Apples, coffee cups, pencils, and rulers: What do these things have in common? Ding, ding, ding — they’re gifts given to teachers every single year. This Teacher Appreciation Week, you can do better by giving teachers something that they’re truly interested in.
No matter their district or grade level taught, teachers are running short on supplies (and patience) by the time Teacher Appreciation Week rolls around in May. Why not give them something to recharge themselves and their classroom for next year? After all, teachers spend $1.75 billion per year, or about $500 per teacher, from classroom budgets and their own pockets on school supplies.
So what should your company give? Well, last year, we joined forced with Teacher Created Materials in order to express our gratitude to deserving teachers. Ten winners were drawn, and each received an abundance of items not only for the classroom but for their personal enjoyment as well. If you’re looking to make a positive impact on teachers lives this Teacher Appreciation Week, consider these great options:
- Gift cards get top marks. Even though teachers appreciate school supplies, they’re looking for a personal treat as the end of the academic year rolls around. Restaurant, Target, and Amazon gift cards are the most coveted cards teachers request. Why not host a contest in which teachers can enter to win something anyone can enjoy, like a $20 Starbucks gift card? Nobody needs morning coffee more than teachers.
- Deals and discounts at a favorite store are always welcome. According to our “Teacher as Consumers” report, 46 percent of teachers will “like” or “friend” brands for sake of discounts. While Walmart tops the list of teacher favorites, Target and Kohl’s are close behind. If your company is looking for a way to reward teachers while getting them shopping, there’s no smarter way to do it than discounts.
- Fund a classroom project to earn extra credit. You can choose a local project or pick one that relates to your particular business. If you’re a tech company like Microsoft, you might set up something like YouthSpark, which partners with teachers to teach IT skills to young people in underprivileged communities. Or, you could take part in an existing teacher project, such as the teachers in Texas, Illinois, and Massachusetts who used a fundraising site called Donor’s Choose to support homeless students, provide laptops, and even stock a school library. This particular charity has made a difference in over 16,000 public schools across the nation. Funding a classroom project can make a difference for the teacher, but more importantly, it can change the lives of the children that it benefits.
- Sponsor a staff party if you want to be the teacher’s pet. What school would turn down a pizza, donut, or barbecue party for their hardworking staff? This would hit right in the sweet spot for food and beverage companies, but it’d be appreciated no matter what your business is. The restaurants Chipotleand 54th Street are just two of many that provide in-restaurant fundraisers to school groups. At 54th Street, the school can earn 15% of the sales. Giving the gift of a party is fun and can provide extra income for the school you’re sponsoring, making it an A+ choice for Teacher’s Appreciation Week.
Making teachers feel appreciated can be as simple as sending a nice thank-you note or as involved as the supply drawing we hosted alongside Teacher Created Materials. But whatever you do, do something. Just 29 percent of teachers receive any type of recognition for the wonderful work they do. Regardless of the gift your business chooses, let 2018 be the year that you show teachers how much they matter.
Still not quite sure what to get your favorite teacher? Download our free “Teacher as Consumers” report to learn what America’s teachers buy, think, and care about.