Bok North Academy teacher Natalie Cole shows off one of her favorite teacher appreciation gifts, an Arctic hot/cold insulated drink mug, decorated with her favorite animated character, a minion.  [Provided Photo]

LAKELAND — They have taught through a once-in-a-century pandemic — both in person and via Zoom — for more than a year. They have kept children safe while risking (or even losing) their lives, all while trying to be creative and fun. 

So, shouldn’t you thank them? 

It’s teacher appreciation a week in Polk County Public Schools and elsewhere and Jennifer Sabin, an academic adviser at Southeastern University in Lakeland, an education advocate and a former School Board candidate, asked her teacher friends what they really wanted from parents, Parent-Teacher Organizations, and even students. 

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“In true Sabin family style, we turned it into a pun and are giving their teachers the gift of flour. Thankfully, Happy Hour Scones turned the flour into delicious treats,” Sabin wrote on Facebook, showing off boxes beautifully decorated with paper flower stickers. “Both girls also included touching notes, as well, so it would be a bit more personal.” 

She added that one of her children “pilfered our yard for actual flower bouquets.” 

Education advocate Jennifer Sabin and her children decorated gift boxes with flowers and gave the "gift of flour," including freshly baked goodies from Happy Hour Scones. It's teacher appreciation week in Polk County and elsewhere and some parents are trying to come up with ideas to thank their children's teachers.  [Provided Photo]

Hands down, the most asked for items were gift cards to everything from Target to “restaurants with a happy hour.” 

“I always liked gift cards for Target and coffee or other treats,” said Megan Prince-Henke, a Polk County exceptional student education teacher. “I know lots of parents like sending lotions and candles, but I’m sensitive to scents, so I gave a lot away.”