The end of the school year is just around the bend. As you approach it, there are many things on your mind, from signing your children up for summer camps to helping them prepare for finals. There’s one item to add to your list that you may not have thought of yet: Buying gifts for your children’s teachers.
You know what we’re talking about. Maybe you saw the kids who brought in the “World’s Best Teacher” mug on the last day of school every year—or maybe you were one of those kids and you remember your mother writing out a careful note to your teachers each May. Though not every parent in the world prepares gifts for teachers at the end of the school year, there are several reasons why you should. The tradition of giving gifts to teachers isn’t old-fashioned. In fact, it’s a great teaching opportunity to show your children how to express gratitude in an appropriate way.
Expressing Your Gratitude
Five days a week, eight hours a day, teachers take your children in and teach them things they need to know to get along in this world. It’s a better deal than you get out of any daycare around. And in the case of public school, you don’t even have to pay for this service.
Of course, you could be of the mindset that this is their job and they are paid to do it. Plenty of us have lamented teachers’ schedules, with summers and holiday guaranteed off every year. At the end of the day, however, teachers make far less money than they’re worth. No one goes into teaching hoping to make a million dollars. They do it because they want to help the next generation of children—and that’s something to be grateful for.
Teaching Your Children to Express Gratitude
In addition to expressing your own gratitude, having your child hand-deliver a thank you gift at the end of the year teaches them the importance of saying thank-you. It’s easy for students to take their teachers for granted. After all, our children aren’t given a choice about whether or not to attend school each term. However, as parents, we know the value of our children’s teachers. Helping them hand-write a note to their teacher at the end of the year is an opportunity for them to reflect on how their teacher actually helped them and what their teacher meant to them. It also serves as a good example to your child going forward about how to express gratitude.
Of course, when giving gifts at the end of the year, it’s important to be sensible. This isn’t a time to be over-the-top. You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars for the latest tablet. Often, a hand-written note expressing your gratitude, along with a note from the student, is plenty to tell your child’s teachers how much they mean. If you are going to spend money, be sure it’s on something that won’t clutter their house unnecessarily, and on something that costs less than $25. The point here isn’t to compete with other parents to give teachers the most lavish gift; the point is a sincere expression of gratitude. A sweet personalized keychain is likely to mean more to them—and last longer—than an expensive bottle of wine anyway.