Teachers have an incredible impact on the emotional and physical safety of kids for many of their waking hours, and making a special gift at year’s end is a way to express your appreciation for the role a teacher has played in your child’s and your family’s life. Meaningful gifts do not have to be expensive or cost money at all, but do require a little time and thought.
Most teachers are everyday heroes who dedicate their lives to caring for and educating our children. Teaching is a hard job, and most teachers do it with creativity, compassion, humor, love, and competence, in spite of challenges from struggling kids, insufficient funds, competing priorities, and anxious parents. Most lead kids to build confidence and a belief in themselves as valuable people. As we tell our students at Kidpower, belief in ourselves is the strongest self-protection tool we each have!
And, in the moment of truth in an emergency, whether it is from violence as happened in Newtown or from nature’s fury as happened in Moore, most teachers will bravely lead their students to the best shelter they can find; whisper reassurance, read them stories, and sing songs to help ward off terror; and throw their bodies over them to protect them from harm.
As the school year comes to an end, here are some meaningful gifts to let teachers know how much you appreciate their commitment to the well being of your child.
- Written memories about how they have made a difference. Instead of general acknowledgement, try to be as specific as possible. A few heartfelt lines about something your child said or something you noticed will be cherished for years to come.
- A handwritten thank you note from you as a parent expressing what you have learned from your child’s teacher or what this teacher has meant to you personally.
- A thank you note or drawing that clearly comes from your child rather than being something you dictated. Teaching kids how to give time and effort as their gifts rather than just spending money will serve them their lives long.
- An envelope with cash, universal movie tickets, or gift certificates for two to a favorite restaurant.
- Three hours of time to help with year-end clearing out and cleaning up – or better yet, organizing several parents to help out while teachers grade papers so that they don’t have so much to do after school is out.
- A donation of a teacher’s favorite book to the school library or public library with a note inside saying that this gift is in this teacher’s honor.
- A donation to an organization that you know is close to your child’s teacher’s heart in her or his honor.
- The gift of safety through Kidpower’s free Online Library or easy-to-use books such as the Kidpower Safety Comics.
Teachers are human and, like all of us, not perfect. Of course, our job as parents is to advocate for our children and to speak up clearly, persistently, and respectfully when we have concerns. And, as we teach in Kidpower, “You do not have to be perfect to be GREAT!”
Let’s be sure to notice the countless acts teachers take every day to benefit our kids – and their huge responsibility as protectors when parents are not there! Let’s show these dedicated educators how much we appreciate them – both as this school year draws to a close and throughout the next.