Do Teachers Deserve Year-End Gifts? 15 Reasons We Emphatically Say Yes

The end of the school year is the perfect time to say thank you.
Updated May 1, 2024
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From shortages in staff to a nearly constant lack of funding to meet their needs, it’s tough being a teacher. And many are struggling to get ahead financially.

It’s hard to say “thank you” to these valuable professionals who often become members of our families throughout the school year. That’s why they deserve all the gifts at the end of the school year.

Are you unsure why teachers deserve end-of-the-year gifts? Consider these practical reasons.

It’s a simple way to say thanks

spass/Adobe group of cute little preschool kids drawing

Giving a fit to a teacher at the end of the school year is a simple way to say thank you.

Even if it was a rough year with constant emails and projects, your child likely learned something this year, and that teacher deserves to be thanked for the work they did.

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You liked the teacher

Elnur/Adobe young parent old male teacher and little girl in the classroom

Teachers deserve gifts just because, and if you liked that teacher, showing appreciation through a simple gift is well worth it.

If you’ve had numerous children in school in previous years, you already know the difference between a teacher that makes the school year easy and those that may not.

In other words, if you liked the teacher and are grateful for their support, send them a gift.

Teachers create lessons beyond standard book learning

Sidekick/Adobe teacher assisting students with assignment during field trip

Often, students learn best when they have the opportunity to learn in a hands-on way. Sometimes teachers must find unique ways to teach complicated subjects to bored students.

They may create super fun, active lessons that bring learning to life.

If your child’s teacher did something special like this, chances are they put far more time and money into the project to support that unique learning process. So say thanks with a gift.

Some teachers help support basic student needs

Drazen/Adobe happy boy and his teacher during lunch time at preschool

Some teachers help to support the unique needs of students facing financial turmoil and trauma. For example, they may help provide snacks and lunches for students who don’t have them.

Others have even gone as far as buying shoes for students or providing donations for school supplies.

If you know a teacher that is always giving generously beyond what they need to, it is well worth it to give them the support and recognition they deserve through a small gift.

It’s even better when that gift is something they can use outside of work, since chances are good they’re giving up a lot to support those children.

Teachers are paid far less than their peers

fotofabrika/Adobe team of young perspective businesspeople in office

The U.S. Census Bureau found that highly educated teachers are paid far less than other professionals with equal-level degrees.

For example, the average high school teacher earned $57,840 in 2019, while others with the same education earned much more. Statisticians earned $96,320, and urban and regional planners earned $79,790.

Teachers are not paid equally. That should be a reason to do more than give a gift, but that’s the least you can do if there’s room in the budget.

Teachers see more in students

Jacob Lund/Adobe school teacher motivating a troubled school kid outside class

Often, teachers do things to support the growth of students on an individual basis, not just by teaching a lesson.

For example, they may craft a lesson plan that showcases how inner-city students can change the future by recognizing the value of their culture and learning how they can make a difference.

They may see something special in your child. And to support that unique quality or potential to change the world, teachers often provide support that’s more customized to that student.

They’re preparing your student for the future

Drazen/Adobe physical education teacher and group of elementary students

Teachers are often core to supporting your child’s ability to build a successful future. They’re raising your children, even if it is just for a few hours a day.

That goes for the primary teachers and special teachers, like the gym teacher who supports your child dealing with body changes or the art teacher who teaches individual expression.

Say thanks to them for working as your partners in building your child’s future. The small statements they make can be profoundly valuable.

You want them to stick around man with beard geography teacher doing ok sign with fingers

Teachers are vital to the community, and showing appreciation is a core way to encourage them to stick around and remain in the profession.

Teacher turnover is high in many areas, and while there are numerous factors for this, showing appreciation to them could help keep qualified professionals on the right path forward.

You know your child didn’t make it easy

Brian Jackson/Adobe naughty little boy

Perhaps you know your child didn’t always do their best, and the teacher certainly had to do a bit more than they would have for others. Good teachers recognize that children like these need extra support.

If your child’s teacher did more to support your child’s unique need, show them that it meant something to you and your child.

You’ve seen impressive growth in your child

Studio Romantic/Adobe Child high five

Yet another reason to buy a teacher a gift is that they're fundamental in supporting your child’s growth.

Perhaps you’ve seen their confidence grow this year. Your child may come home and say, “My teacher said…“ followed by positive statements about what they're good at or motivational messages.

When your child is growing, recognize that. A simple note of recognition of the role the teacher played is often immensely valuable.

They work hard and deserve it

Monkey Business/Adobe A teacher getting a gift

It’s a simple reason, but a very true one. A small gift is an excellent way to show that you recognize just how hard they work and appreciate it.

That’s especially true when you know they’re putting in long hours. Think about when you get an email at 9 p.m. to remind your child to bring something to school, or they respond to your message over the weekend. They don’t have to, but they do it!

It shows you’ve paid attention

highwaystarz/Adobe male pupil giving teacher end of term gift

Give a gift specific to a teacher’s interests, hobbies, or needs.

Giving them a gift of their favorite coffee or a themed gift from their favorite TV show shows you paid attention to the person helping your child grow.

It may not be you at the desk learning, but they care that you’ve invested time this year too.

They’ve reached a work anniversary

Rido/Adobe mature teacher writing on whiteboard

Is this year the 20th year of their career in education? Perhaps it’s longer! Recognize that accomplishment with a simple gift.

A gift like this could help you show thanks for the work they've done for your student and for supporting the community.

They helped you go on vacation

kerkezz/Adobe family having a vacation with their dog at mountainous area resting on pier together

Many school districts frown on vacations during the school year. As a result, some teachers may be tempted to let their student struggle to catch up when they return.

Others see the value in family time and travel. They may have given your child work to do on the trip or special help getting caught up.

When a teacher does something like this, acknowledge it. Tell them what it meant to you to give you that time with your child and make it easy on you to create meaningful memories.

You know they’re going through a tough time

gpointstudio/Adobe teacher helping girl in homework

Financial hardship, divorce, a death in the family, or many other life-impacting events happen to teachers, too. Yet they have to come to school, put on a smile, and support children who may be fighting over crayons. It’s hard work.

If you know a teacher who struggled the year somehow, give a gift that shows you care. Often, that can be the most important way to say thank you to any person in your life.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe interracial kids hugging happy teacher at table in classroom

It’s always worth it to say thank you to teachers. And if it’s been a tough year for you financially, chances are, they’re trying to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck too.

Look at it from their point of view. They’ve molded, supported, wiped noses, and faced plenty of arguments with children this year, whether it was your student or not.

They likely spend time grading papers, planning lessons, and trying to figure out a way to teach children algebra in interesting ways. Teachers deserve the recognition a simple gift can offer.

Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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