If we’re being really and truly honest with ourselves, EVERY week should be Teacher Appreciation Week. Why?

Because, in this world, there are teachers. And, then there’s the rest of us.

For one, corralling large groups of children isn’t exactly easy. I have two kids and I find it f*cking impossible to get out the door every morning. How one person does it with a classroom of 18 kids (or more) is beyond me.

But, teachers do this. Every. Dang. Day.

You know what else they do? Educate our little DNA recipients. Fill their brains with inspiration and knowledge. They wipe dirty butts and snotty noses. They make crap money to break up fights and encourage tolerance. They see potential when it may not exist outside the doors of the classroom. They fill their classrooms at the expense of their own pocketbooks. They teach humility and kindness. They love. They inspire. They provide stability. And, they show our children how to live, be and act in that big, scary world out there.

Most importantly, they provide our children the tools they need to live a successful life.

You know what I do?

I taught my four-year-old how to pee in the ocean.

Teachers: 1,000pts. Lexi: 0pts.

I spoke to a big group of teachers of varying age groups and got the 411 on what they really want. Here’s what they said…

5. Wine [Teachers…they’re just like us!]

Ummmmmmmm…duh. My four-year-old’s teachers deserve a freakin’ vineyard from me. Hell, I’ll be their personal sommelier.

Seriously, though, when I posed the question of what to get teachers as gifts, I got a response from a mom that said: “Should we send wine?”

And, from that came a chorus of teacher’s singing “YES!”

  • “One of my moms brought me a gift bag with a heartfelt note and a bottle of wine on Tuesday because her daughter had Kindergarten testing and she said that I would need it!”
  • “Wine (but find out what kind the teacher drinks)…”

4. Something Handmade

You know that feeling you when your kid makes you some elaborate art project specifically for you? Yeah. Teachers get the feels, too.

  • “My one student wrote me a poem about how she was a seed and I watered her with knowledge so she could sprout and bloom! I cried and have it in a frame!”
  • “I have a little boy who made (I don’t know the difference between knitting & crocheting) a bright pink bracelet. I try to wear it several times a week.”

3. School Supplies

You know how you work in an office and the office manager makes sure the place is stacked with just about every type of highlighter, pen, pencil, paper clips and paper you can fathom?

Teachers…not so much.

According to the Education Market Association, “On average, most [teachers] spent nearly $500 last year, and one in 10 spent $1,000 or more.”

And, that’s there’s personal money.

So to you, I say, “What kind of serious BS is that?!”

  • “I also like classroom supplies & books for our classroom library.”
  • “I love teaching supplies or things we could use in the classroom.”
  • “My favorite gift ever was a monster pack of color permanent markers!”
  • “Expo markers are the best with a heartfelt thank you card”
  • “I am obsessed with flair pens so I get overly excited about those.”

2. Gift Cards

This seems like a given, considering teacher pay in North Carolina is 41st in the country. I mean, sure, we’re not all rolling in the dough. But, when your job as a teacher consists of ensuring the future of our nation, welp, that’s ridiculous. And, don’t EVEN get me started on the piss-poor wages the folks working in childcare development centers and daycares make.

  • “Gift cards are always a hit!”
  • “Gift cards are nice.”
  • “As far as an actual gift, a gift certificate to her salon is always a hit.”
  • “Gift cards to Dollar Tree or teachers supply stores.”
  • “You can’t go wrong with a gift card. (General cards like Visa or Target allow teachers to buy a variety of things. Chances are, they will put it back into their room!)”

1. Handwritten Notes

Write it down, sister. Remember when the preschool teacher texted you a couple of pictures of your little ones from her personal phone because she knew you were on a business trip? Or, when you child’s 4th grade teacher spent her free period coaching your kid through a tough reading exercise? Or, when your kid’s HS teacher sent you a note about some potential bullying situations?

Now would be the time to write that sh*t down. Say thank you with a heartfelt note. This was, bar none, the one gift that means the most. PS: It doesn’t cost a dime.

  • “Genuine notes honestly mean the most. Not just a “thank you,” but actually writing!”
  • “The genuine notes and pictures mean the most.”
  • “I love notes from my students’ parents (or from the students themselves, but at 4 and 5 it’s sometimes easier for the parents to write it).”
  • “Really, I like heartfelt notes written by the kids I am teaching. The end of the year is stressful and is the time teachers feel overwhelmed with behaviors and testing and other things.”
  • “I love things the kids make – pictures, notes, etc.”
  • “A note/card from my students/parents have always been my favorite gifts!”
  • “I appreciate any thought and thank you, but I don’t need “teacher trinkets” – after 12 years, I have a ton!”

PS: Other Stuff Teachers Want

Hanging plants, Tervis cups, fun pens

“One of my 3rd grade boys asked his mom if he could buy me a sparkly rhinestone costume jewelry bracelet he saw at the mall, so I wore it very proudly as long as he was in my class.”

“I got a beach towel and summer magazine one year with a really cute note and cookies. I thought that was really cute!”

“I got an umbrella with a school logo it was my favorite thing! I was high school teacher so we didn’t get items form parents. My mom got a personalized clipboard and tervis cup and loves both. She was a middle school teacher.”

A rather prevalent comment I received: High school teachers get jack for Teacher Appreciation Week. How ridiculous is that?? C’mon, people. Step. It. Up.

And, finally, “NO MORE MUGS.”