Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Truth About Teacher Gifts

Guru Louise and I asked you about what most teachers really want for end of the year gifts. We got hundreds of answers on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section. Many of the comments were from teachers. We asked for the truth and we got it. Thank you.

Here was our goal with this:
Figure out what teachers really want and need, so that we can all avoid dealing with stuff that is expensive, stupid and unnecessary. 

Here's what we learned:
Teachers like gifts and the thoughts behind them very much. They're extremely grateful when parents take the time to think of them and appreciate their hard work.

But consider the following:
  • They have lots of students.
  • They have lots of students every year.
  • They have a limited capacity to store trinkets and knick knacks from their students.
Do you see this mug? Teachers do not want mugs, teacher-themed knick-knacks or anything with apples on them. Imagine getting a mug describing your job (#1 Accountant!). Then imagine getting 5 or more of the pretty much the same mug - every single year.

Ditto with candles. Candles were mentioned over and over again. As were scented lotions, hand creams and body washes. It's a really nice thought but most teachers get tons of them and many prefer to pick the scent they use themselves. 

Also, while teachers appreciate the time invested in making something, they usually don't have room to keep all the craft projects and Pinterest-type presents they receive. And then they feel bad when they can't keep them and the point is not to make them feel guilty for not keeping something they don't have room for. As I am personally craft-impaired - this made me irrationally happy.

Another no-no? Home-made treats. While some teachers like them, many more stated that they rarely ate the home-made treats because they were dieting or were just very careful about eating food prepared in kitchens they were unfamiliar with. Totally understandable.

So here's a list of things NOT to get for teachers:
  • Candles
  • Mugs
  • Anything teacher or apple-themed
  • Craft projects (including Pinterest projects)
  • Large framed photos or art (limited room)
  • Home-made treats
Moving on to what teachers do want! The number one thing mentioned was not gift cards, or bottles of wine, or even cash... It was hand-written notes from kids or parents about what the teacher had meant to the student. Nearly every teacher mentioned that these notes and letters were the thing that they kept, looked at again and again years later, the things that really meant something to them.

Teachers also mentioned a lot that they didn't care how much you spend. This was a big relief to me & Louise because where we live, people can go crazy with the teacher gifts and frankly - we just can't compete.  

Next to a handwritten note, a gift card to a favorite place, a coffee shop near the school or a store where the teacher may spend their own money on classroom stuff is always welcome. Some teachers warned us to be thoughtful where the gift cards were for, as they may not get used. For example, buying a gift card for a mani/pedi at a place that's inconvenient or for a store that the teacher maybe can't afford (like a $10 card for a high end department store where nothing costs $10).

Many people mentioned that their schools or PTA's collect a list of what teachers like (or need) so you can do a little intelligence gathering that way. In fact, a mom I know just told me that such a list exists for our school and I never even knew about it!

So here's a very short list of things you SHOULD get teachers:
  • A note or letter recalling what their time has meant with your child. (We can not stress enough that this was by far the most mentioned, appreciated and wanted item.)
  • A gift card.
  • Something they need or really like that has been identified on a teacher wish list.
My take-away from reading all the comments was this:
If you want to hit a home run with your teacher's end of the year gift, have your child write a letter and pair it up with a gift card. The end.

Here's a few more things to keep in mind:
  • High school teachers: The older your kid gets, the less likely their teacher is to receive a gift. If a middle or high school teacher has done a great job, a note and a small gift card will be a great surprise and very much appreciated.
  • Day care teachers and child care workers: Day care providers are also teachers and they totally deserve some recognition at the end of the school year, too. With daycare, sometimes "the end of the year" gets muddled - because there is no summer vacation.  
  • Assistant teachers: Apparently, they don't expect to get the exact same present as the teacher. They're happy to get something that acknowledges their contribution to the classroom, which we all know is very important.
  • Special ed and resource teachers: These folks work really hard on behalf of our kids and are often over-looked. If your child is getting extra help, consider a little something-something for these hard-working teachers.
  • Non-tenured teachers: Sometimes the best thing you can do for a new or non-tenured teacher is something that costs you nothing. This was mentioned several times and seems like such a great idea - write a letter to the Principal or Superintendent of Schools praising what a good job they did. Make sure the teacher is cc'ed on the letter. It goes into their personnel file and could really help them when hiring and tenure decisions are made.
  • Support Staff: If your kid is always in the nurse's office or bugging the librarian - why not send them a nice note at the end of the year, too?
Thanks again for all your feedback! If we forgot anything to include anything - please let us know.
xo, Lydia & Louise

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2013

164 comments:

  1. My grandma was a teacher for many, many, many years and she had a spare bedroom we called the "gift room". In addition to being where she hid Christmas gifts for 16 grandkids, it was where she got last minute gifts. All unused gifts from students went in there...she had years worth of trinkets, candles, lotions, soaps and giftcards for things she would never use stockpiled in there. Over the years they were all eventually re-gifted. One gift she got stood out though...her kindergarten class made her a quilt with a students handprint in each square. That was over twenty years ago and its still on display in the living room.

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    1. I had a parent get a gift card for me to somewhere in town to eat and then approved it with my principal to give me a LUNCH hour while she covered my room. :) Usually I only get 20 min (of my supposed 30 min duty free lunch) lunch by the time I deal with the normal stuff that happens getting students in the lunch line. I felt so appreciated and it regenerated me so much!!!

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  2. I actually had a teacher (elementary level) today tell me she would rather get books for her class or have a donation made to a children's charity than get gifts. This is my new policy.

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    1. That sounds like a wonderful idea.

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  3. If a student gave me a "World's Goodest Teecher" t-shirt, I would wear it as often as it came out of the dryer. It would possibly be my favorite teacher gift ever.

    Nope. It would DEFINITELY be my favorite teacher gift ever.

    I highly recommend finding out if your teacher has a sense of humor (and if they don't, aren't they in the wrong field?!) and possibly buying some iron-on letters at Michaels.

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    1. I'm also a teacher... and yes. This would be amazing.

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  4. Don't forget the special ed non-teachers... the physical therapist, occupational therapist, the speech therapist, the school psychologist and/or social worker. If your child has regular contact with any of these folks (like mine does), a gift is well deserved and they are so often forgotten.

    And the specials teachers (music, art, computer, gym, etc) at the elementary level are often forgotten.

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    1. Here here! I'm an elementary music teacher. It is always nice to be remembered. I have a notebook of cards/pictures that I look to when I'm feeling "burnt out."

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    2. Amen! I, too, am an elementary music teacher. I also did the room mom thing this year and pointed out to the other parents at Christmas to not forget the specials teachers. One mom actually said - knowing full well what I do - that she didn't think she needed to get anything for them "because they're not *real* teachers."

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    3. That's pretty messed up. I'd say some of the "specials" teachers had more effect on me than some of my classroom teachers when I was growing up.

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    4. As a speech therapist, it is really special to get something from the kiddos I work with. I keep the meaningful notes in a 'cheer up' file that I can look into when I've had a bad day of IEP meetings or feel like I've chosen the wrong profession. The $5 starbucks card is also valued for much the same reason.

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    5. As a school PT I love any gift the kids give me. But I feel weird using a "teacher" mug since I am not a teacher. Love coffee or bookstore gift cards. I love the home made gifts too. Handwritten notes are extra special too.

