Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gifts for Teachers

    This is a post that I've run twice on my old blog.  Please, give it a look see if you have kids in school...One update:  all the things I've seen as suggestions for teacher gifts on Pinterest are cute and thoughtful, but times anything cute by 20 or 30, and you'll just see a lot of, well, useless stuff.
     This is one of those risky posts.  One, I may seem greedy.  Two, I may seem presumptuous.  Three, I may seem judgmental or demanding.
     You can tell me shame on me after you read it.
     I always got my son's elementary teachers Christmas gifts.  I wanted to.  I liked to.  Even when money was tight, I thought it was important to scrimp elsewhere and spend a bit on them.  They, each and every one of them, were important to my son and his learning.
     (In middle school, Mac selected the teachers he wanted to buy for. We used to give them lottery tickets! I should have done more for all of them.)
     It's been my experience some of my students give me Christmas gifts.  It's been my experience that some of you wonder at what to give your kids' teachers.  Since some of you have asked me for suggestions, I'm giving them.
     I keep EVERY gift of writing I receive.  That's the best gift.
     My class usually selects a service project to give to and I ask that the kids give to it instead of me.  (Admittedly, when they did this at Mac's elementary school I gave to both, service project and teacher.  I had to.  I couldn't ignore the teachers!)  This year, we hope to bring gifts to the Elder Day Center.
     Here comes the risky stuff...
     When it comes to choosing a gift for your child's teacher, realize your child is one of 20+ kids who may be sharing a present with the teacher.  Avoid trinkety things, even though some can be quite touching to receive. Twenty plus trinkets is a lot of stuff.  Multiply that by 20+ years of teaching, and you've got an episode of Hoarders in the making.
     When I was single, I lived in a tiny condo.  I couldn't keep much.  Right before I moved, I went downstairs and visited a retired teacher who had kept EVERYTHING any student had ever given to her.  Her unit was beyond cluttered--and that was in May, who knows how many teacher ornaments she pulled out in December.  Yep, she bordered on a hoarder.
     One teacher I know once got 17 candles for Christmas.  Seventeen.  When something like that happens, I donate the duplicate gifts to a local thrift store.

     Anything "teachery" or "appley" isn't the best plan.  Being a teacher defines who I am.  Absolutely.  I don't need to decorate with or further adorn myself with my job--I wear my job with my exhausted expression and my colored fingers--dyed by overhead marker on a good math day!
     Lotions or similar can be allergenic.  Avoid.
     Avoid jewelry unless you are familiar with the teacher's style.
     Services, a gift of a manicure or pedicure would be such a welcome indulgence!
     Never give a mug.
     I get mugs even though I drink only diet pop (I wish I could say water) in front of my kids. One year, a mom said, "I almost got you a case of diet Pepsi."  I wanted to say, "And you didn't because?"
    Gift cards are wonderful.  To get a gift card to just about anywhere?  What a treat!
     Class gifts are great. Things for the class.  Ask your child's teacher what she needs.  Some teachers spend a lot of their own money on their classrooms.  Games in my game closet and books on my shelves have been given to me by students and enjoyed by many.
     Class gifts are great.  Collect five dollars or so from each kid and get something from the class.  A gift card to TJ Maxx, Target, a restaurant.  My first year in 5S, my 29 kids collected (with the help of a mom), and I received gift certificates to the teacher store, a bookstore and dinners out.  After Christmas, I brought in much of what I bought, and we had Christmas all over again!
     Two years ago, I had a mom who sent in a personal questionnaire and had me answer all sorts of neat questions about what I did for fun, my favorite colors, and favorite foods.  I felt so cared for!  She wound up giving me a thoughtful gift of payment for one month of Netflix and some movie watching snacks.
     Snacks...just like any holiday, too much food is, well, too much food.  So unless it's something special and homemade, maybe not.  I share mine at my family Christmas celebrations, but I usually wind up throwing some things away because we can't eat them fast enough.  I hate that.
     A few from a trusted kitchen are perfect (these were from a friend, 2012.)
 Pretend you are buying for a male teacher.  Most of the gifts on this list that we get too many of are never given to our male peers. Because they are hard to buy for, they get more practical things.  Sometimes, we women teachers are a little envious...
     Truth, it IS the thought that counts.  I can tell.  My kids love me to open their gifts in front of them. They are excited.  And when it comes down to it, really gets down to it, that's all that really matters!

1 comment:

  1. My favorite gifts are hand-written letters of thanks. In second place would be gift cards, though nothing is fine, too.

    Amen on the apple/teachery trinkets--I can't stand 'em. The first one is cute, but the 50th is awful.


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