Thoughtful Ways to Thank a Teacher

There’s really no one (other than you) who spends more time with your child than her teacher. For all those hours, days, weeks, and months that are spent developing invaluable skills and character, it can be tricky to come up with an adequate way to say “​THANK YOU​.”

I come from a family of teachers, and I took some time to talk to them about the gifts that really meant something to them over the years. Of course, all of them loved cookies and coffee and gift cards, but those weren’t the gifts they remembered years later.

The thank you gestures they recalled most fondly were the ones that were rooted in authenticity. For the people in our children’s lives who give so much of themselves, here are a few ways for us to really show our thanks in a thoughtful way.

A Personalized Mad Lib

This is a sweet gift for the teacher to receive, but also a nice exercise for your child to reflect on their past year in school. You can type up your own mad lib style card on the computer and have your child fill in the lines (or help them fill them in, whatever the case may be.) An example: “Dear ___________. My favorite part of being in your classroom this year was _____________. One thing I feel proud that I learned was _________. It makes me happy to see you ___________ each day. Other kids will be lucky to have you as a teacher because _____________,” etc.

Gift of Shared Inspiration

Was your 10-year-old really into the plant curriculum his teacher developed? Consider gifting the a book on the growing process for his teacher to use in the classroom next year. If your preschooler was fascinated by the Lego sets at school, you could gift a new set to the teacher on your child’s behalf. Supplies for the classroom might feel impersonal, but every teacher I know has been grateful for these gifts that help strengthen their classroom for years to come. Including a nice note that explains, “I loved learning about __________ this year. Here’s a ___________ I thought other kids in your class would enjoy!”

Tell On Them

Teachers rarely toot their own horns. As a way to make sure your thanks is being heard by the right people, consider sending an email to the administration letting them know just how wonderful you think their employee is and what a difference they made in your child’s education. A cc to the teacher is a nice subtle way to clue the teacher in to all the nice things that are being said about him/her.

Start a Thank You Scrapbook

I hear from many teachers that they save every note and drawing that their students give them. With this in mind, buy a blank scrapbook for the teacher to collect those special items, including

a note that reads something to the effect of, “We know we aren’t the only ones who love having you as a teacher. Here’s a place to keep all your special ‘thank-you’ memories.” Your own child’s picture or thank you note can fill out the first page, then the remainder of the book can provide the teacher a nice place to collect future thank-yous over the years.

Sound Bites

We all know how heart-melting little kid’s voices are, especially when we listen back on them years later. Record an audio clip of your child saying “Thank You” to their teacher, and maybe answering some questions from you about what they loved about the teacher or the school year. With the easily accessible technology we have, the recording can be sent to them online and stored by the teacher on their computer for anytime they want to hear a little pick-me-up.

Don’t be Afraid to Just Say It

It’s wonderful for our kids to express their thanks, but ultimately, the big thanks is coming from us. Some of the most meaningful gestures of gratitude come in the form of just a face to face conversation. Life moves quickly and it’s often hard to connect the way we want to on the spot, so planing out the things you want to make sure to say beforehand can help. Don’t underestimate how important it is to look your kid’s teacher in the eye and tell them just how thankful you are – there is nothing more authentic than that.