Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BEST Teacher Appreciation Gift - Tutorial for A Great Letter

Teacher Appreciation Ideas have been all over the blogs lately.  There are a ton on Skip to My Lou.  Since it's coming right after my sister's baby shower, and right before Mother's Day, I haven't been feeling any amazing creative vibes for what to do for Teacher Apprecation Week.  (I've got a few good ideas for an end-of-year gift when I'll have more time.)  Teacher gifts are hard for me to come up with because I'm more than willing to spend time and/or money on something I know they'll really love or use...but since everyone is different, I don't know exactly what that would be.

One thing that everyone loves, though is a sincere compliment...and even better if you share it with their boss.  As part of Firecracker's Christmas gift to her teacher and class aide, I wrote individual letters about them to the principal and included a copy with the card and small gift.  Firecracker's teacher really appreciated it and the next time ran into the principal, the principal told me how much she'd appreciated the letters and that she had passed them on to the superintendent.

So here's how to write an awesome letter:
  1. Be as specific as possible.   Think back to lessons that made a particular impact on your child, things your child came home excited to tell you, things that went over and above expectations etc.  This turned out to be harder than I thought the first time around...not because Firecracker's teacher isn't wonderful, but because things kind of blurred together.  Now I try to make a mental note about things that are especially impressive.  Some of the things I mentioned in my recent letter was her good use of the science time available, flexibility in working things in to challenge Firecracker in reading, and good discipline and helping Firecracker manage her behavior better.)
  2. Ask your child for ideas...I tell Firecracker I'm writing a letter to the principal about her teacher and ask what I should say.  It's cute to hear her answers. 
  3. Include a compliment for the principal as well.  (i.e.  Thanks for running such a great school...I really appreciate the way you support your teachers...
  4. Send or deliver the letter inside a card to the principal (and maybe the superintendent too).
  5. Include a copy of the letter inside a card to your child's teacher with a note telling him/her that you've sent the letter to the principal.  We just made informal cards that Firecracker decorated with cardstock rather than buying one.
  6. You can include a gift too...or not...I can just about gaurantee that the teacher will remember you letter more than your gift.  Our gift this time around is just a small potted flower (I let Firecracker choose it.) with this little note (just the printable, not the fancy stuff).
  7. Think of any other support staff or teacher's at your child's school who deserve special thanks.  Last time I also wrote a letter about the outstanding parapro in Firecracker's classroom, and this time I'm writing a letter for her computer teacher who has been super helpful with keeping Firecracker excited in the reading program at school.
And wouldn't you know by the time I got this letter and post written, I did come up with a cute way to package the flower, but I'll have to wait until Firecracker is home from school to make them...so go write your letter to your child's teacher and come back tomorrow click here for a cute and personalized way to give someone a potted flower.

If you like the card Firecracker colored, you can print off your own from here.


  1. This is a GREAT idea. As the wife of an elementary school teacher (who teaches at a school where most parents are very much NOT involved, unfortunately), I can vouch that letters are ALWAYS appreciated, especially letters that are sincere and have the student's own words included. And so considerate to give a copy to the principal too! Fantastic tutorial.

  2. A+
    Teachers get bashed by the media quite a bit, and it's a wonderful uplift to receive a letter like this. I agree - more memorable than a box of chocolates (and healthier, too).

  3. As a teacher, I can attest to the fact that sincere and specific cards/letters are always the best gift!! They're great to look at years later, too.
    As for gifts, there are a lot of cute generic ideas out there. But things with a personal touch (even just the strawberries from an alert first grader who'd figured out I love them) are always remembered the longest!

  4. I still have one of the personal letters I received as a teacher-the mugs, etc. didn't last quite as long! Great post!

  5. I was working on writing a letter of appreciation for Pinky's teacher when I found this post. Your ideas and tips were perfect! Thank you for sharing Polly!

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