Teacher Appreciation 2018

The first full week of May is National Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States. It is no secret that I love putting together small gifts or gestures of appreciation for my children’s teachers. Many people work with my kids, so I am always trying to find a gift idea that I can mass produce and is cost effective. When we start counting the various core teachers, special area teachers, and support staff who interact with my 5th and 7th grader on a daily basis, it is over 25 people.

To make sure I do not leave anyone out, I am setting up a beverage bar tomorrow for the entire faculty. I bought 16-oz. Solo cups in a fun color, pretty straws, and a selection of individual sized drinks. My school has an ice machine, but if this is something you are considering for teachers, don’t forget bags of ice too. People can drop in all day to the teacher break area and fix a cold drink to take back to the classroom.

NOTES:

  • Provide a variety of sizes and options. I purchased Coke and Diet Coke in 12-oz and 8-oz cans, sparkly flavored waters, Snapples, and a few sodas in bottles with twist off lids. A twist off lid is great if you don’t want to finish the drink in one sitting (or students return and you have to start teaching again). The smaller soda cans work well if you need a little refreshment but don’t have time for a larger drink.

  • In place of a beverage bar where people go to a common location and serve themselves, you could print a fun, individual label and attach to the Solo cup. THESE LABELS are Avery 5263, 2″ x 4″. Put a can of soda and straw in the cup and deliver to individual teachers.

  • If this is something your school’s PTA or parents’ group is considering for the faculty and staff, they could order Personalized Can Coozies with the school logo to give to teachers. There are many sites that sell party items like this in bulk for groups.
  • Depending on how well you know the teachers, you could kick the beverage idea up a level and give individual gift bags with cocktail kits. There are so many airplane sized liquor options at liquor stores now, it can be fun to give a small bottle of alcohol, a mixer, and a lime. This may not be appropriate for your school community– you be the judge. I did put together a little gift like this for the teachers returning from multi-day field trip with my daughter to Williamsburg, VA. I knew the group of teacher chaperones, and I was pretty confident they would love the gift!

I have many great teacher gift ideas. CLICK HERE for more inspiration.

 

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Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit 2017

Since my children started attending elementary school, I have been cooking up some little back to school teacher emergency kit to give my kids’ homeroom teachers on the first day of school. Each year, the kits are a little different, but the contents are always based on items I need at school but don’t always have. I usually change up the bag or box to hold all of the items, but this fall, I am returning to the plastic bead box with removable divider slots that was the first container I ever used.

The Box: I purchase the bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I remove a few of the dividers to make sections of the box bigger depending on what I have that needs to go in the box.

The Contents: Below is what I included in the kits this time. You could also consider adding things like mints, a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.

  • cough drops
  • safety pins
  • soda money in quarters
  • Blistex
  • Pepto Bismol chewable tablets
  • tweezers
  • disposable toothbrush and paste (one time use)
  • emery board
  • Band-aids
  • hair bands
  • dental flossers

The Labels: I printed THIS 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using a Red Cross style logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the Teacher Emergency Kit Map.

To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2012

Teacher Emergency Kit 2013

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

Teacher Emergency Kit 2015

Teacher Emergency Kit 2016

10 Teacher Gift Ideas

I love teacher gift ideas. I won’t lie. It consumes quite a bit of my time around back to school, holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day, and end of the school year. Since I am both a teacher and a parent, I am conscious of both sides of the gift giving process. My goal when choosing teacher gifts are to think of small items that are cost efficient, practical, thoughtful, simple, useful, and I like the gifts to be attractive.

Here is what works:

  • a thoughtful aspect– there is a personal touch to the gift like a handwritten note (and a handwritten note of thanks is always enough!)
  • a useful aspect– the gift can be used in the teacher’s daily life
  • generic– if you do not know the teacher personally, stick with items that most people like (do not get too specific like Red Hot candies because you think your child had a “red hot” year)

Here is what does NOT work:

  • cute for cute’s sake– a gift that has great packaging but has no purpose
  • teacher stereotypes– things that fall in the apple or school supply motif arena

Below are links to 10 ideas that have a range of cost and crafty levels. All have been tested and received well by teachers, coaches, school support staff, helpful neighbors, party hosts, friends… Click on the name or image to learn how to make the gift.

  1. Teacher Emergency Kit  (I have a few versions of the kit. Click HERE, HERE, or HERE to see different options.)Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit
  2. Teacher Lunch (You could also make a bento style lunch like THIS ONE.)Teacher Lunch Bag Gift
  3. Freezable Meal sausage artichoke soup
  4. Mason Jar Soup Mixes mason jar soup labels
  5. Flavored Sugar or Dip Mixes vanilla bean flavored sugar
  6. Manicure Kit teacher appreciation gift bag
  7. Lottery Tickets (To see a different type of scrapbook paper envelope, CLICK HERE.)paper pocket w lottery tickets
  8. Ribbon Bookmarks ribbon bookmark with journals
  9. Insulated Drink Cups iced tea kit contents
  10. Monogrammed Umbrellas monogrammed umbrellas khaki

I have lots of posts with teacher appreciation gift suggestions. Search Teacher Gifts in the search box on my blog, click on the Teacher Gifts link in the side margin of the blog, or click on the Sirsees tab near my blog header.

