With the school year wrapping up, many moms are looking for a way to show gratitude to their child’s teacher. My son’s school takes up a collection, and the class mom buys a gift from all the collected money. I like to participate in that, and I think it’s great, because it takes the pressure off busy moms who don’t have time to find a personalized gift. But I also like to do something extra.
My son has been extremely fortunate in the teachers he has had at Good Shepherd School in Brooklyn. Every time I hear about another teacher doing something horrific in the news, I just cringe, and then I thank my lucky stars that my son has such wonderful educators helping to mold his mind and conscience.
Let’s face it. When you drop your child off at his classroom, you don’t really know what happens when you’re not around. You might get filled in after the fact by your child, but more often than not, leaving your child in the care of another adult is a leap of faith.
Teachers are not just there to teach ABCs and 123s. They do a million countless things every day that never get recognized. My son’s teachers have been a constant source of guidance, encouragement, and stability.
Teachers help children in countless ways each day, and it’s important that we recognize that. Here are some small ways to thank your child’s teacher this year:
Bookstore giftcard. What teacher doesn’t like books or need more? Odds are that a bookstore gift card would be like giving your child’s teacher the keys to a candy store. (It would be for me, too!) I don’t think I could ever get sick of browsing the bookstore aisles.
Not a mug. By the time a teacher has completed teacher training and field visits, she probably already has more than enough mugs that say #1 Teacher on them.
Giftcard for school supply store. All the teachers I have ever known could use more school supplies, and way too many pay for them out of their own pocket throughout the year. This gift is a no fail.
Something they personally love. A few years ago, my daughter had a teacher that was fascinated by frogs. She had frog pictures, statues, earrings … you get the picture. So at the end of the year, my daughter picked out an especially beautiful porcelain frog for her collection. One year, another teacher was obsessed with the New York Jets, and we bought him a Jets souvenir. If you know for a fact that your child’s teacher loves a particular thing, go with it.
A handwritten letter. You don’t have to buy anything to let a teacher know how much she is appreciated. A simple letter telling her why this year was a successful experience for your child means way more than a store-bought gift. And a copy of that letter sent directly to the principal is a nice touch, too. Teachers make a school, and principals should know when a teacher does an outstanding job. Hearing it straight from the parents always helps!
On a personal note, I would like to extend my extreme gratitude to my son’s (and my daughter who graduated a few years ago) principal, Mr. Anthony Paparelli. Having had my three children at three different grammar schools, I have never encountered a principal who cared so much and strived every day to make school a positive, challenging, and fun environment for all his students.
Paparelli was available to the parents every morning and afternoon in the schoolyard, attended countless functions with enthusiasm, revisited curriculums and raised the standards each year, while somehow still managing to find the time to participate in the yearly jumpathon, hand out paper towels in the bathrooms during lunch, chat with parents, and find a million and one ways to make his students love their school and learning. He changed the lives of countless kids, and as he moves on to the next chapter in his career, his absence will surely leave a hole, but it will also leave a legacy of dedication, love, and strength.
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Sullivan also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babbl