Most Popular Teacher Gifts

Forget about putting an apple on your teacher's desk. Instead, a "thank you" or a simple card is the gift to give. Nearly 2,500 teachers responded to the NEA teacher gift online poll that was conducted in March and April 2007. Nearly half of the teachers polled - 48 percent - chose "hearing the words thank you/receiving a thank you card." Receiving a gift certificate came in second place with 30 percent of the vote, followed by "an appreciation breakfast or lunch" with 15 percent of the vote. Bringing up the rear was "receiving flowers or a plant" (6 percent), and in last place was "receiving an apple" (1 percent). Talk about dispelling stereotypes!

Many students will continue to give traditional gifts, but with a little education, maybe teachers will begin hearing the words "thank you" more often. There are many ways students can express their thanks to teachers through their behavior. Students can stay after class for a few minutes to help the teacher clean up. Students can leave a personal "thank you" message in the teacher's voice mail box.

Parents can set the example by showing appreciation for teachers on a regular basis. Parents can send notes of appreciation to school with children, or write brief messages for the teacher in their child's planner. Parents can help children with home-made thank you notes from time to time as well. Occasionally, home-made baked goods paired with greeting cards would be appropriate. Teachers should get the gift they deserve most-hearing that their efforts haven't gone unrecognized.