The Real Gift Every Teacher Wants, But Would Never Admit


Dear Frantic, Wide-eyed, Panicked Mama,

It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are opening their dainty petals to soak up the midday warmth. Oh, and school’s almost out for summer. (Insert panic attack here)

It’s coming in hot, y’all, so I hope you’re ready. You likely have a few summer camps all lined up… or at least on your radar. You may have a vacation or two in the works, and maybe even plans for family or friends to come out to the majestic Rockies for a visit.

But before I go and kick your school’s-about-to-end anxiety into high gear, you still have time. So just relax. Take a deep breath. It’s not here quite yet. Something else is, though—that thing that some moms have had in the back of their minds all year long, while others of you are currently scrambling about like chickens with your heads cut off.

That’s right—it’s time to bestow upon your child’s teacher the perfect end of the year gift.

The Big Question

And on Facebook, Instagram, and local mom groups, I notice the same question asked all the time. Over and over and over. What do I get my child’s teacher?

As a former first grade teacher, I decided it was high time that someone gave a little insider information to help the perplexed, (Dare I say clueless? Too far? So sorry.) but oh-so-grateful mamas out there with the epic end of the year gift conundrum.

So, are you ready for it? Do you have your notepad and pen out? Let’s be real—is the little yellow notepad up on your phone? Okay, good. Let’s do this.

The Gift Every Teacher Really Wants

  1. For you to read the school or classroom newsletter, consistently. As in, every time there’s a new one.
  2. For you to check your kid’s Friday or Monday or Green or Purple folder each week. Whatever comes home, take a look at it. Even just a passing glance would be lovely.
  3. For you to be invested in your child’s education. Whatever capacity that may be, whatever that looks like for you and your family and your unique home life, simply be invested. Your child senses the importance you give—or don’t give—education, so devoting time and energy to your child’s education makes a lasting impact.
  4. For you to view her as a partner in your child’s education. Trust that she has his best interest at heart, and if you’re uncertain about a particular decision or procedure or strategy, talk to her about it. Don’t come in guns blazing, throwing accusations about like tiny arrows. First, take a moment to listen to her heart, then go from there.
  5. For you to understand that he is exhausted, overwhelmed, and wholly consumed by this career, but he wouldn’t change it for the world. He was called to be a teacher, so here he is, following that passion and doing the best that he can with the resources that he has been provided to mold and shape your child’s mind. And heart. And life.

The Blank Slate

So, while it may be too little, too late, I felt it was worth sharing.

Now if you genuinely want to gift her a material item to show your gratitude this year, I have yet to come across a teacher who didn’t adore a sweet, handwritten note from her student accompanied by a gift card. Nothing extravagant; no huge sum. I know that might not be what you wanted to hear. But I promise, I’m just trying to help you out.

Here’s to hoping that your kids have had an incredible school year that will launch them into an unforgettable summer. And a little reminder that as long as you’ve been present and engaged, you’ve already given your child’s teacher the most coveted gift there is.

And if not this year, maybe the next. Each year is a new opportunity to turn things around and start fresh, so seize that blank slate and make it count. Plus, now you’ve got a three month head-start, right?


Your Friendly, Honest, Has-Been Neighborhood Teacher


  1. My son is in Pre-K. . . So I am so glad you wrote this! I have lacked at reading the messages sent home and struggled with “homework”. . . But next year I will be ready and prepared! Thank you for your insight into a world unknown to many. Thank you to all the teachers who help mold our little children into amazing people!

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