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    6. For Teacher Appreciation Week (our first) I have My son's teacher, two aides, and three Therapists the same thing, A $5 Starbucks gift card, a package of cookies and a reusable shopping bag.

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  5. Thank you for this! I always get end of year teacher gift panic. I'm glad to know that I've been doing it right all along :)

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  6. As a teacher, I have to say thank-you for spreading the word about knick-knacks. Every year, my students give me a ton of home-decor-type items.

    I'm ashamed to admit it, but one summer I "repurposed" a lot of that year's gifts (candles, soaps, etc) as prizes for my sister's bridal shower. I was just running out of places to put things!

    The best gifts I ever got came the year that I was 27 weeks pregnant on the last day of school. Almost all the kids gave me gifts for the baby (sleepers, BRU cards, etc.) It was my first and I was so happy and excited.

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  7. Yay! We did hand made cards with a gift card and that was before I read this! Thanks for making me feel like a winner today! I can't post this on fb, however, because it's our last day of school - and I don't want to make any of the crafty people who sent weird handmade stuff feel like not-winners.

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  8. Great article, as always! As a teacher, this is much the same advice I've given many times. Giving books is a really nice idea; make sure to write a note or put a bookplate in the front cover. Also, whole class gifts can be very nice, as well. I got a beautiful, Longaberger basket one year. This year, my daughter's preschool class bought their teacher an imprinted walkway brick at a local playground. :)

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  9. My 3 boys have had the same teacher for 6 years now. She loops from kindergarten to 1st grade. We love! She has a room full of knick knacks. When my oldest was in 1st grade the class wnet together to buy her a long sleeve denim shirt. Then in art everyone put thier hand prints on it. She still wear that shirt. When my middle was in there we bought her a large tote bag and did the same thing. She still uses the bag. This year was our last year with her as a teacher. We made a wall hanging with handprints. She cried and hung it on the wall outside her room. All of these were from the class and very inexpensive to make. I think they mean more to her than the other trinkets she has gotten in years past.

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  10. Thank you ladies.. I was the RIF'ed NJ teacher that wrote earlier. Those thank you notes to principals or superintendents are very important. I appreciate you noting this for everyone.
    It is too late for my situation, but it may help someone else.

    Thank you thank you thank you

    Rif'ed NJ Teacher.

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  11. My mom wrote thank you notes to my elementary school teachers every year following a huge teacher strike in the 70's when the teachers kept saying the parents didn't care. As a result of those notes, apparently there were some teachers who sought after my younger brother to have in class when he came through.

    I wrote notes for my daughter's elementary school teachers each year and then when she graduated 5th grade, wrote one more to each of them and the principal. Because at that point my daughter had done other things with many of the teachers (after school clubs, assisting in their classrooms, that kind of thing). When I went to deliver them personally on the last day of school I got so many hugs from the teachers I was crying.

    While I haven't kept it up through middle school, it was more because I didn't get to know each of her 8-11 teachers (5 academic, music, PE, and 4 allied arts) well enough to be able to write what kind of impact they had on her during the year.

    There was one teacher in elementary school who's teachings have made a long reaching impact on my daughter's time management skills. Two years after she left the school, at the end of the year, I sent an email to the principal and copied the teacher thanking them for holding their ground against the complaining parents about the homework amounts sent home the year my daughter was in her class. Learning in 5th grade how to manage her time and get her stuff done made it possible for her to do all sorts of extra stuff in middle school and still have time to relax and get enough sleep.

    So as a parent, I know from my own childhood and my personal experience that those notes are appreciated and are a huge ego boost that offsets the bad parent experiences they may have had that year.

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  12. As a high school teacher, I agree with all of these comments. In terms of gift cards, I would suggest somewhere like Staples or Michaels, we always need supplies. Kids still like stickers, even when they're 17 and cranky!

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    1. Isn't that the truth? My high school students squeal with delight when I bring out the stickers. Even a "Happy birthday from your teacher" pencil makes them smile. And yes, the best gifts I've ever gotten are the hand-written notes from students telling me how I affected their lives or made their high school experience better.

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  13. I was a teacher in my former life and I agree 100% with your list. I cannot, however, get my friends to believe me. Most of them made or did everything on the No-No list. I kept saying, just get them all a gift card to the movies (or ice cream or B&N, or Staples you get my point)...they would LOVE that (at least I would have!). And here is the other truth about knick-knack giving....at least for me. I promplty took all of it to Goodwill. I never even stayed in my class or came home with me.

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    1. ditto. Teacher here -- I have a ruthless no-knick-knack policy. I am extremely thankful to be thought of, and I keep the handwritten notes on my fridge. But a lot of teachers like myself live in modest homes (read: small) because we don't make a lot of money. We don't have room to store all the crafty gifts.

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  14. Thank you for this and I could not agree more on all of it. I'm not a teacher, but I'm married to one. I cringe every time I see craft projects for a teacher on pinterest. I'm not going to put it in my house, and ditto with teacher knick-knacks.

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  15. It is always tough to come up with something good, but this year, I am pretty pleased with myself. I got each teacher a tote bag that says "I like Big Books and I cannot lie" with her name on it (created for $10 on zazzle.com) and then we filled it with STORE BOUGHT goodies like dark chocolate and chips and salsa. I would add to not forget the Specials teachers, like PE, art, music, etc. I am sure they don't get as many thank yous at the end of the year.

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    1. FYI: What you did is the exact opposite of these suggestions.

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    2. No, what she did is fine--store bought treats (consumable and won't take up room after they're eaten) and something the teacher can use over and over again isn't the same as a knick knack that serves no purpose. A witty book the pied tote bag is an awesome idea.

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    3. I agree with Anna, there is a difference between creative and crafty. Maggie's teacher's gifts are not only creative but they are practical, personalized and meaningful.

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    4. I agree, that was a great idea! Thanks Maggie :)

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  16. When my kids where in elementary school I would, throughout the year, buy school supplies as they came on sale. At the end of the year, or for the holidays, I would fill a plastic tote with all the supplies. That way the teacher didn't have to put out as much of their own money toward classroom supplies.

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  17. Something else I forgot to mention- a friend's school takes up a collection from all interested parents- they can check a box to include specials teachers, librarian, school nurse, etc if they wish- they check their kids' teachers and kick in whatever cash they can afford. The teachers are called to the office and asked to name a place they'd like to spend their share of the money- restaurant, store, etc. The gift cards are purchased and the teacher gets ONE large gift, with a list of contributors, not mentioning any dollar amount donated. I LOVE it.

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    1. I am a teacher and yes this is a great idea.

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  18. Sorry, I just cannot get behind the idea of getting people gifts for doing their job. And my husband has been in education for 18 years. Both of us feel uncomfortable when he gets gift cards from his students. If you teach your kid not to be a little jerk, to respect the teacher the whole year long and to learn something, that is the best gift you can give the teacher.

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    1. I bet you don't tip at restaurants either.

      It has nothing to do with giving the teacher a gift for doing their job. It's a way of showing appreciation for the amount of work they put into being a good teacher - including spending their own money to provide supplies for the classroom - when the profession is poorly paid and pretty thankless. My husband is a teacher and I know how much it means to him when someone expresses their thanks - whether it is with a gift or a note of appreciation.

