Teachers deserve more than an apple or freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils when it comes to showing them your appreciation. So why not do something thoughtful to show them how grateful you really are? Here are five ideas for recognizing and thanking your children’s amazing teachers.

1. Nominate a teacher for an award!
The Oregon Lottery has partnered with The Oregon Department of Education to offer a Teacher of the Year program! Nominate a teacher who truly inspires students and makes a difference in the community. The winning teacher receives $5,000 and a special fund to cover all travel costs for the year, plus $5,000 for his or her school. Just in the past two years, the Oregon Lottery has awarded $537.7 million to K-12 public education. (That’s about $460 per student each year!) Nominations for the 2021 award are open until January 31, 2020. And just think about all the textbooks, computers, services and equipment that money can buy!

2. Say something special
Let your child’s teacher know how much you appreciate them by putting pen to paper and writing a heartfelt and sincere note. Be specific with your gratitude. Tell them what they do that you find so wonderful and valuable for students. If you have a specific story to highlight then go for it. There is perhaps no such thing as too much praise in this case! Then, have your child write a card with a poem and/or drawing that illustrates what an impact the teacher has had in their life.

3. Give a really great gift card!
Who doesn’t love permission to buy something just for fun? Pick out a gift card for your child’s teacher and know that they will appreciate the gesture. There are practically infinite online retailers to choose from, in addition to local restaurants and bakeries, bookstores, spas or salons, and fancy food markets.

4. Make something delicious in the kitchen
You don’t have to be a great chef to whip up something sweet to gift a teacher. Bake a batch of cookies, brownies or muffins either from scratch or from a store-bought box. Even better if you enlist your kid to help you! You can have fun in the kitchen making roasted chickpeas or nuts, a warm soup or sauce, homemade granola or whatever your family enjoys and wants to share with a special teacher.

5. Shop local!
Track down the most popular favorites at all your local haunts and get a little something from each store. Grab the best coffee beans, bagels or doughnuts, deli pickles and a gift certificate for a manicure around town and wrap up everything in a basket or tote to gift to your child’s teacher with a quick note of thanks.


Do you know a deserving teacher making a difference for students in your community? Nominate them for Oregon Teacher of the Year at OregonTeacherOfTheYear.org!

—Whitney C. Harris