on how you can support educators throughout the year, inspirational projects, and tons of sincere thanks for the people who do so much for our students. So be sure to check in and tell your favorite teachers!
You pretty much can't go wrong with these -- about 40 percent of respondents to our gift poll said this was their favorite. (Although one Edutopia community member got so many Starbucks cards one year that she developed a caffeine addiction.) Mix it up: Consider a coffee shop, a bookstore, an office-supply store, or a restaurant.
Some 30 percent of our poll takers said this is what they'd most like. Teachers pull out these notes for encouragement on tough days, and they save them long after the child has left the classroom. As one community member said, "Letters don't expire, go rotten, or break. They are my favorite gift!" Another added, "Letters cost the family no money, trigger no allergies, coordinate with all home-decor schemes, and do not cause weight gain!" Be as specific as you can about what the teacher does that benefits your child. To make it even better, copy it to the principal.
Homemade Gift, Edible or Otherwise
This was the favorite gift for 11 percent of respondents to our poll. One teacher known as Mr. Tom once received a handmade cup bearing the words "Mr. Tom's cup." Mr. Tom writes, "It still hangs in my kitchen."
Donation to the Teacher's Favorite Charity
A parent named Kelly says this year she collected small contributions from each parent in her child's class, and will present news of the donation to the teacher with a homemade treat (see above!) and a card (see above again -- triple play!). Also, 7 percent of poll takers picked this as the best gift.
Gift to the Classroom, Such as Books, Supplies, or Stationery
Kathy, a parent and an Edutopia fan on Facebook, likes to ask the teacher what she'd most like to have for the classroom, and then complement it by delivering a fruit or cookie basket to the teacher's lounge. Everybody wins.
Pooled Donation to a Needy Family in the School
The kids could even get into the giving spirit here, doing household chores to earn bigger donations. The educator who suggested this says, "I have plenty of mugs, candles, and hand lotions!"
Educational Tool or Experience for Your Child (Yes, Your Own Child)
Consider a great book, game, piece of software, or field trip that will get your kid excited about learning. Maybe it's even something he or she can share with the class. If it gets the kid excited about learning, that's a real boon to the teacher.
Massage or Spa Treatment
It's what we all wish for but rarely splurge on for ourselves.
Plant a Tree in the Teacher's Honor
Pick your metaphor: growth, knowledge, and nurturance. A tree represents them all.
Got other ideas? Please share them with us -- tweet to @Edutopia or comment below!