Vanilla Sugar

vanilla bean flavored sugar

I have been agonizing over holiday teacher gifts again. Each year I need at least a dozen small gifts for all of my children’s teachers. It is not something I have to do. It is something I like to do. I know how much I appreciate the gifts my students give me at Christmas, so I like to do the same for the teachers my children have. I spend a lot of time finding something that is affordable yet (hopefully) useful.

This year, I mass produced flavored sugars in small jars. Almost all teachers I know drink coffee on a daily basis, and while they don’t need a coffee mug, I thought they might like a coffee “mixer”. The sugar has a little gourmet twist to it with the vanilla bean flavor, and the gift is consumable. Teachers won’t have to store or care for it once it is used. I made extra jars to use as hostess gifts or little sirsees for neighbors.

vanilla bean sugar jar label

Ingredients

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Directions

  • Put 2 cups sugar in a mixing bowl
  • On a cutting board, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the inside of the bean.

flavored sugar vanilla bean seeds

  • Add the vanilla bean seeds to the sugar and mix well.

flavored sugar mixing

  • Put a piece of the vanilla bean pod in the bottom of the jar and add flavored sugar to the top.

flavored sugar filling jars

  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • I purchased my jars at Hobby Lobby during their 50% off glassware sale this weekend. At full price, the jars are about $2.50. They are 3 1/4″ tall with a flip lid.
  • Two batches of sugar filled 18 jars. The jars hold a little less than 1/3 cup.
  • I printed Flavored Sugar Labels and tied the label to each jar with baker’s twine.
  • For a variation, mix 2 c. sugar with 1/4 c. whole cardamom seeds. Add the cardamom sugar to your daily cup of coffee.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

 

teacher emergency kits

Every year I create some sort of back to school gift for my children to give to their new teachers on the first day of school. For the past 3 years it has been a variation on an emergency kit for the teacher.

In case you missed my memo from the past few years, teachers are trapped in the school building until every last student is out the door at the end of the day. There are no quick trips to the grocery store or the gas station for an aspirin or a Coke. If teachers do not bring essentials with them and have a secret stash in the classroom, they are out of luck until the end of the day. Giving an emergency kit to a teacher is a thoughtful gift idea.

teacher emergency kit pouches

The Cloth Wallet

  • This year I found a free pattern for a business card holder with two pockets on Craftsy.com. They weren’t the right size, but I doubled the fabric piece measurements in the pattern to get the size I needed to hold the contents of the teacher emergency kit. I used 11 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ fabric pieces for the outside, lining, and interfacing and 11 1/2″ x 13″ for the pocket. (FYI– You are required to register on the site before downloading the free pattern.)
  • If you are a normal person and don’t have the obsessive need to sew massive amounts of cute little cloth wallets, use a bead box like I did in 2012. If you do like sewing but want a super fast sewing project, make the potholder clutch like the one I made in 2013.

teacher emergency kit contents

The Contents

  • Forehead temperature reader: This is a new addition to the emergency kit. Students love to leave the classroom and take a walk. One way for a student to get out of the classroom is to tell the teacher that he/she does not feel well, so the teacher will send that child to the office for a temperature check. Not anymore. With the forehead temp reader, a teacher can quickly see if a child is in fact a little warm, and the student’s plan to sneak out of the room is foiled. The temp reader is not totally accurate, but it is a good gauge. I found mine at CVS.
  • Advil (I put 5 or 6 in a mini ziploc bead bag I get from Michael’s Crafts)
  • Tums (inserted 5 or 6 in a mini bead bag)
  • Band-aids
  • Blistex (or any kind of chapstick)
  • Dental flossers (in a mini bead bag)
  • Travel size Clorox wipes: Here is another new addition to the kit. I am not a fan of Purell or any of the hand sanitizers. It makes my hands smell and have a funny feel to them. I do like a Clorox wipe. I can quickly clean a surface, desk, spill on a backpack, etc. and then my hands are touching things that are (moderately) clean since I cleaned the item rather than my hands.

teacher emergency kit contents viewAlternate Contents

  • travel size tissues
  • quarters for soda money
  • travel size toothbrush and paste
  • Tampax
  • mints
  • safety pins
  • Sharpie marker
  • travel size sewing kit
  • emery board
  • hair bands or a hair clip
  • travel size lotion– no scent is better

Note

  • If you are a sewer and grab the pattern from Craftsy, the original pattern size is fun to make too and is the perfect wrapper for a gift card. Here is what the two sizes look like.

teacher wallet 2 sizes

teacher gift card 2 pocket wallet

Do you give a back to school gift to your child’s new teacher? What else is a thoughtful sirsee for the beginning of the school year?