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    2. ^^ I agree. It may be a personal issue with accepting gifts on your husbands part, but I can't wrap my head around you not being glad that your husband is appreciated.
      We pay teachers so poorly in the USA- Other countries pay well and the position is sought after and prized.
      We don't have much to give our teachers each Dec, but I make homemade chili mix and minestrone in a jar-

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    3. I agree. They get paid to teach. I don't give "office gifts" either. If you would not spend time with someone unless you are being paid to do so, then a gift is not appropriate. A gift is something freely given with love and thought, not a "tip" at the end of the year for services rendered. Many people confuse professional and personal relationships but that does not mean I have to ride that train. A teacher student relationship can be warm, cold, tender, strained, or all of the above and gifts muddy the line of the teacher student dynamic.

      Furthermore, I tip 30% at restaurants and 100% at salons.

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    4. This isn't any job. A teacher is a rather unique position in which they develop a personal connection with your child. How he or she impacts your child's life is immeasurable. Many people feel moved to recognize this at special times of the year namely end of school year and the winter holidays.

      Whether or not you do this is a personal decision and should be respected. Clearly satisfaction with the teacher factors into it as well. If you don't feel individual gifts are appropriate by all means give a gift for the classroom (whose pocket do you think that stuff comes from? Unlike any other job). By dismissing teaching as "any other job" it suggests an unfamiliarity with what goes on day in and day out 10 months of the year. This year, especially, we've seen what heroic lengths teachers will go to for our children.

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    5. I don't understand how writing a heart-felt thank you to someone for doing an amazing job (above and beyond expectations) could make anyone feel uncomfortable.
      @Celia - I don't understand, the person at your salon is paid to spend time with you and yet you tip 100%. You are contradicting yourself completely. I would consider a 100% tip to be more than average, and you are most likely muddying the line of hairdresser - client way more than a hand written thank you would muddy the line of teacher/student.

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    6. I also send care packages to the overseas servicemen and women. They are just doing their jobs too. Both help insure the prosperity of our country.

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    7. I didn't get my daughter's kindedrgarten teacher anything because she was mediocre and vapid. This year I was blown away by the positive attitude and enthusiasm from her first grade teacher that I am absolutely getting her a gift. The gift is not for doing her job, but to show my appreciation for the effort she puts in to teaching my child and making learning fun for the children. My hope is that my showing appreciation will help her maintain her great attitude and continue to make a positive impact on her future classes.

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    8. This is just sad. Throughout the school year, your child's teacher becomes a part of the extended family and if you are an involved parent, a good friend to you. Holidays, birthdays and end-of-the-year are celebrations. I give my friends and families gifts not for doing their job, but because I care about them appreciate what they do.

      Furthermore, 30% at restaurants is a bit high and I cannot imagine tipping $100 on a cut and color on top of what I just paid for it.

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    9. I think a thank you note is appropriate. You do not need to send a gift to show appreciation. I do however purchase a gift card because I do not want my son to feel left out. During the year there is the teacher birthday, Christmas, teacher appreciation, and end of year gift! It gets to be a little much. I am an RN in NICU. We are not allowed to accept any gifts of any kind. Conflict of interest. My reward is watching the premies flourish and go home with their parents. And the satisfaction of my job. I don't understand why the schools do not follow the same policy.

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    10. As for me and my house...

      We have encountered some really great teachers... and unfortunately, we have encountered some less-than-great teachers who seem to do more harm than good. At kindergarten orientation for my daughter, my son's 1st grade teacher came to me and asked if my daughter was "going to be anything like her brother..." When I said they have similar personalities, she rolled her eyes at me and walked away. No gift for her. Ever.

      But this year's teachers will get awesome gifts because they are awesome teachers. They went way beyond the "it's my job" mentality, and we will not say goodbye to the year without acknowledging that.

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    11. My children have been truly inspired by great teachers this year. They wrote all their own cards on cardboard stock and decorated them with summer themed stickers. Both my children and the teachers enjoy a Starbucks run (i.e. hot chocolate, or vanilla bean frappacino for the kiddos)...so the children asked to enclose a Starbucks giftcard. Both my children and the teachers love trail mix and peppermints...so the children asked to share a box of See's mixed nuts or bag of peppermints with them as well. Hole-punched the Starbucks card and inserted it into the cardboard stocked cards, inserted a rubberband through the hole and attached cards it to either salty nuts or refreshing peppermints. The children worked all week making lists, collecting supplies, writing cards, decorating, assembling and packing. They insisted! Lessons to be learned, and kindness and laughter filled this house...Thank you teachers!

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    12. We could sit here and debate whether teachers deserve gifts or not for centuries. However the article is not about that debate. The article was about giving people who wanted to show teachers appreciation some ideas of how to do so. If you are someone who doesn't want to do so then don't read the article. Don't comment don't argue don't explain. Go find a place to debate that topic and leave those people who are thoughtful and considerate and who want to show appreciation for like minded people alone to do so.

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    13. I totally agree.....

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    14. I don't think anyone who gives a teacher a gift is doing so because they feel obligated. I feel more "obligated" to leave a tip at a restaurant or salon for someone who helped me for an hour or so. But for a teacher who has spent 9 months with my children, teaching them so many things I would have no clue how to teach, and helping them to become the amazing boys they are??? That is someone I WANT to give a gift to. No obligation - but a thank you to the person who has spent a huge amount of time with my kids and done an amazing job with them. That said, there have been teachers who have not received gifts as the relationship with my child or the teaching done has been somewhat lackluster. So I give gifts when I WANT to say thank you. So if you don't want to give a gift, then don't. And don't read articles like this either.

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    15. I'm sure everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated if they're doing a great job. Or maybe companies should abolish performance based bonuses too since they're already paying you salary.

      Some great ideas on here and my son's teacher and TAs will probably get a card, some nice chocolate and a Target gift cars which they can either use for themselves or for supplies. He's only been in the special ed class for a few weeks but they've been working really hard to help him integrate the classroom and have also been helping us parents with advice on how to help him at home.

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  19. THANK YOU!!!! This is awesome and you really listened to the comments that were made. Wonderful advice. And thank you for reminding us about the daycare provider. I hadn't even thought about it, but it's a wonderful idea and something my son and I can create for her together.

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  20. I guess I would be one of the transgressors as I do make gifts for the teachers. This time I made produce bags and tote bags for them. For Christmas I made luggage tags, a luggage handle cover and gave them a CANDLE. Damn, I suck. I at least try to make something for them that is useful and not home decor. One year for Valentines Day I made them all a coffee cozy and then stuck a $5 coffee card in them. See...I try.

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  21. This year my son's teacher got a handmade crochet baby blanket from us. I sent it 2 weeks before the end of school since she was due on the last day of school. I always get my kids to be little spies and find out what their teacher likes. Makes it easier to get gifts they will like that way. :D

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  22. I'm a teacher. Former career Room Mom. Thoughts: a class all going together on a cash gift may seem gauche to you, but for a teacher, it's a lovely thing--you can trust us to use it where it is most needed. Giving a gift for a home is a very personal thing, and we can't burn candles in school. Gift cards to go to eat are marvelous, since we often bolt home with tons of grading to do. Note: if you are a person who feels like you just must make a teacher something for their home, are you seeking to be a blessing to that teacher, or are you seeking a reputation? Your kindness is obvious, and your time is much appreciated. But imagine if your husband spent hours working in the garage to make you something you'd never ever use...or went to the store and bought you something you would never use or want. You'd have a real mix of guilt that you didn't appreciate it and sadness that the time and money was spent to please the giver, not the receiver. NOTES--always lovely!

