As summer turns to fall, millions of kids look to the start of the school year. While this time is pretty predictable most years—the supplies students need and the return to a school building—that predictability isn’t there this year. With the risk of kids and teachers catching and passing COVID-19 to others in the school and their families, school policies are different this year. Some schools are entirely remote for now, while those gathering together have mask and distancing regulations in place among other policies.
If you have a child starting school, you’re probably stressed about doing what’s best for them. Still, beyond those hard considerations, don’t forget the plight of their teachers. They must keep every student safe by enforcing the school’s policies while creating a classroom that’s still conducive to learning. As a parent, you can lend a hand here—give teachers the best back-to-school gifts ever to start their stressful year off on a good note. Because you only want to get them what they really want, here are thirteen gifts to give your new teacher this year.
For the First-Year Teacher
Could you imagine becoming a firefighter one week before massive forest fire broke out in your area? Starting a teaching career with the coronavirus looming feels about this jarring. People always talk about the first year being the hardest, but this seems like a particularly impossible challenge right now. To ease first-year teachers’ burdens and show you’re behind them every step of the way, here are some classroom and personal items to give.
New teachers must build their classroom from the ground up. Depending on the support they receive from the school, this can be a pricy proposition as they buy decorations. Supplement what they have by either giving them a gift card towards it or buying general decorative borders, themes, posters, and décor they can use to fill out their classroom. With your gift in hand, they can create an exciting classroom instead of going all year with a bare setup. And, rather than a purely aesthetic preference, being able to decorate well does help students succeed as they settle into the space.
Every teacher wants games to pull out during downtime, and while these are nice long-term, many physical board games don’t work because students need to touch the game materials to play.
Instead, gift board-less games that groups can play together. Whether it’s a story-building game, a fast-paced word game (similar to Zip Zap Zop), or a Simon Says-esque movement game, your student’s new teacher would appreciate the ideas. To go the extra mile, send them an exhaustive document with each game’s rules written out.
Teachers accrue stuff. As your student’s teacher gets new things, make sure they have ample space to contain them. A few plastic crates usually do the trick. Depending on the layout of their classroom, the types they’d want could vary—flat crates that fit under a shelf could come in handy. Consult them on this one.
Personal Desk Supplies
While parents supply common items such as tissues and craft supplies, don’t be afraid to give teachers some personal items for their desk, too. Stocking their desk with plenty of paper organizers, staples, paper clips, and pictures frames helps their workspace come alive. During COVID-19, they’re likely aren’t paying much attention to this facet of school life, so your gift may be much-needed.
A Big Bag
Having four classes of 30 students creates a load of paperwork to cycle through every day. When students take a multi-page test, the piles of paper only ramp up. To help your child’s teacher move their things from school to home, get them a bag capable of tackling everything. This can serve whatever purpose teachers need it to, making a bag the perfect first-year tool for teaching success.
More than any other gift, your words of encouragement acknowledging the challenge of teaching this year are helpful. Putting words to what they’re feeling may even help them reflect on the coming challenge without feeling quite so alone. Consider reaching out to other parents, so they can do the same. That way, your kid’s teacher will feel as much support as possible.
For the Language Arts or Social Studies Teacher
Brand-new teachers need extra help, but even established teachers need resources to get through the coming year. Here are a couple of items that would do a language arts or social studies teacher good.
All Kinds of Books
A classroom will not have all the same tools as before the pandemic—games of many kinds are off-limits—but books remain a staple of learning kids can access, especially for language arts and social studies lessons. To give kids access to more titles in a time when exchanging them isn’t so easy, give teachers books. New ones that everyone’s grasping for, classic ones that will never grow old, books for class-wide social-emotional learning—they’re all good options right now.
A Magazine Subscription
Another capable tool for processing current events is magazines. Gift a teacher a class-wide subscription (school-permitting) to Time for Kids or another publication, and they’ll thank you a hundred times over. You may be surprised how useful this is—reading kids’ oriented magazines may even spark a class project on journalism and writing that helps the class come together during this strange time.
For the Math Teacher
Furthermore, a math teacher has their own category of helpful gifts.
While many posters don’t have substance, math class is where kids rely on them. To explain perimeters, decimals, and other subjects, teachers need some kind of visual aid. Posters are reminders of these concepts that help them sink in permanently. The best part is that they don’t require physical contact, so every student in a COVID-19 classroom can use them.
Another good gift to give your teacher this year is some piece of math-related décor. It’s a shame that some students don’t find math exciting, but you can help fight this impulse by decking out a teacher’s room with cool stuff.
For the Science Teacher
Transitioning to the science room, there are plenty of options for fun gifts.
A Gift Card to a Pet Shop
Science teachers love the experiential aspect of teaching, and animals often play a role in that. Help them (literally) feed kids’ hunger for learning by getting a gift card they can use to care for the class pet. And, if they haven’t pulled the trigger yet, they can do so after your gift.
Your child’s science teacher likely has a stock of plants to give some sign of life. While the gift card can go towards getting more, you can also directly gift them intriguing plants that’ll play into class lessons.
A Teacher Appreciation Plaque
While first-year teachers deserve a thoughtful card, so does each veteran teacher going back to school. They need your words of support to power through this tough year. To go along with this, consider making a bigger gesture as well. As the year gets going, reach out to other parents and, if they feel led, go in on a beautiful teacher appreciation plaque together to memorialize this odd year before it even gets going.
For any other high-quality crystal gifts, get in touch with Crystal Central. We specialize in celebrating and encouraging people with custom crystal plaques as they go through all kinds of changes, including graduations, retirements, ordinations, and more.