My eldest child is in the final term of her reception year, and recently I’ve come across a few mentions of ‘Thank you gifts’ for teachers. New to this school lark, I was oblivious to the amount of effort people put in to these gifts… apparently it can get a bit competitive.

I was initially going to send a card, my first thoughts were, “Oh it’s just one of things that has been blown out of proportion like the whole excessive prom culture that’s grown over the last 15 years” (what’s that all about!?) but then I thought if there is ever a time for teaching staff to feel appreciated it’s now. Their wages are decreasing in real terms but the hard work and stress is increasing with less funding, understaffing etc. This is probably just skimming the surface but the idea of my daughter’s teachers and teaching assistants reining in a class full of 5 year old kids, teaching them the foundations of their whole education, dealing with the kids’ practical and emotional needs… while just generally handling a full day of noise is pretty impressive – not forgetting the admin and planning after the children have gone home… exhausting and inspiring.

So, what would be the best little gesture or gift we can give to genuinely say thank you? I was interested to see what my teacher friends & those involved in education actually thought about the whole ‘Thank you gift’ thing, so I posted on my personal Facebook page to ask them… I was given so many gems of ideas I felt they were definitely worth sharing…

Just a card!
Just a genuine heartfelt written message seemed to mean the most to my friends with teaching experience. A bonus hand made card with a short message from their little student is a nice touch too.

This was the second most popular suggestion… I don’t need to elaborate on this do I really?

Collective gifts
If the class parents are a pretty close knit community, clubbing together for a gift card to a local spa, shopping mall, restaurant is pretty fail safe.

Personalised gifts
The market for this is huge but apparently the smaller the personalised gift the better… keyring, stationery, coaster etc.

Hand made gifts
One of my teacher friends was slightly weirded out upon receiving a framed photo of the child they were teaching… maybe that’s too personal of a gift. Another friend suggested a jar of sweets layered in a rainbow formation or a bit of home baking with a little handwritten message on the tag.

Plant for the garden
Surely a winner as it could be planted at home or at school… a tag with a “Thank you for helping me grow” would be a nice touch.

House Plant
There are lots of little low-maintenance cactus plants & succulents available in nice little desk size pots about at the moment… usually costing under a fiver!

One of the strongest memories of my old teachers is always seeing them with a mug of coffee in their hand. How about a nice bag of ground coffee and maybe a mini cafetière if you want to push the boat out? I’ve decided to buy a gift voucher for a little café local to the school so the class team of teachers and teaching assistants can all go for an end of term cuppa together.

Hand cream
A little tube/pot of daily luxury!

No doubt they’ll have a summer’s worth of chocolate supply handed to them on the last day of term, but does chocolate EVER go to waste?

1. Liberty Ground Coffee from John Lewis, £10

2. Wild Rose Hand cream from Neals Yard Remedies, £10

3. Personalised keyring from Not on the High Street, £8

4. A selection of personalised Thank You cards from Papier, £3.35