Thoughtful Teacher’s Gifts — Personalised Portraits

It is nearly the end of school in the UK, which reminded me of the last-minute gift panic we experienced last year! And as the end of the year quickly approached with a non-stop list of activities : sports days, parties, picnics,  summer shows (!) we thought we had nearly run out of time to make the perfect thank you teacher’s gifts. We didn’t want to buy ‘just anything’ for the seven (yes, seven!) Nursery school teachers. They are all so amazing, dedicated, important, and kind people who made such a big impression in our lives and our memories. So, we needed to appropriately thank them. Teachers work sooo hard! So we came up with a creative solution — the last-minute project of personalised portraits in a simple frame! Thoughtful, meaningful, and fun to make.


First we organised our art materials we had at home, (crayons, watercolour pencils, and watercolour paper). Before Beatrice started to draw her teacher’s we looked at a photo of them and discussed their facial features, clothes they like to wear, and also her one favourite memory of them! For a four year old it was a fun way to recall and reflect on the year.

Then she started drawing and added one ‘thing’ to tell each story — for one teacher she drew a massive rainbow because the teacher was famous for  ‘rainbow claps’ — a way to celebrate children who had showed kindness towards others. Then there were teachers with big sunflowers because they always asked Beatrice to help water the garden. And of course footballs for the teacher who loved playing sports, etc…

I purchased simple white frames similar to this. (Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!). I assumed white frames could work in any office, home, or room. And frames instantly make any piece of art seem more finished and polished, so ta-da! Our work was done.

I quickly photographed these before we signed the back of each one, dated and included a quick thank you note and story about the portrait! Essentially it is a permanent thank you card and piece of wall decor. We wrapped them, and headed off to school, proud of the personal gifts.

The teachers loved their gift. They genuinely loved the personal story. And as the daughter of a school teacher, I know how many gifts include mugs, sweets, flowers — all lovely things, but often quite generic.  My mom would often have so much ‘stuff’ she wouldn’t quite know what to do with all of it at the end of the year. So a meaningful gift is very welcomed!

What are your favourite end of year gifts for teachers? We would love to hear more.



ps I love our team’s favourite colouring supplies. Many materials we used are on this list too!


Comments (5)

June 25, 2018

This sounds lovely and thoughtful, but my hesitation would be that everyone already has so much ‘stuff’. If everyone in a class gives the teacher a keepsake like this, he or she will be drowning in them after just one year. Unless it’s something I know someone actually needs and wants, I always find consumables (homemade, ideally – maybe you could make jam with these pictures as the label?) the best option re gifts for adults. We all have so many things already, and so much goes to landfill.

June 25, 2018

It’s really lovely to get something handmade by the students. I’m a teacher myself. But it’s unlikely the teacher will keep it for a long time. They allready have so many stuff. Maybe he/she will keep the drawn portrait if he/she has a special bond with the student. A homemade frame (out of cardbox/paper) would have been better. If the teacher keeps it for just one year it still was a very nice craftsproject to do with your child!
Last year I made some nice gifts for the teachers. I like to give somerhing usefull, so I gave showergel. It had the shape of a vase itself, so we decided to make a paper cover in the same shape and decorate it. Last year we made patterns, this year we used two colors of paper, cut forms and made a ‘positive/negative’ half of a vase. I still have to search Pinterest for an easy paper flower to add. The teachers don’t have to keep the vase, but I hope they can notify the effort. For my children it’s a very special thing! They work hard on it!

June 25, 2018

Framed children’s art is priceless to relatives and special friends, but I think it’s presumptuous to assume your child falls in that category for their teacher. All the teachers I know would much rather receive a modest gift card than more “stuff.”

June 27, 2018

Those drawings are lovely! I am sure some teachers will appreciate seeing and hearing how the children see them. They might even turn it into a keepsake book like some parents do with their children’s arts, who knows. It sure is a challenge to figure how to thank teachers in meaningful and useful way. I wish we could do a note or form that teachers fill at start of year to send to home with straightforward answer on how they would like to be thanked. I am doing this drawings idea but as a card with my daughter!

Wendy Beaumont
July 17, 2018

Thank you for this lovely idea! My 5 year old daughter has just completed her 3 portraits for her Reception teachers this year and will be giving them their gifts on the last day of school this week! We got our frames from IKEA. Many many thanks again as this is such a thoughtful expression of gratitude!!! -Wendy

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