This post was sponsored by P&G as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #PGDetailsMatter #IC
It seems like school just ended, and already I am racing around preparing for the first day of school all over again. Guess what? Teachers are too. And as the child of a teacher, I know first hand how much energy, effort and money out of their own pockets goes into preparing their classroom. Show your appreciation with a first day of school teacher gift they actually need.
Apples are so 1950s
… Or 1850s. The tradition of bringing your teacher an apple on the first day of school dates back to American Frontier times, when families were often responsible for feeding and housing their one-room schoolhouse teachers. A female teacher’s annual salary was just $54. Students brought their teacher all kinds of food, not just apples.
As time progressed, and teachers earned more, the families no longer had to feed them, but the apple became symbolic of times past and remained a tradition.
Teachers Today, Underpaid and Overly Generous
Today, the average teacher spends over $500 of their own money on classroom supplies. Most without reimbursement. As a child, I remember my mom supplying her classroom with books, toys, and frequent stops to the grocery store on the way to school to supply her kindergarten cooking center. These out of pocket costs were on top of the unpaid hours she tirelessly dedicated to preparations for the first day of school, and every day of the school year.
The average teacher makes an annual salary of just over $56,000, roughly in line with the national average income for all Americans, but down 1.3% in real dollars over the last 20 years. Think about that – as costs of goods continue to rise, our teachers’ money buys less today than it did 20 years ago. And due to declining state education funding, teachers are spending more every year to bridge the gap and support their students.
First Day of School Teacher Gift
I think we all agree teachers deserve our appreciation on the first day of school. But instead of bringing them an old school apple, or modern day Pinterest worthy custom mug (that I assure you matches 15 others they already have), bring them something they actually need and help them keep their own money in their pocket.
What do teachers spend their money on? Sure, it’s what you might think – things like books for the classroom library and school supplies, like crayons and markers. But it’s also a lot of less glamorous things – like cleaning supplies. How do you think the classroom stays sparkling despite the 20 pint-sized students playing their hearts out every day?
While janitorial staff may clean the bathrooms and vacuum the carpets, early childhood teachers wipe faces and surfaces after snack and lunch time. Bounty Advanced paper towels, the strongest, most durable sheets ever, let them use fewer towels to tackle the biggest messes (when wet vs National Bounty Original). They need Dawn Platinum Advanced Power to clean out dried on paint cups and tough stuck-on food, when the dishes sit for hours, waiting for clean-up until the end of the day when the students have gone home.
They need Swiffer Dusters to tackle the sand from the sand table and glitter from the project table that seems to drift its way into every nook and cranny of the classroom. Swiffer Dusters trap and lock 3X MORE dirt, hair and allergens than feather dusters. And more than anything else, they need Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. When I think about what my playroom craft table looks like after 15 minutes of coloring by just two preschoolers, I can only imagine what the classroom project tables look like at the end of every day.
How You Can Help
So this month, while you are racing around preparing to send your children to their first day of school, consider doing a little shopping for child’s teacher too. When you stock up on P&G household necessities at Costco, buy an extra box of Magic Erasers or Swiffer Dusters to send in as a first day of school teacher gift… because they are classroom necessities too!
Or that 12 pack of Bounty Advanced you work through over a month? Send in a couple rolls from the multi-pack to school. Think of the cleaning supplies you consume in a month – most classrooms consume the same in a week! Make it a regular part of your routine, sharing your bulk purchases with your child’s classroom all school year long.
Trust me – your teacher will appreciate it more than an apple, a cup full of highlighters or some other cute first day of school teacher gift.
Are you ready for your kids to go back to school? If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch our Back to School Giveaway, a great way to get some free school supplies for your home or your child’s classroom. You can find both of these, as well as other great back to school tips on our Back to School board on Pinterest!