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  23. I don't mean to be a downer...I personally have an almost two year old and gift cards are my favorite teacher gifts to give and that is ok because my daughter goes to a private preschool, but I live in Alabama and think it's important to bring up our stupid ethics B.S. that prevents teachers from being allowed to accept any form of cash (including gift cards) at the risk of committing an ethics violation that can get them in a great deal of trouble. The best gifts to give Alabama teachers is something that benefits their classroom because that is the only kind of gift they can accept.

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  24. so, i done good! that hardly EVER happens! woo-hoo!

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  25. I do make gifts for the teachers - and guess what - they are NOT ungrateful - they display them in in the clasroom and actually USE them. Go figure.

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  26. Thank you for this. I actually had a parent today ask me what she should get me this year, I should forward this to her. Thanks again!

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  27. It's the thought that counts. And every gift should be accepted in the spirit it was given...with grace and love.

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  28. Don't forget the bus driver, if you have one! I always figure he's SO critical in safely transporting my kiddos that he warrants a thank you, too.

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    1. I'm so glad you posted this..Every year my now 9 year old daughter writes a thank you note within a little handmade care and we get her bus driver a little gift, the past couple years it has been a $5 gift card to WaWa. (a convenience store on the East Coast) They have always been extremely appreciative.

      I agree with you completely, I put my daughter's safety in his hands daily. Living in a large school district with many buses and as such many bus drivers I truly have come to appreciate a good bus driver.

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  29. For the past 3 years (K, 1st, & 2nd grades)I have created a photo book for my son's teachers. The book includes photos taken all year thru and includes all the children of the class. I try to attend as many of the parties as I can so I can document the fun. Every year the teachers have been thrilled with their book. It isn't large, but it is personal. It also costs ~$25, so I just ask for $1 from each family and the teacher gift is taken care of. Many parents are thrilled they don't have to worry about what to get. I enjoy making the books, and many parents also order a copy in place of the yearbook because it is of JUST our class AND it is $10 cheaper. I always try (and have been successful so far) to get one "whole class" photo, because most of the time at least ONE child is sick the day they take the official photo for the school. I have a LOT of fun creating these books and look forward to next year when my younger son starts school there and I'll be making two books!

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  30. One additional suggestion: Go into the teacher's classroom and see what she/he needs. One year, a newer teacher to our school had a malfunctioning electric pencil sharpener, and this was a pain for her because, in first grade, they go through a LOT of pencils. She didn't have the classroom budget to buy a new one. So for the holidays, our family went to Staples, bought her a new, inexpensive, but sturdy electric pencil sharpener, and gave it to her as her gift. She was thrilled.

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    1. We did the same thing and the teacher continued to comment to my son for the next three years he was in the school how much she loved that gift.

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  31. THANK YOU!!!! I go thru this struggle every single year and finally I know what teachers really want!!! I will share, share, share this with my friends!

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  32. Thanks for gathering this list! I really want to know how best to show appreciatin to my sons teachers!!!!

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  33. We always wait until the last day of school, then send our son with Amazon.com gift cards for his homeroom and band teachers. When he was in elementary school, we gave his teachers gift gift cards for Oriental Trading Company, so they didn't have to spend their own funds decorating their classrooms the following year.

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    1. That is a great idea! I know alot of teachers who use Oriental Trading Company for treasure boxes, etc.

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  34. Four words: Cheesecake Factory Gift Card. I got one of those when I was teaching high school. I asked the student how she knew that I loved the Cheesecake Factory so much and she just looked at me kind of strangely and said "You kind of talk about it all the time." I almost died laughing. And dang, that was some good cheesecake. :)

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  35. Great article! Yay! I've been doing it right! I always have my daughter make the teacher a card and write a nice note and we include a gift card. I am a teacher and have worked with many other teachers so I know not to give knick knacks, candles or body care items. I agree with a previous poster who said that it's not that we don't appreciate the gesture, but do you like getting gifts you can't use (body lotions that have scents that make you feel ill or country-type decor when your home is decorated in mod decor)? I don't have to worry about making homemade crafts as I possess absolutely no creativity. And as far as homemade treats, as a teacher I appreciate the gesture behind them and play it by ear. Some students I have are very clean and I am fine eating what they brought, but if a child has a runny nose problem or picks their nose it is very difficult to wrap your mind around eating a rice crispy ball they made with their hands. My daughter is a very healthy neat and clean kid and always begs to share a box of homemade goodies after we do our annual holiday baking weekend with her classroom teacher and gifted teacher (who know her really well) but that is in addition to their holiday card and gift card. I always send a $5 Starbuck's gift card with my child on the first day of school and write, "You survived your first day with our child. Please have a drink on us ;). ) because I personally LOVE getting starbuck's gift cards. For holiday gift I usually get the teacher a visa or mastercard gift card so they can spend it on whatever they want or need. For teacher's appreciation we usually do a restaurant gift card and then at the end of the year either Barnes and Noble or local nursery gift card since they'll have time to read or garden during the summer. This may seem like a lot but even if it came out to $100 that's not bad considering the fact that the whole year at public school here costs less than $200 and I'm basically getting really cheap babysitting m-f 8:30-3:30. I have a friend who doesn't give teacher gifts because she thinks since teachers chose their occupation they shouldn't get rewarded for doing it. To each their own, but my husband and I are both teachers and we know how many extra hours teachers put in and how often teachers buy classroom items out of pocket in addition to the small pay teachers receive for putting up with other peoples' children, some good, some horrendous. The most important thing we do for our child's teacher is give him or her a polite, respectful and well-behaved child and stand behind her or him 100% and help out as much as we can in the classroom despite our busy schedule. And it can't hurt our child to treat her teachers to a nice gift once in awhile.

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  36. Am I the only one who finds Teacher's Wish Lists tacky? This year we got a long list of what the teacher wanted, in addition teacher appreciation week we were told what to bring each day. I think its a bit presumptious. After all I don't get a gift for doing my job, and I also don't get 3 months off in the summer.

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    Replies
    1. "teacher's wish lists" are usually items that the classroom needs that the school can't or won't supply due to budget cuts. while i am sure you don't get a gift for doing your job your probably don't spend a portion of your income on work related projects either. teachers also rarely get 3 months off a year. they are constantly taking professional development classes and continuing their own education. many have 2nd jobs because they cannot support a family on a teacher's salary. teachers also have to put up with increasing ungrateful and unbelievably rude children and their families.

      Delete
    2. 3 months off?? The kids at our school have 10 weeks; we have 8. And this summer has been and will be completely spent taking a graduate level course for recertification. And I've already been back to my classroom to start setting up. In fact, I need to get off this website and get back to work. I was just taking a mental break looking for classroom ideas and came across this article.

      As far as teacher gifts go, I am happy with a personal note from a child. Of course I enjoy gifts cards--who doesn't? Especially since my salary doesn't provide for extras after paying bills. Classroom gifts are nice too because I spend a whole lot of money on supplies. Anyway, if you don't want to give a gift, that's fine. I don't expect them or keep a mental record of the ones that don't. Most of the parents at our school are very supportive; not all can afford gifts, but nearly everyone sends a note.

      Incidentally, this is the first time ever that I have commented on a web discussion. Usually I keep my opinions to myself, but the comment about having 3 months off struck a nerve with me.

      Delete
  37. I worked for someone who was presented a huge and hideous art project commissioned upon her retirement. She was a hoot to work for and the look on her face (WHUCK?) when it was presented was priceless. Suffice it to say, she absolutely hated it, donated back to the school, and took the tax deduction.

