I find that thanking the school staff who often get overlooked, is one of the best ways to show appreciation. However, it can be a tricky and costly venture, so here is a suggestion for who to thank and how to do so.
Appreciation leads to respect and help! As a teacher, I find it’s most important to recognize administrative staff, custodial staff, and technology staff. That being said, I'm also aware that there are other key players that deserve recognition as well:
If you can't recognize everyone, consider setting up a "rotation of appreciation". Prior to winter break "give thanks" to your librarian, PE teacher, bus driver etc., and at the end of the school year "give thanks" to administration, custodial workers, and technology staff. As teachers, its important that we always remember educating students is a group effort... despite the sometimes lonely moments in the classroom. By showing appreciation to the various people that make up our school community, we will foster an environment of gratitude and unity!
My Top 8 Favorite Gifts for School Employees
1. Individually Wrapped Food Items
From chocolates to bags of popcorn, food is often an easy and inexpensive way to recognize those you appreciate. However, keep in mind that some folks may be on diets or have food sensitivities that would prevent them from enjoying your gifts.
2. Lip Balm
I cannot tell you how many lip balms I have, as they are constantly disappearing. This gift is one that is always helpful, and you do not have to worry about any negative ramifications of food. I especially like the Eros ball lip balms as they are quite a fancy surprise, but you can find them in larger quantities in bulk food stores.
I have yet to find someone who cannot appreciate a permanent marker for school or home. I tend to wrap two or three together with a note saying “You’re Sharp!” Again, look at bulk stores to find large quantities of Sharpies at a low price.
4. Post-it Notes
To continue the office supply theme, I know how much we love Post-its in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. Sometimes I will pair a sharpie and post-it notepad together with a note scribbled on the top.
5. Relaxation Items
By the time holiday break or summer comes around, educators are exhausted! Teachers will treasure small gifts like a pair of fuzzy socks, bath bombs, calming teas etc. Many of these items can be purchased at the Dollar Store!
Most teachers try to consistently add new books to their classroom library! Go to a local thrift store (or dig through your books at home) and look for a recent bestseller or classical tale to give as a gift. Both teacher and students will cherish this gift!
7. Anti-bacterial Lotion
I know that most people working in schools try to keep a stash of anti-bacterial lotion on hand at all times. Giving someone a mini-bottle with a note reading “Thanks for keeping me happy and healthy” is a nice, yet cost-effective way to show your appreciation.
If you like the ease and practicality of gifting gift cards, have no fear… teachers love gift cards! Amazon, iTunes, Dollar Tree, Coffee Shops, you can’t go wrong. Just remember to keep the gifted dollar amount small!
In the end, giving everyone the same present helps you buy in bulk and type one (often funny) message you can attach to every package. The goal is to keep your gift useful and hopefully, no matter what, the recipient will appreciate your sentiments.
P.S. Not only as a teacher, but also as the parent of two school-age children, I find these gifts work well for all the people who help with my childrens’ education!