Teachers are such an important part of a child’s life.

My daughter — a kindergartner — has an amazing teacher. She has been a huge role model for my daughter this year and really helped her come out of her shell. Saying thank you doesn’t even begin to feel like enough to let her know how I feel.

Luckily, Teacher Appreciation Week — which starts May 7 — is a great time to show teachers how thankful we are for doing something that would be so difficult for many of us. So if you’re like me and want to say “thank you” but don’t know how, check out these ideas below — which were provided by actual teachers in the Omaha area — to give you a good start.

1. Gift cards. I know gift cards feel impersonal to many of us, but to teachers, they are exactly what is needed. It can be for getting dinner, groceries or coffee. Not having to worry is an amazing gift.

2. Theme gifts. Several teachers mentioned summer fun gift ideas. Grab a beach tote and put in a towel, a few magazines or books, and a gift card for ice cream. That is a gift everyone can use!

3. Door hangers. Seasonal door hangers can be used at the teacher’s home or on their classroom door. They are always a hit, according to a Millard elementary school teacher.

4. Group gifts. Ask a few other parents to pitch in for a bigger group gift. An “around the world” themed gift with restaurant gift cards to various places in town is a super fun way to thank your teacher. Pick an Asian, American, Italian and Mexican restaurant, and you’ve got your teacher and their family covered for weeks. Another idea, per one Elkhorn elementary teacher: Get a cute keychain and put gift cards on it. Pick places like Starbucks, Target and Panera Bread, and load each with $10 to $20, depending on how many families participate. One teacher also mentioned receiving a high-end necklace with her initial, an apple and a pencil engraved on a locket. The teacher said it was something she would’ve never spent the money on for herself, but that she loves it and still wears it everyday. A website like eGifter is a great way to electronically get money together from several people for a group gift for the special teacher in your life. 

5. Classroom materials. A gift basket full of classroom materials is a great idea. Many teachers spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms. A Millard high school teacher specifically recommended the website teacherspayteachers.com, which is used by many teachers to order materials. It would be a perfect spot to get a gift card to add to your supply basket.

6. Thank you notes. Hand-written notes were highly ranked. Expressing how much your child has learned and how appreciative you are goes a long way. If your child is old enough, have them write a note or draw a picture as well.

Make sure to ask your Parent Teacher Organization if there is a list of each teacher’s favorite things at your school. My daughter’s school has one and it’s an amazing guide to determine if your teacher likes books, candles or flowers, and where they like to shop and eat.

As a reminder — don’t forget about the middle school and high school teachers. Often times, gifts start going to coaches instead of teachers at this level. But as we all know, kids that age can sometimes be the toughest and your kids teachers may be doing more than you realize. So be sure to thank them as well.

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Jaime Wyant is a 33-year-old Omaha native, wife to Bret and mother to Marin and Liam. She writes weekly for Momaha.com. Read more from Jaime here.

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