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  38. I came to this site for inspiration for teacher gift ideas. Instead of being inspired I am now going to send a generic coffee shop gc and a dollar store card. Bah humbug.

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  39. I like this... I'm much better with words than crafty stuff, cooking, or shopping!

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  40. This year I made a baking set with cookie mix recipe book and measuring cups. Just wondering is this something the teachers would like? lol I'm having second thoughts

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    Replies
    1. Yes, if your teacher likes baking, absolutely! This year for Christmas a mom gave me a cookie mix, cookie cutters, and sprinkles, accompanied by a sweet card from the student. A gift doesn't have to be expensive.

      I am speaking as a mom as well as a teacher. My kids' teachers go above and beyond anything in their job description. I don't feel obligated to give a gift; I WANT to do it to thank them for all do.

      Delete
  41. Don't forget about the school crossing guard!She's out there in the snow, rain, & heat, every day, to make sure our kids get to school safely!! We always do a Starbucks gift card or movie theater ticket vouchers with a candy bar for her. It's the least we can do...

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  42. I'm a teacher and I agree wholeheartedly with the yes and no lists. I had a parent who actually brought me some yummy Odwalla juice to her daughter's parent teacher conference. She said she knew how hard teachers work to prep for conferences and she thought I might need the vitamin c. She spent two or three bucks and she's still my favorite parent ever. Books for the classroom library with a handwritten note inside the front cover are great too. Compact gifts are good because the teacher may be lugging a lot of presents home at once.

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  43. Don't forget your Guidance counselors! We love to know we have made a difference in your student's life and a note from them would be cherished as far as a gift goes. Anything else would be a perk but with all of us having to tighten our budget belts a simple note would mean so much more!

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  44. I always try to think of things that anyone can use when buying teachers gifts. This past year I bought my kids teachers gift certificates to our local farmers market. I went to the dollar store and bought little baskets and put tissue paper in the basket with a muffin, orange juice and the gift certificate. The market sells everything- homemade pasta, jams, honey, fresh fruits, veggies and sweets! For Christmas one year, I purchased several mini coffee samples from a nice grocery store and put them in a basket - most teachers love coffee. I love giving gifts, but am finding it harder as a parent as my kids get older to get teacher gifts. My daughter even told me this year going in to 9th grade that she didn't want to have to take teacher gifts. I guess I will have to buy starbuck gift cards/school supplies and put in bags and drop off at the front office. lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the farmers market idea! Very thoughtful and useful.

      Delete
  45. My daughter's awesome teacher is moving out of state over the summer, I just printed the note to all the parents for the end of the year/bummer you're leaving because you rock gift. I'm doing a calendar with photos, drawings, and kid or parent quotes. I'm hoping some of them donate money so I don't end up paying for the whole thing. In the note I said the balance will be used for a Starbucks card.
    I hope she likes it. This post has me slightly concerned.

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    Replies
    1. My guess is that she will like it. I'm a teacher and when I changed schools, it was comforting (and made me smile) to be reminded of the kids I loved and left behind. It reminded me that I could come to love my new kids just as much. Plus, if the quotations are about her or her class, they will probably warm her heart or make her laugh. Don't worry; I think you are on the right track!

      Delete
    2. I agree! :-)

      Delete
  46. Another high school guidance counselor here - I can tell you that, for me, a simple note of thanks means more than anything - I am not expecting gifts (and reading all the people parents want to acknowledge - I could see that getting expensive in a hurry). One suggestion I would have, especially as your kids are getting older is to check to see if your school has any type of scholarship fund to help support graduates who need money for college. My school does (the scholarships tend to be a few hundred dollars at best but hey that's books). I love when a parent makes a donation in my name to the fund because I appreciate the recognition but more so, I like that the money is going to help the kids as opposed to providing me the opportunity to serve hot chips and dip and/or fondue in an electric serving tray (actual gift).

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  47. Don't knock the bottle of wine. Any teacher, reg or spec ed, OT, social worker etc. that has had to endure my Autistic/Highly Aggressive son this year not only deserves and NEEDS a gift like that...but is getting one too!

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like we are in a similar situation . I have a 1st grader with aspergers (also aggressive). I gave each teacher a gift card to the local liquor store!! They LOVED it!!

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    2. That would work if the teacher drinks. My mom is a 6th grade special ed teacher who does not drink. Just make sure the teacher can use a gift of that nature.

      Delete
    3. Yeah. The teacher could be a recovering alcoholic or doesn't drink for religious reasons etc. So unless you're *certain* they do drink, I wouldn't give alcohol.

      Delete
  48. It's great to appreciate teachers, but my child's school made a huge deal about it, sending out a schedule of what gifts to get the teachers on what day of the week, and had us getting the teachers gifts every day that week. While this is nice, many people can't afford that, and those children who can't end up feeling a little embarrassed. So, the families did what they could do. It would have been nice if the thank you note idea was on there, but it wasn't. I understand that people don't want to get the same stuff over and over, but it truly is the thought that counts, and teachers are lucky that they get these tokens of appreciation. Most of us in other fields never get any gifts or any tokens of appreciation for our work ever, not even at Christmas, and because of the economy, haven't gotten raises in several years either. Nurses, for nurses appreciation week, got an ice cream cone at one of our area hospitals.

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  49. That is an awesome shirt! I want to get it for my mom (a teacher). LOL!

    And TRUTH about the apple stuff. My mom is finishing her 34th year of teaching, and she could have a whole Christmas tree packed to the max with nothing but apple ornaments. :)

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  50. I have asked teachers before and some favorites were a small tree with gift cards all over it that the class had contributed to and a basket with all the fixings for margaritas (although the parent had buried the actual alcohol at the bottom so that admin didn't see it). The parent had a note that stated "after all you did for the kids this school year and had to put up with from them and their parents... thought this was the best gift for you." OH... and the parent was a local police officer!

    Class gifts seem to be received well. I have collected enough money before to give a teacher a Kindle and a g.c. so she could buy books for it. She cried. With a class of 25+ kids it doesn't take a lot per child. I also had each child answer questions about the teacher and bound the answers into a book the size of dollar bills. Then bound dollar bills between the pages with a note on the cover. Again... she cried.

    Having been a teacher and also having been in the corporate world, I appreciate teachers! They give their own money to better their classrooms! They work for free night after night to make lesson plans, grade papers, etc. My son's own teacher has probably spent close to $2000 this year on classroom supplies and items for her students. I juggled high end marketing campaigns for long hours and yet felt that it was easier then the years teaching. I could walk out the door from my job and turn off my day in the corporate world. A teacher never does. And I think the ways you mentioned are wonderful ways to show appreciation! Thank you for pointing out that it is not the cost but the thought that they really notice! My favorite gift was the notes and really... the stepping stone a little girl and her grandma made for me. I treasured it so much I even hated to put it outside!

    Lastly, don't forget other support staff... the front security guard (ours helps to load and unload car riders, comforts sad kids, etc), secretaries, principal and such. They always appreciate it so much in our school. I have even just dropped of a random piece of chocolate for no reason and brightened their days.

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  51. Please don't forget your child's bus driver! Those guys have one of the hardest jobs! My kids say theirs is a big old meanie but I know he has 40 kids on a bus (K-8!) and that is a huge job.

