Back to School Teacher Gifts?

This really is a post about Teacher Gifts…just keep reading!

Thus it begins…the end of my life.  Just kidding!  However, Stella does graduate from Preschool on Friday night.  Unlike most preschools that held this event in the spring, ours is right at the end of summer.  Since it is a daycare setting, the preschool curriculum does not end in May since the students don’t typically leave for break.  It continues all summer long with fun summertime activities and themed weeks intertwined.  So Friday night will apparently be a big production with caps and gowns and songs that have been worked on for weeks in secret. 

I only put a frowny face on my board for me.  Stella is ready for kindergarten.  Actually, more than ready.  And I’m not really sad to see her go.  I know she’s going to love it.  I’m sad to realize I will now be tied to a school schedule for many years to come.  My one day off each week will now have parameters…kindergarten hours.  And to me that’s a bummer.  That’s an end of a stage in life for me.  It means I have a school-ager.  Yikes. 

Kindergarten starts for us on August 28th.  I’m not nervous for her because it’s only 2.5 hours a day.  I am, however, anxious to meet her teacher.  Being in the same daycare over the years, we’ve gotten to know all of the teachers and always knew who came next.  Transitioning to a new school with new-to-us staff is exciting, but a bit overwhelming. 

And now there are all of these cute little posts on Pinterest for Back to School crafts, class gifts, and teacher gifts.  Eek!  I hadn’t even considered any of that.  For real.  I do have some parting gifts for her preschool teachers.  But all I’ve done so far for kindergarten is find a few “First Day of Kindergarten” printables to have her hold in her photo that morning.

I was always warned about giving teacher gifts.  So many people have reminded me that many kids can’t or won’t bring in things for teachers for back-to-school or birthdays or holidays.  So if you can’t do it discreetly, don’t do it all.  Because at this age it only makes other kids feel bad…whether their parents can’t financially or just aren’t creative or just don’t care!  That the best thing was just to have the student write a nice note or draw a picture to show appreciation.  But how bad is it to add a little gift card in there every now and then to show your appreciation?

So, my question today is….Back to School gift for the teacher, yes or no? 
And if yes, what will you give??
Teachers!  Fill us in…what’s the etiquette? 
What’s the norm?

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6 Responses to Back to School Teacher Gifts?

  1. We always do something small for the first day of school…..some cookies, a jar of candy or something. We do something a lot bigger for holidays, birthday and teacher appreciation. I understand what you said but I feel that teachers deserve a lot more than they get. We always give it to them at dismissal so it is not so obvious.

  2. I am sitting here shocked – have never heard of anything like this! When does it end? Yes their jobs are important and they are underpaid and all of that but so are lots of other people in their jobs. Teachers already have a holiday gift, end of year gift, potentially a birthday gift and also the schools often do “teacher appreciation week” somehwere in the school year too. I personally think that is PLENTY – truly more then PLENTY!!! And let’s not forget how often this year you will be asked to send in extra supplies for class parties, room supplies, fundraising etc etc. Enough is enough already!

  3. My vote? Do it only if you’re excited to to do it. Involve Stella if you plan to do it. It sounds like a chore at this point from your description. There’s no obligation, every family is different, and the first day of school is very busy for everyone (especially the teacher). If it crossed your radar screen due to “Pinterest Pressure,” do something for the teacher at a later time when it feels natural to you. Help in the classroom or ask for the teacher’s wish list and then get something from their wish list for the teacher when it’s NOT the first day of school, the holidays, their bday, or teacher appreciation week. Those stretches of time in the middle are when teachers need our support and acknowledgment most. And by then you’ll have a better understanding of the teacher’s personality, values, and the reasons Stella loves her teacher. 🙂

  4. I’ve never heard of a start of the school year gift. We do Christmas and end of the year but no teacher we’ve ever had has opened gifts in front of the class. I do it because I genuinely want to thank the teachers, and my girls report back on enough things that I think I have a good idea what the teachers might like. I think it’s all a bonus for them…there is no expectation.


  5. This was interesting to me…so of course I asked my Mom who’s taught 1st, 3rd and now 4th graders for many years. She said it’s more common for Kindergarten and even 1st grade but she rarely receives anything from her 4th graders. If they do get something from a student, it’s not opened in front of the class so it’s not something all the others students would see. Her advice was to ask the teacher if there was something they needed for the classroom, if you really wanted to “help out” such as getting extra batteries or other classroom supplies which seemed like a great idea!

    I’ve grown up with my mom being a teacher and I’ve seen first hand how much she does for her students and let’s not forget that most teachers have to purchase A LOT of classroom supplies out of their pocket – including books for their students! They definitely deserve the extra gratitude and support…we should do MORE for them in my opinion! Great teachers are priceless! 🙂

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