Teachers — 5 Minutes for Special Needs


by Laura


This is the time of year that many of us stress out about teachers gifts.


Guess what?

What your child’s teacher would like the most (they might not even realize it until you give it to them) is a heart-felt thank you note, written the old fashioned way (on note paper-not in email form) along with a few roses from your garden.

This is something that I think is SO important, that I am creating a contest! In the comment section, write the note that you are sending to your child’s teacher. You will be entered into a drawing  for some cool prizes, including copies of my book and gift cards from amazon.

Summer is here! Have fun with your kid.


Email Author    |    Website About Laura

I'm a fifth generation Californian and live in the San Francisco Area with my husband and three sons. My oldest, Matthew, is autistic and I've been writing about my experience raising him from babyhood to young adulthood for about 4 years. I've read my stories on NPR and published them in magazines, newspapers and anthologies, including Voices of Autism. My book A Regular Guy: Growing up with Autism is available at Amazon.

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1 Awesome Mom June 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

My note was something along the lines of: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t thank you enough for making Evan’s first year of school such an amazing and wonderful year. It was been staggering seeing how much he has grown during the year. Thank you!

2 Stacey Harris June 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

Oh… I didn’t just write a note– I wrote a letter and gave it to the Principal, who I also wrote a thank you letter for, I also asked that this letter be put in their personnel file– The response was SUPER, each teacher was SO happy that I had written such lovely heartfelt things about them–. It filled my heart to do this– and it felt WAY better than buying something that I didn’t know for sure they would enjoy. One of our teachers is moving back home on the East Coast to be closer to family and she wanted to put my letter in with her resume… how sweet!

3 Alysia June 11, 2010 at 11:56 am

I wrote 8 notes (one head teacher, two classroom aide, two one on one ABA techs, my older son’s 2nd grade teacher, his school’s OT and the teacher who oversees the special needs program) and sent copies of all the notes to the superintendent’s office. They were all blown away, and thanked me for recognizing them with a note and not a $10 Target card. A version of one of my notes is on my blog at http://trydefyinggravity.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/teach-your-children-well/. That teacher added my letter to her teaching portfolio.

4 staying afloat June 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Don’t have the text of my notes here, but I’d like to remind people to also recognize therapists, supportive staff (some kids really benefit from the lunch or gym teacher, and the school’s secretary may be your kid’s favorite person, and is the reason your paperwork goes through!), and the bus driver and aide.

My son’s bus team took really great care of him during sometimes-long rides, and really appreciated the recognition. And he really does love the secretary, and she loves him, and goes the extra mile for us.

5 Janet June 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Every year I send notes and gift cards to all of Luke’s team (sped teacher, class teacher, OT, COTA, speech, 2 para’s). ALL get treated equally with a $20 gift card choosen for them. My daughters and I have a great time decided what to get for each one (Bath, Boarders, Starbucks, Panara are our top favorites). This year I ran out of time so I didn’t get cards made with pictures of Luke on the front. But I used some great ones to personalize on my Halmark software.

I always thank them for being a great team (where no one is more important than another) and for all they have done for Luke. But then I always treat them like a team through the year — if there are issues important enough for the teachers to know (health, behavior,…) then I let all of them know.

The exciting news for the end of this year is that our new principal changed the policy and everyone found out who their teacher will be for the next school year. Luke’s 2nd grade teacher WANTS him and I have been led to believe ASKED for him to be in her class.

6 Aimee L. June 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm

We’ve got so many teachers/paras/therapists (OT, Speech & PT)/specialists to buy for that this year I decided to get creative. I found some cute little colorful ceramic flower pots, some 3-for-$1 packs of flower seeds, some $1 windchimes and wrapped them all up in celephane with a note tied to the ribbon that said “Thanks for helping me grow!”. Then inside the gift all wrapped up, I wrote out a personal thank you to each person and told them specifically how they’d been a blessing to our family this school year…I did this for all the staff that our daughter adores – even the Adaptive P.E. teacher, who is her FAVORITE of all the staff! 🙂 He got a Caribou gift card, though – since he was the only male staff member. I also included business cards with our blog address for them so they can follow along with how our daughter is progressing should they so choose. I wish we could afford to give more lavish gifts to these people who do SO much for our kids, but like you said in your post, really, to them, a sincere ‘thank you’ probably means WAY more than a bigger/better gift. There aren’t words to describe how wonderful all the staff at our daughter’s school are – they’re AMAZING!! 🙂

7 Azaera June 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

I have the opposite issue, I have a class full of a kindergarten kids, and I homeschool my preschooler. So for my kids I’m making them each a dvd slideshow of their kindergarten year, and I’m going to write each one of them a handwritten letter about how much fun it was to be their teacher and how wonderful it was to have them as students.

8 Missy June 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm

My daughter is in the process of transitioning out of EI into preschool – she turns three at the end of the month. I’m sending the people who helped us a violet (our daughter’s name) plant with a note about Down syndrome and a picture of my little girl. After reading this thread, I will also include a personal thank you.

The thing I’m most thankful of – and what I will tell them – is that they all looked at her as an individual and put not limits on her. They always treated us as if they felt privledged to be part of our families team. In every way, EI exceeded my expectations.

9 LauraS June 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm

You all win! Will you send your addresses to lshumaker@pacbell.net
YAY, nice mothers and teachers and therapists etc…..

10 Ellen S. June 13, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Laura, I don’t want to win anything but just wanted to say thanks for a really nice, meaningful post.

11 June Freaking Cleaver June 16, 2010 at 2:29 am

Here’s pretty much what I wrote to my son’s teacher and aide:

Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for The Boy this year, even when he wasn’t able to appreciate your efforts.

Thank you for helping him to do his best, and to think of someone besides himself each day.

12 Suzanne Perryman June 17, 2010 at 9:59 am

Thank you card for Zoe’s teacher…

Did you know, that as a teacher- You would also be called to nurture?
Guiding little ones to greater independence?

Did you know, that as a teacher- You would inspire growing hearts?
Touching little ones, with your words.
So that with her best voice, My daughter would say
“When I grow up I want to be a teacher”
Just like Mrs._____.

Did you know that as a teacher- One day you would be an advocate too?
Encouraging, protecting. Planning and unplanning.
Finding Joy in the simple , Every day.

My daughter grew even stronger with the lessons you have taught her-
Her goodness shines, Even brighter.
She has smiled and smiled, pure happiness-
with her classmates all around her.

More than just a teacher..
Your touch has contributed
To the creation and sustaining
That makes my daughters life
A work of art.
In progress.

13 Jeannine June 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

This is what a wrote:

“Thank you for being such a sturdy and supportive stepping stone in my daughter’s path of life. You’ve helped shape her into the wonderful person she’s becoming. Thank you for encouraging her each and every day and for being her “mom” when I wasn’t present. You will not be forgotten.”

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