A quick scour of the internet reveals endless amusing tales of teachers being given hilariously inappropriate gifts - a bottle of stolen whisky with the security tag still on, a six pack of knickers in the wrong size and Mums used lipstick all crop up on the TES forum.
Nobody wants to get it wrong when showing a little teacher appreciation.
So, with a little help from our friends in the teaching profession, here are our top tips for treating the teacher this summer
1.) Use common sense about scent
Perfume is quite personal - not everyone enjoys the same scented candles or shower gels and that’s before you start thinking about the minefield of allergies. Plus, for anyone teaching year 6 or above the smell of Impulse or Lynx is likely to cause flashbacks that will have them rocking in the craft cupboard with a bottle of gin.
Unless you know the teacher has a particular favourite, smellies are best avoided.
2.) “Please no more ornaments!”
Teachers salaries don’t generally give them the purchasing power to buy a mansion - so like the rest of us, storage space is a precious commodity. Their mantlepieces and window sills are probably already clogged with the “art projects” and “treasures” of their own children, so go easy on the china kittens and “best teacher” plastic trophies.
3.) Don’t forget support staff!
Teaching assistants, librarians, lunch staff … so many people are involved in making a school great. Remember how frustrating it is trying to get your little darling to read yet another Biff and Chip book? Or convincing them that cottage pie is not in fact the most disgusting thing they have ever laid eyes on? And as for cleaning up a bathroom used by under tens … yikes. There are people in your kids school who do those things daily and deserve a little appreciation.
Why not ask your child who’s really made a difference for them in school this year and take the time to write a thank you note?
4.) Think ethical
These days, the school curriculum includes conversations about sustainability and fair trade. Support your child’s teacher in practising what they preach with ethically sourced, sustainable gifts that your teacher can feel good about receiving. there’s plenty of options for a greener gift these days, from canvas re-useable shopping bags to bees wax sandwich wrappers and re-usable water bottles.
Brownie points for being the green family in the class are of course an added bonus.
5.) Experiences are great too
One of the best gifts I ever read about a teacher receiving was a title - Mr Smith became Lord Smith thanks to the magic of titles for sale online! Experiential gifting isn’t all balloon rides and paint balling, a “grow your own” kit or cinema vouchers also count.
6.) The best gifts show a child has listened
The irony of the grammatical error on a “your the best teacher” mug isn’t lost on hardworking teachers! Asking your child what their teacher likes can result in some interesting (even revealing) answers; I’m still not convinced that Mrs Jones really does love shouting and I’m certainly not giving her a little Miss grumpy tote bag.
However, if your child has a genuine affection for their teacher why not ask them to write their best memory from the year in a thoughtful card? Lots of teachers say that a special, personal note from a child is the gift they like best.