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  52. Thanks for including teaching assistants on your list. Not that I feel I should get gifts, but some acknowledgement that at times I am with your child more than the regular teacher would be nice. At my school, Educational Assistants are used as actual teachers for small groups, so any argument that we are not "real" teachers is invalid! And honestly, I love these kids as much as the classroom teacher! I wouldn't do this job otherwise!

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  53. As a teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with the heartfelt thank you note. I keep each and every one of them and when things may be tough and I "forget" why I'm a teacher, these are my inspiration. No money needs to be spent. Notes from the kids are always awesome.

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  54. I have been a teacher...and a mom...for many years. The best gift I ever received was a little book made by a student titled, "Why I love Mrs. >>>" It is filled with love and affirmations of why I love to teach....ten years later, it is still a prominent piece of 'art' in my class. Of course, I must also say, gift cards to restaurants and Target are always welcome, too! Teacher mugs, frames, and other chachkis are cute...but, there are only so many that you can take. The handmade something-or-others usually hang in my class until the student has moved on...and then they quietly go away. As a mother...I try to have my child find out what her teacher's likes are...favorite store...favorite book...etc....and then create a little basket. Always a touchy subject...and very personal.

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  55. I felt badly that we didn't 'buy' our Kindergarten teacher a gift for the end of the year. It just wasn't something I could fit into our budget. We were so blessed though with an amazing teacher. I couldn't have asked for better for my daughter. Her teacher is so kind, patient and wonderful with the kids. You get a real sense that she loves your kid as much as you do. That being said my daughter made her a beautiful snowflake (my girl is obsessed with cutting snowflakes) out of heavy card stock and wrote out a message to her all by herself. When we came in for report cards we stopped to see her, my daughter gave her the snowflake and I thanked her for everything she had done for us that year. I feel a little bit better now, knowing that those are the sort of things teachers are looking for. I will also be sure to send a letter into our principal (who is also an amazing guy, who do I report him being awesome too?)

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  56. As the wife of a teacher, gift cards are simply awesome. Yes, teachers are paid to do their job, but many people do not realize how much time goes into it and how poorly they are paid (at least where we live). My husband not only goes in early and leaves late, but he still has to grade papers and answer emails and texts from students and parents in the evening. He never expects gifts (especially since he teaches at the high school level and can be forgotten), but when he gets them, it makes me him appreciated in a job that usually leaves him feeling unappreciated. And as the wife who sometimes feels like a single mom during the school year, I love the gift cards for much needed date nights!

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  57. I give teachers chocolate. I figure everyone likes chocolate. I'm always happy when I'm given chocolate.

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  58. I am a special ed teacher. My favorite surprise this year was a note written by a student, in her poor spelling and crazy second grade handwriting delivered with a hug. I keep a file of notes from parents and students, called my "smile file" and I bring it out when I have a day that brings me to tears.
    I have two kids of my own. We can't afford to buy gifts for everyone at Christmas time or the end of the year so I try to split it up some. This year I gave thank you notes and some sampler candy to all the "specials" teachers (art-music-pe-librarians) and bus drivers at holiday time. We also did an insulated cup full of their favorite candy for the main classroom teacher. Then at the end of the year we gave small treats to the cafeteria workers, office staff, and playground ladies. I also wrote notes to my youngest son's teacher with a small gift and the two teachers that made a big impact on my older son's year (music and tech app) got a note and a small gift card.
    Some weeks these teachers see your kids more than you do. We chose our careers. We love our students like our own (doubt it? Read the stories about Newtown and Moore) Gifting is not required. It is not expected. The only time it hurts my feelings is when I spend more contact hours with a student and their parent makes a big fuss over their homeroom teacher and doesn't even acknowledge that I am the one the kid spends the day throwing pencils at.
    This year in addition to the hundreds of dollars I spent in school supplies for my room I have bought a hair brush, daily snack, and shoes for various little friends whose parents couldn't/wouldn't. Pretty sure my dentist doesn't do that.
    I also am sure to send notes to other people that make a difference in my life - treats to the lady that cuts all our hair, sending notes of recognition to sales people that have done a good job, calling out people who were pleasant by name in post service surveys.
    Maybe we all just need to be nicer in whatever way we can afford - it costs nothing to say "Thanks", a smudge to write that down and you could totally make someone's day. :)

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    Replies
    1. This is the best comment I've read. Thank you for this very thoughtful and well-written post, with perspective as both a teacher and a parent! Thank you also for the work you do every day.

      Delete
  59. This is a great post. I wish every parent would read it! Nobody has space for a lot of knickknacks. I live in a small apartment and when a friend decided to buy me a tall floor-standing lamp for my living room I had to throw out things I had chosen myself to make space for it. There's no way I could keep the gifts from hundreds of students I would never see again. Gift cards and a note is PERFECT!

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  60. My Mom taught kindergarten for 20 years. She would look over the Christmas/end-of-the-year gifts and say: "Well, apparently I stink and they don't think I'm fat." (because of the soaps, lotions and perfumes - and candies)

    My favorite memory: The child who at the beginning of the year wrote on the blackboard at the end of the day: I hat Mrs. Allen. (I explaned how to spell it and much to my delight he got it right and began to write: I hate Mrs. Allen) By mid-year: I lik Mrs. Allen. (That was corrected so he liked me instead of licked me.) By the end of the year: I luv Mrs. Allen. Who could ask for more! The "conversation" and how it changed over the year was the best thing ever!

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  61. My daughter's teacher has many parent volunteers every year. The teacher will give gifts to the parents who come in on a regular basis for the holidays and at the end of the year. Some of those gifts are items she received in the previous year. I was lucky because we have an "About our teachers" board in the hallway and it listed things the teachers like so a gift card to her favorite place to eat was a no brainer for me. It is a shame all schools do not do that. Even just a welcome to our class letter which tells parents about their teachers could be an easy way to hide the information in a fun but very usable way!

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  62. Last year we had a family beach trip planned for one of the week long school breaks. The teachers heard about it for weeks before we went. At the end of the year, I used a picture of the kids from the trip as a card and attached a small seashell that we had collected on the trip. All their teachers expressed how they will remember how our kids talked about that trip so often, so they really appreciated the sea shell and card to remind them.

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  64. I'm a teacher and would LOVE handwritten notes from my kids! I got a few at Christmas and kept them to look at on tough days. If a child really wanted to purchase something, a book to donate to the classroom would be lovely. I spend hundreds each year on books and supplies... so any help is appreciated and it will be used for years by many students.

    A Starbucks gift card is also never frowned upon... :-) I drink coffee daily and my kids noticed and a few mentioned it in their cards. So perceptive!

    But seriously... cards. I'm having my students write thank you notes to our front office and maintenance staff because I know they won't be thanked enough like the general and special ed teachers will.

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  65. I keep seeing "and don't forget the" "insert title here"...where do we stop with the gifts? My husband and I were talking about it, who is NOT important in the school system? No one? Who is MORE important? No one. It it frustrating for parents. In elementary school my children each have a main teacher, music teacher, art teacher, technology teacher, gym teacher.. then there is the nurse, librarian, principles, the aids, the paras, student teachers, custodians (who are so over looked it is ridiculous and they clean your kids barf) , lunch ladies, the bus driver... I mean, seriously, if I were to get EVERYONE who meant something to my child a gift...I would go broke. This year we are doing hand written notes to their teachers. It might not be as cool as a gift card, but it will have to do. I am thankful, I am.. I just can't do it for everyone and to us everyone is so important in making the school tick.

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  66. Oh gosh, should've read this before doing my craft project. I am personally doing a gift card as I always do, but this year, I was in charge of doing the class card so I got small canvases for each kid to write a message or draw the teacher or their favorite activity or memory during the school year and attaching them together in a larger canvas. Is she gonna hate it? Now I'm worried. I should keep it small as possible. I really hope she doesn't feel compelled to keep it!

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  67. At our school, the class does a group gift AND everyone does individual gifts. It's a little over the top-- some of these gifts are insanely expensive, like handbags and the use of a vacation home. A note from a kid would be great, but I feel like I have to add a regular gift to it (maybe movie theater gift cert this year?). Which I'll probably do because it's just easier to fit in. After a point, it's just a big competition.

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    Replies
    1. The use of a vacation home? Wow so that's what teacher presents are like when you are in the 1%.

      Delete
  68. I know that as a human being, I like to be thanked occasionally for things I do. I don't expect to be thanked, but every now and then it feels nice to know that I made someone's day. So I give my children's teachers a thank you note and a little book that they made for them. This year it was a "Mrs. makes me think of..." poem. I know their teachers don't expect gifts, but they are awesome teachers. I'm not thanking them for doing their job. I'm thanking them for being awesome, taking time to get to know my kids and providing a safe place for them to learn. Not because they have to, since they get paid to do those things. They do it because they are just as excited about going to school in the morning as my kids are. Not all teachers are like that. Next year, we might not give gifts at all because the teachers at the next grade level aren't awesome. If someone is making a difference in my child's life, they should be recognized whether it's their babysitter, their pediatrician, or the cashier at the grocery store. There are enough people out there who aren't awesome people so the ones who are should be thanked for it, whether they are just doing their jobs or not.

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  69. As a teacher, I've sometimes had parents combine their $10 or (whatever they put toward a gift) so that I and the other teachers got a "bigger" gift card. Still, the best thing is the hand-written card! :)

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  70. I have 3 kids (3 years to 9 years old) that are taught by 13 different teachers, including teaching assistants. The idea of getting them all a gift card seems really expensive! I usually get the kids involved with making a small cake for each of them, but now I'm having second thoughts :(

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  71. Just a question, last year for my son's class, we got his teacher and the TA both a large wooded letter (a and b for their last names)and had the kids sign their names to each one. Was this a stupid idea?

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  72. I find it incredibly tacky for teachers to complain about getting things they don't "want". I used to see this all the time when I worked in education. Be thankful to be getting anything at all, and graciously accept whatever gifts students and parents choose to give; I have never seen another profession where employees expect personal gifts from every client simply for doing their jobs, and it's especially disappointing how many of them complain about said gifts not being to their satisfaction.

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    1. I don't think they're complaining about the gifts they receive "not being to their satisfaction." They're letting us know (in response, remember, to the bloggers' question on our behalf) what their favorite gifts are. It must be upsetting for them (on our behalf as well as their own) to receive gifts that they know good time & money were spent on but that they can't use. I for one greatly appreciate the inside knowledge provided here that will help us all, since I DON'T want to waste my time and money and I DO want to show my appreciation to my son's awesome teachers!

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  73. I agree with the hand-written letters or cards - still my favourites! If you really want to get a teacher a gift please consider a gift card to a place that they can use for the classroom. The younger the grade, the more money that the teacher spends out of their own pocket. I probably spend close to $1000 each year. Imagine if everyone had to spend a large portion of their own money each year just to be able to do their job. I can easily spend $100 at a dollar store on items we will use every day in the classroom. You will be helping future students, just as past students helped your child succeed in school.

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    Replies
    1. Hey--Do you have any statistics to back up your comment that the "younger the grade, the more money that teacher spends out of their own pocket"? My husband and I are both high school teachers and we use a separate credit card for our classroom purchases so we can keep track of them. Between the two of us we spent over $3000 last year on supplies for our students and classrooms. My husband has spent our money on feeding his band students dinner before each of the home football games this year. Please just make sure you have your facts straight before you make blanket statements like that.

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    2. If your husband is feeding his band students dinner before home games, that is his choice, not a requirement. Our orchestra parents provide dinner for the musicians before performances. The director has occasionally ordered from a local restaurant, but each child brings in their contribution to cover it.

      Delete
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  76. nice blog.i am impressed very useful information.i agree the hand written cards. thanks for sharing.

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  77. I give teachers and our bus driver gifts, but they are homemade. A crochet hat and scarf set in their favorite color, a crocheted afghan, a crochet kitchen set, or personalized t-shirts with all the students names and the school year. I do it to keep them motivated to be good teachers and let them know all their hard work does not go un-noticed ! all to often teachers get burnt out and become complacent. these little gifts sometimes help them to remember that their job is important!

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  78. Great article.As a teacher, I've sometimes had parents combine their $10 or (whatever they put toward a gift) so that I and the other teachers got a "bigger" gift card. Still, the best thing is the hand-written card! :) - See more at: http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/2012/05/truth-about-teacher-gifts.html#sthash.tA7nsmNZ.dpuf

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  79. For the past few years, we have given my H.S. daughter's teachers plants at the end of the year. Gerbera daisies that she plants in a clay pot. You could have your child paint the pot, too. Also, for the really hardworking teachers (her special ed teachers), she got a large container and chose a few plants/ flowers she thought they would like and planted them inside. they really liked it.

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  80. My daughter has Autism and has some very hardworking teachers in her corner. For the past few years at the end of the year, she has given them plants they can put on their porches at home. Gerbera daisies in a clay pot she planted herself and then painted. This past year she chose 3 plants she knew they would like and planted them in a large container of their favorite color. they loved it! p.s. be careful with gift cards to local places. some of the teachers don't live in the district and may drive 1/2 hr to 45 mins. to get to school and do not have the local stores near their homes.

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  81. My idea: a TeachersPayTeachers gift card. Even if they aren't familiar with the site, they will love it when they use it!

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  82. Best idea is to offer white flower to our teachers..It shows the clarity of our mind and respect towards them or to gift books on respective subjects they are specialized.

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  84. Good Lord this list includes everyone but the janitor! Wish we nurses were near as appreciated! Talk about never getting time off and impacting someone's life. This is kind of overkill and I don't feel a gift is needed at all.

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    1. I agree! I'm a teacher and a mother of three, the pressure of giving gifts, cards, or anything at all is quietly increasing on parents. Just because a simple note, or letter is cheap doesnt mean it's easy on parents to give to teachers. We teachers do what we are paid to do, as for any other job whatever it may be. What do teachers expect these notes to say, "thank you for teaching my child?" Honestly how did this trend begin in the first place. This (A) whole website on this topic proves how big headed some teacher are! And where does it stop, special teachers, music teachers, p.e teachers my god the list goes on just for one child let alone my three! like the post above nurses, road cleaners, police, and many more don't dare even think of expecting something as simple as a thank u note despite the long hours and risks they take for us. I say no gifts please, im doing my job as like everyone else whether your a mother, or just a simple tax payer.

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  89. Do not want to be a scrooge or a stooge, but there is a list of about 28 people in these suggestions we should write notes to and/or provide the proper gift for, no matter how much we love our teachers, we and our kids do not have time for 28 thank yous or cash for that many gifts... we have usually focused our efforts on the key 3-5 teachers who our child is most in tune with, leaving us of course guilty about all those not acknowledged... where is the proper line ? Teachers are not exactly lightening the homework load this time of year... Is end of year acknowledgment good enough, when the zani holidays are past? All honest questions...

