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Teacher Appreciation & Thank You Ideas: Gifts of Service

"The most important things in life aren't things."
Anthony J. D'Angelo, founder of The Collegiate EmPowerment Company and creator of the Inspiration book series.
When you want to do something nice for a favorite teacher, remember that buying or making something isn't your only option. The gift of a smile or a simple word of thanks, a moment taken to help, or your enthusiastic effort and participation can all be just as valuable and appreciated as the prettiest wrapped-up gift.
Most of these 'gifts of service' cost nothing and require little or no advance preparation or planning. And as they come from the heart, you can be sure that they reflect the true meaning of thankfulness and gratitude. So go ahead make a habit of offering these intangible gifts to your teachers, not just on Teacher Appreciation Day, but throughout the year!

Here are 10 ideas for 'gifts of service' to offer to your teacher

1. Say "thank you"

If there's one thing pretty much all teachers agree on, it's that words and notes of thanks always touch their hearts. So say thank you as often as you can not just for the big things, but for the tiny things too. If you enjoy a class, then make sure to tell your teacher so. At the end of the day, take a moment to say thank you again. Your thanks don't have to be wordy or elaborate, just heartfelt. You can be sure that they'll always be truly appreciated!

Give your teacher a hug. Photo: flickr.com/photos/eelssej_/Give your teacher a hug!

2. A smile or a hug

It's often the smallest things that mean the most, so remember to treat your teacher to a smile. A class of happy smiling faces would make any teacher's day. And depending on the circumstances, a hug may be a lovely thing to give too a gift, as the saying goes, where one size fits all, and no one minds if you exchange it!

3. Enthusiastic participation

Does your teacher run an after-school club, or other extracurricular activity? If so your enthusiastic participation, and your appreciation of the hard work that he or she doubtless puts into it, is sure to be greatly appreciated.

4. Volunteering

When your teacher asks for volunteers, then raise your hand and volunteer! It's very depressing to have to coerce or force students into taking on a task, and conversely a great boost for any teacher to see positive smiling faces, even if the task that needs to be done isn't the coolest and most glamorous.

5. Time

Give the gift of time. Photo: flickr.com/photos/duncanh1Give the gift of time.
Most teachers find that their job frequently expands into their private time and that there are 'never enough hours in the day'. So give the gift of your time by offering to help in the classroom or around the school. Actively look out for little ways to help that will make your teacher's day go as smoothly as possible, whether it is fetching and carrying, making copies or helping to create room displays. This is a great way for parents to get involved with helping too!

6. Prepare a meal

If you know that your teacher is going to have a particularly busy day (leading a school trip, going to after-school meetings etc.) then you could prepare a meal perhaps a casserole, soup or salad that he or she can enjoy once home with little or no preparation. Or if you know that your teacher is going through a difficult time (illness in the family, for example), consider setting up a rota with your classmates to prepare, and deliver to school, a meal a day.

7. Party

Throw a party for your teacher! Not only is this a great way to show your appreciation but any teacher will surely be thrilled to enjoy a class event without for once being responsible for organizing it.

Give your teacher some candy too. Photo: flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/Give your teacher some candy too.

8. Candy

When you take candies or other treats to enjoy at school, don't just share them out with your friends remember to offer a candy to your teacher too. He or she may or may not accept, but is sure to be touched by the gesture.

9. Take an interest

Is your teacher involved in a charitable or community project or other sporting or cultural events outside school? If so, take an interest in your teacher's extramural activities and offer your support. One teacher who ran a sponsored marathon was delighted and greatly encouraged to find a group of his students cheering him on along the way.

10. Nomination

A lovely gesture is to nominate your teacher for an award. He or she may not win, but just to be nominated is reward in itself. Ask your Principal about the options for nominations, or approach your state or regional education board.

More about Thanking Teachers:

100 Teacher Thank You Gift Ideas:

Writing Teacher Thank You Letters, Notes & Cards: