Your Child’s Teacher Does NOT Want That!

Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week from an actual teacher!

Just because a gift looks good does not mean it’s not a Pinterest FAIL!

Written By: Natalie Jean Hutchings

I get the unique experience of teaching at the same school my son attends.  I work in the middle school setting, so not only do I get to hear EVERYTHING that is going on from the hallway conversations, but any gossip that I might have missed out during the day, I get the 4-1-1 on the car ride home. Today’s topic was Teacher Appreciation Week.  My son Alex and his friends are under the assumption that teachers actually WANT Pinterest-homemade gifts.  He went as far to argue with me that it’s “thoughtful,” and his teachers would love something he personally made.  While for a whopping 2 seconds I thought this was sweet and cute that he wanted to make his teachers a gift, I soon realized I was doing my child and teachers everywhere a disservice by not setting him straight!  So here we go…


A THOUGHTFUL gift is an item that the person you are gifting to would actually want.  I used the following example: if his sister gave him a paper doll for his birthday, would he appreciate it?  The hours she spent making the interchangeable outfits, the shoes and awesome doll accessories would truly mean nothing because he has no need or want for a paper doll.  Yes, she loves her brother, but the paper doll gift is not a true reflection of her brother’s interests.  Therefore, the gift does not show her true appreciation for Alex and he would never use the gift.

I’m not saying that homemade gifts are out of the question.  I’m simply suggesting to not go Pinterest-crazy.  Instead give a gift that will make your child’s teacher feel like you appreciate the hard work and dedication the job requires.  As a teacher, my favorite gifts are notes from parents (or kids) attached to a giant chocolate bar.  Keep it simple, and keep it personal!  Here are a few more ideas for every budget (and craft-handicapped parents as well).



A note from a parent and/or student.

I have an entire file devoted to student, parent and administration letters.  On those days where I need a pick me up, I break out my positive file, and I read, read, read.  One of my first years teaching, I had a classroom mom that created the “WE LOVE YOU” folder for me.  She had parents and students write me letters, and she put everything together in a brightly colored folder.  I had never thought of the idea before, but it’s genius.  Everyone has days where we feel unloved and under-appreciated.  This folder is a real pick-me-up.  And I must admit, it might take me a week to grade a class set of essays, but I can make it through my folder in a day.




Enough said.  Unless your child’s teacher has dietary needs that forbid him/her from eating chocolate, then a simple candy bar with a “You are Sweet” on it is perfect.  Chocolate can be consumed at any time of day and is a simple reminder of the love you have for your child’s teacher.


Hand Sanitizer

Kids are dirty.  I have seen some cute little sayings for Hand Sanitizer that could easily be added to the bottle, to spruce it up for teacher appreciation week.  “Hands down, you are the best teacher”,  “Germs and Jesus are everywhere, so say your prayers and wash your hands”.  For a Germ-X bottle: “You are an eXcellent teacher”



It seems at the end of every year I am buying more sticky notes, pens, sharpies and white board markers. It is nice to receive the occasional restock of supplies.



Gift Cards

Universally, I feel that the gift card is probably your safest bet for a gift.  Whether, you are gifting to your 13 year old son, your crazy mother-in-law or your child’s favorite teacher, gift cards are the way to go.  However, not everyone can afford to give a gift card to 7 different teachers.  Trust me, with a son in middle school I understand.


Bottom line: 

Teachers do not expect gifts for teacher’s appreciation.  However, I know as parents we want to show our support and appreciation for everything they do. If you are going to spend money on a gift for anyone, not just a beloved teacher, make sure it is a gift that is THOUGHTFUL and not a Pinterest win.  Save the $5.oo you would spend on a glass painted mason jar and give your child’s teacher a pack of pens or a $5.oo gift card to Target.  Besides what teacher would want to display a glass jar in a room full of kids.

Gift smart people!


Nat Hello all, I am Natalie Hutchings(34), but most people call me Nat.  I am a mother to the most wonderful son on Earth (Alex – 13) and the most endearing daughter in the Universe (Olivia Jean – 5).  My husband, Allen, and I have been together since July 9, 2005 and he is my rock, my co-pilot, my refuge. I have worked for the Hillsborough County Education system since 2004.  I have taught all grades K-8.  Our household is filled will laughter and love.  We are loud, opinionated and extremely competitive. But most importantly, we are there for each other.  My husband and I believe a strong education is the key to happiness and Sundays belong to the church and golf course.   WE ARE THE HUTCHINGS!


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