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Class or Group Teacher Appreciation Gifts

"In union there is strength."
Aesop (7th/6th century BC), ancient Greek writer of fables
Sometimes, rather then showering a teacher with individual gifts on Teacher Appreciation Day, at the end of the school year, or when a favorite teacher is retiring, a class or group of friends might prefer to club together to buy a single larger and more expensive gift. Alternatively, a class or group of friends may decide to combine efforts to make a very special personal gift.
These group gifts can be a great option for teachers who have been in the profession for a long time, and probably already have shelves of the classic teacher gifts such as mugs, plaques, desk tidies and totes. They can also help to avoid any whisperings of 'apple polishing' , or suspicions of favoritism however unfounded that might occur when some families are in a position to give much larger teacher gifts than others.

Combining funds tips to keep it fair

When organizing a group or class gift, bear in mind that just because a contribution of, say, $10 doesn't seem like much to you, it doesn't mean that everyone else feels the same. Anyone with financial issues (which may well not be obvious to others), or who has several children, may find the expectation to contribute a fixed figure a source of real stress.

Better, then, to distribute plain envelopes and ask people to hand them back sealed and unmarked with their contribution. That way people can give what they truly want to give, rather than feeling pressured to give more than they would otherwise choose to, or can afford.

Also, be certain that the group gift that you choose to buy doesn't exclude or offend any of the families who wish to contribute. For example, some families may feel uncomfortable contributing towards a gift of alcohol, and neither Muslim nor vegan families are likely to be happy about the gifting of a festive ham.

Here are 10 ideas for great group and class teacher gifts

1. Book as keepsake

A wonderful keepsake for any teacher is a book created with contributions from each child in the class. It could be a scrap book of pictures and school memories, a collection of poems and/or thank you notes written by each child (and maybe their parents too), a compendium of inspiring teacher-related quotes, or a compilation of favorite jokes contributed by the children. Whether hand made or professionally printed and bound it's sure to be a book that your teacher will treasure forever.

2. Class poster

Make a poster of the whole class. Photo: flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/Make a poster of the whole class.
Take photos of each child in the class or get them to draw or paint self-portraits and create a beautiful big class poster (make it by hand on a sheet of heavy cardstock, or have it professionally produced and even framed). Alternatively upload the photos onto a digital photo frame a fun gift that will serve as a great memory of your class, and can be used for his or her personal photos too.

3. Personalized video

Another whole class project that your teacher is sure to enjoy is a special personalized appreciation and thank you video. Planning, filming and editing footage into a finished 'mini movie' is sure to be great fun (and a great learning experience) for the kids, and burnt onto a DVD the result will be a wonderful record of your class that can be watched over and over again.

4. Hand painted plates and mugs

An art project for the whole class could involve the creation of a hand painted set of plates and mugs, a tea set or even a dinner service! To give a 'matching' feel to the set, decide on a general theme (flowers, self portraits, school items or spots & stripes are just a few examples). This is a gift that will require some organization and access to a kiln, but plenty of potters and local arts studios will be happy to help.

Alternatively, get each child to use ceramic or porcelain pens to create a single special commemorative plate, or purchase a plate painting kit (see, for example, these if you are in the US, and these if you are in the UK).

5. Product club membership

For a gift that stays fresh and keeps on giving for a whole year, consider signing your teacher up for membership of a 'product of the month' club. There's a huge variety to choose from, from chocolates, cakes and cookies, to coffee, wine, and even pizza!

6. Books

Any teacher who loves to read is sure to be thrilled to receive a gift of the top 30 (or however many children there are in the class) books from the New York Times Fiction or Non-Fiction Best Sellers list. Or your teacher may prefer a bundle of movies, albums, or audio books from their respective list or chart.

7. Big ticket item for school

For a gift that will remain part of your school as a symbol of the respect and affection your class holds for your teacher, why not club together to purchase a 'big ticket' item for the school, inscribed with your teacher's name and a dedication. Ideas might include a bench for the schoolyard, a piece of playground equipment or a set of books or a digital encyclopedia.

8. 'Adoption'

To immortalize your teacher's name far beyond the school gates, adopt an acre of threatened rain forest or coral reef, thereby saving it for posterity in his or her name. Another idea is to 'buy' a star and name it for your teacher this can be a fun and meaningful gift, but do be aware that your naming of a star will be purely symbolic and can have no official validity.

9. Cash

We all know that 'money talks' and in these shaky economic times what teacher wouldn't appreciate a simple wad of cash! Dress it up a little to make it more fun to give (and less awkward for your teacher to receive) by creating a huge fake check made out for the total amount (great for photos!), a bouquet of money hearts and flowers, or a tableaux of money origami models.

10. Gift card

If cash seems a little too 'up front', then why not opt for a big fat gift card! It's best not to make it anything too specific unless you're absolutely sure of what your teacher would like to spend it on... So something that offers lots of options such as a Visa Gift Card or Amazon Gift Card is a good choice.

More about Thanking Teachers:

100 Teacher Thank You Gift Ideas:

Writing Teacher Thank You Letters, Notes & Cards: