I come from a family of educators. I'll save you from the laundry list, but I will tell you that I was the second in a line of six consecutive blood relatives to not become a teacher.

My family loved education. They still do! My mom, who went on to become a principal, still loves teaching. She enjoys seeing children learn and the way their little minds absorb knowledge. It's truly her passion.

I have a special appreciation for teachers, not only because of my family, but also because I have no idea how they do it every day. It takes a uniquely talented individual to juggle trying to instill knowledge, keep order, and stay sane.

They deserve the entire Teacher Appreciation Week they are given!

If you decide to show that appreciation with a gift, take some advice from the child of a retired teacher and give something other than the gifts you see below. They may end up in what our family referred to as the place where teacher gifts go to die. (Simply because my wonderful mother didn't have the heart to give them away!)



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    Coffee Mugs

    Alternative: COFFEE!

    We could have opened a store and named it "The Teacher Coffee Mug Store" or something more catchy, but you get the idea. My mom was the world's best teacher, the #1 teacher, or got the favorite teacher award, according to the no less that 8 coffee mugs she got every year.

    At the time, my mom drank coffee all day long. Black. She even had a coffee pot in her bathroom so she wouldn't have to walk all the way to the bathroom to get it! She had plenty of mugs.

    What she DID use and run out of often was coffee. That's a great teacher gift!

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    Plaques of Proclamation

    Alternative: A Handmade Card

    Much like the coffee mugs, my mom was proclaimed teacher queen, best teacher, and maybe even teacher of the world. She enjoyed the sentiment when it was given. We didn't like so much having them fall on our heads when we opened the closet in which they were stored.

    Teachers like creativity. Have your student make the teacher a card that tells how special that person is. It means more than you will ever know. And it fits in a drawer.

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    Lotions and Potions

    Alternative: A Gift Certificate

    I am typically a huge fan of what I call "pamper me" gifts. However, too much of a good thing is, well, too much. At some point in my young life, I think my dad may have taken all of those lotions and potions and just "forgotten" them somewhere.

    If you'd like to treat your teacher to something that smells nice or that she can use for her hands, give her a gift certificate to any place that sells such stuff. It generally doesn't cost a lot, so $10-15 is plenty.

  • Beatrix Boros, ThinkStock
    Beatrix Boros, ThinkStock

    Anything That Screams "Gift Set"

    Alternative: Homemade Goodies

    For the love of all things educational, if it says "gift set" on the packaging, save your money. Chances are, it will remain in the packaging and continue to say "gift set" long after it has been received.

    Bake some cookies or a nice homemade treat. He or she will appreciate it more. And the family will, too!

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