Back to school is a hectic time for everyone—not least of all teachers. Taking time at the beginning of the school year to show teachers you care and value their work can go a long way toward setting a good note for the entire year.

First, start with this back-to-school teacher survey. It’ll give great insight into your teachers’ likes, interests, and much more, helping your group (and room parents) tailor appreciation efforts all year long.

Here are some ideas (and free downloads) for thoughtful expressions of back-to-school appreciation that won’t cause a lot of stress—or cost a lot of money.

Survival Kits

Buy mason jars and fill them with such back-to-school essentials as aspirin, hand sanitizer, a high-energy snack, stain remover pen, a gift card for coffee, hand lotion, and more. Affix our “Back-to-School Teacher Survival Kit” label to the jars to make the gift complete.

Erasers With Tags

Attaching these cute tags that say “Make no mistake about it...I’m so happy you’re my teacher!” to erasers is a quick (and inexpensive) pick-me-up.

Challenge accepted! Concrete steps for a great start to the school year

Tags for Notebooks

Everyone knows teachers take a lot of notes. You’ll add a smile to that experience by giving them a notebook with our “You’re a five-star teacher!” gift tag.

The Write Start

You’ll help teachers make the “write start” with these gift tags; attach them to packages of pens or pencils.

A Smooth Year Ahead

Let them know you hope they have the smoothest year possible with a small bottle or container of hand lotion and a “hope you have a smooth year” gift tag.

Can't Forget the Apples!

You can’t get more old-school than presenting teachers with an apple. Add a cute twist by affixing this tag that says “An apple for the teacher is really nothing new...but this one comes with our appreciation, too!”

Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.