Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency: Thank You Notes to Students

Dec 28, 2015

If you are like most teachers I know, I bet you received a bunch of creative, thoughtful and downright strange holiday gifts from your students. If you are like one teacher who lives in my home (ahem), they may still be sitting next to your desk (after your wife rooted around for all the chocolates) and you now have a To-Do on your Weekly Worksheet that reads, “Write students thank you notes.” Or maybe even “Obtain thank you notes.” Those kind student trinkets now require a To-Do. And while I get that you may want to write personalized notes for each kid, it just becomes hugely time-consuming. My daughter’s amazing kindergarten teacher notes, “I used to do handwritten cards, but found that it can take a while –especially when you have 27 students!”

Enter a more efficient, yet still personal process, as laid out my Ms. Z, my daughter’s teacher. She saved a cute template on her computer into which she could plug the student’s name, gift and a personalized note, and send it home the VERY SAME DAY she received the present (What?!?!?!). I was blown away by Ms. Z’s thoughtfulness, planning, and ruthless efficiency. She told me,

Many students are excited to give me their gifts before they even come in the classroom door!  So I try to open most gifts in the morning.  I have a few minutes before and after morning announcements.  I also try to open the gift in front of the student that gave it to me.  Many of them took the time to write a card or pick something out, so it makes it more personal when you open the gift in front of them.  After I open the gift, I quickly write down the name of the student and their gift.  I keep the running list near my computer so that I can type up the thank you notes during my lunch break (or any other quick break in my day).

Let’s break this down! She had to:

  • Create the template and have it open on her computer. She said Microsoft Publisher has some great templates available.
  • Make time during the day to open the gift and personalize the card
  • Print the card and put it in an envelope (this is a bonus step)
  • Ensure the note was handed to my daughter (no small feat when you have 27 students!)

There are tons of good, free, close-to-free (like the one below from Teachers Pay Teachers), or homemade options out there to pull this off. And if you didn’t have the foresight to make one prior to the break, create a fill-in-the-blank-template now and use it for years to come!

Don’t let those Thank You’s become lingering To-Do’s. Create a template and get ‘em done now!

PS Eventually, Ms. Z will let me feature her on the blog (I’m wearing her down slowly.) She is SUPER Together.