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  92. As a former-room mom, I thought I would send a few ideas - things that we've given to our children's teachers in the past. This year for Christmas, the room mom for my son's class collected a set amount of cash from each family, and was able to give the teacher an ipad mini with a nice cover. Last year's teacher received a Kindle HD after the class collection, and for one of the end-of-the year gifts, I bough the teacher and her assistant cute jewelry boxes, and each family that wanted to participate, contributed a gift card to a different store, salon, restaurant, etc. I filled the jewelry boxes with the gift cards, and we asked each child to send in a hand-made card. For Teacher Appreciation week, we selected a different small gift for each day (Monday each child brought in a flower, and we made an interesting bouquet, Tuesday each child brought a different piece of fruit and we assembled a fruit basket, Wednesday each child brought in a breakfast item and stocked the teacher's lounge for breakfast, etc).

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  97. Two gifts that we gave over the years of my 3 daughters being in elementary school that stood out were 1. A caricature of my daughters teacher (this was a class gift) - with the class photo in the background, and 2. Our daughters bus driver retired, after driving all 3 of them for several years, so we gave her a caricature as well. Both made a point of letting us know how much they appreciated the thought that went into the gifts. The bus driver wasn't able to open the gift when it was presented, and she actually made a point of coming to our house after she retired to tell us how special the gift was to her. We really appreciated that as well. In both cases we were able to incorporate special things about the recipients, which made it a thoughtful and special keepsake. The last time I was in my daughters teachers room, the caricature was still hanging there. The caricatures were done at http://www.giveacaricature.com

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  98. I didn't read every single comment . . . . But the bus driver would appreciate a thank you too.

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  99. How about nothing? Christ, quit the bitching about the gifts. Why the hell do teachers have to get gifts? I worked as a nurse for many years. I have saved many lives, cried with my patients & their loved ones. I've played many roles in my profession one of them is teacher. I would never expect a gift in return for what I do. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to become a nurse. I did this because I wanted to do this. I work weekends, evenings, nights, holidays and have risked my life at times by exposing myself to certain illnesses to care for the sick and dying yet expect no gift in return. I am rewarded by my patients saying a simple, "Thank you for what you do."

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    Replies
    1. I guess I interpreted this post differently than you. I thought the point was to give guidance to those who wanted to show their appreciation for the other person present in their child's life for most other hours in the day. It didn't seem to imply that teachers expected the gift. In fact, the post said that the number one gift teachers appreciated was a simple heartfelt "thank you" much like you are suggesting.

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    2. I was thinking how 'gifting' our teachers ever came to be? You're right, we don't thank others in the same manner as we do teachers...why is that?

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    3. I have been an elementary school teacher for over 25 years. The best and only gift is to honor the work I do by having children at school on time and prepared with supplies. Please do not take your child out for one or two weeks of school for a vacation. Unfortunately, high-stakes testing takes place throughout the year, and our evaluations are now being based on many of these assessments. We can't teach students who are not present. Stacks of staped worksheets won't cut it, and our curricum pacing is at lighning speed. Expectations are high. Parents, community leaders, and state legistators demand much from teachers. Make school, education, and hard work a priority in your family. That is thanks enough.

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    4. Personal opinion: teachers give our children their time, attention and love for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year. After their "work day" is done: they attend IEP meetings, staff meetings, meet with parents, tutor stuents ... then at night, they grade tests & papers at home ... they are also expected to volunteer for duty at a certain number of school district events/functions (even the elem. teachers in my district are expectedt o "volunteer" for a minimum number of events). That's nights & weekends. And their summer breaks? Go to school, continuing education classes, pursue your master's degree, attend seminars, etc. Prepare your classroom for next year. Update your materials & lesson plans.

      So, yeah, I think they deserve a small token of appreciation! I always do the thank you notes - especially for the phenomenal teachers my kids have had - and a small gift card. Just to say "hey, I know what it takes, and thank you for all that you do that you don't get credit for."

      FWIW: any time I (or my kids/husband) have had a hospital stay, I am sure to take note of the nurses' names and always send a note of appreciation (copied to the HR dept) of a job well done. I do the same when I receive exceptional service at restaurants, hotels, etc. Overkill? Maybe. But I' believe in recognizing a job well done. And in this day & age of email, it's not hard to do.

      Conversely, I believe in recognizing a job NOT well done and will send letters for that purpose, as well.

      And in my job (public financial assistance worker), I operate as if everyone were like me. I do fail in that effort occasionally - not spectacularly, but I do fail. And I do expect that people will complain about me. I'd deserve it for a couple of them!

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  100. What a great post. I'm a teacher, and I can attest to all of the above!

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  101. This is wonderful, except.... using the library is not bugging the librarian! Librarians (school & public) want kids there! And we want to hear their questions, and for them to grow up knowing that when the librarian is sitting at the desk, he or she is waiting for someone to ask a question. We are not too busy for them!
    P.S. Not that a gift isn't nice. :)

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  102. How about, 'you get what you get and you don't throw a fit'. This is what's taught to all my kids and other parent's kids from teachers. Wow.

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  103. THANK YOU!!!!!!! As a mom and teacher, this list is spot on and helpful! Yes, you get what you get, no doubt about it. As a teacher, I graciously thank each and every student for any gift or card he or she writes, and I write a personal thank you not in response to everything from gift cards to hand written notes. Further, I would never give a "wish list" to my PTO. My kids' daycare posted a teacher wish list a couple of Christmases ago, and it even included a "what I don't want" section! I was horrified. I don't really have a right to expect anything, and I'm certainly not picky about any child who does choose to give me a small gift at the end of the year. That said, there really is only so much I can do with ornaments and candy. I feel guilty when a student has spent his or her money, or the child's parents have, on something I simply cannot use. I don't complain to anyone, student or colleague. But, if parents are looking for ideas so that their gift is used in the spirit it is intended, this is a great idea. Again, this is for parents who are seeking out ideas. Those parents who have their own ideas, whatever they may be, are equally thoughtful and their gifts are equally appreciated.

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  104. As a parents and past students i think when we are at the primary section we like to give gifts to teachers when we reach middle we start neglecting to give the gifts as soon as as we reach high school we avoid giving gifts thinking why we give gifts to others.Hope this things should not come in our children mind always respect your teacher.Thanks for such a nice post.
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  105. I gave my science teacher a water bottle with a filter. He was going backpacking in a few weeks.

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  106. I wonder when will it be considered proper etiquette for each gift to be acknowledged with a hand-written thank-you card? Just a thought... this really can get out-of-hand quickly. :S

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  107. I think flowers by post is the best thing as a gift for teacher.

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  108. When both my kids started school this year I sent a index card with questions for the teacher to answer & return to me. The questions were -"What is your fav snack, hobbies or interests, color, what their goal was for the school year"etc. Showing interest to want to know about the teacher & what they like really means a lot! It also helps me on gifts or special thank you's through out the year.

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  109. This is a great article that we shared on our Facebook page! It is very true, teachers are no longer very impressed the "mug" gift. Our Teresa the Teacher Doll is a perfect gift for teachers! Teachers love her. http://www.everydaypeopledolls.com/shop/teresa-the-teacher/

    ReplyDelete

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