Teacher Gifts

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Categories Community, Education, How Do The Moms Do It, Other people, SchoolTags , , , ,
Photo Credit: Naenia Ivella
Photo Credit: Naenia Ivella

It’s the last week of the school year, so it’s time to show my appreciation for my daughters’ teachers in the form of gifts. There’s certainly no obligation to give a gift, but I think it’s a nice gesture. I’d venture to say that most of my friends get their kids’ teachers, at least their classroom teachers, end-of-year gifts.

Last year, I had three teachers to thank: each child’s kindergarten teacher plus the first grade teacher into whose class they both skipped mid-year.

This year, I was astonished to find myself writing 19 thank you cards to go with the teacher gifts I’d picked up. My initial reaction was, “This is nuts… and crazy expensive.” A few hours later, though, a different perspective occurred to me. There were 19 different people, at least, who’d taken the time to nurture and teach my children during their first year at this new school. They were the reason that my divorce, our move away from Daddy, and my ex’s remarriage didn’t appear to have had too much of a negative impact on the kids. These 19 people were among those who’d provided the structure and stability in which my daughters have flourished. They’re the ones who put smiles on J and M’s faces when I drive off to work, so I can confidently leave them in the care of others–these very others–11 hours every weekday.

The people I shopped for were

  • M and J’s classroom (math, science, social studies, English, Spanish) teachers (2)
  • “Specials” (art, music, P.E.) teachers (7)
  • Talented and Gifted teacher (1)
  • School counselors (2)
  • After school care counselors (6)
  • Principal (1)

Usually, I make thank you gifts. I’ll make a teacher’s favourite cookie or try my hand at a non-allergenic recipe for a treat another has mentioned that they can’t eat any more. I’ll cross stitch a small piece of art on a topic covered during the school year, or make a special bookmark.

This year, I just haven’t had the time. I resorted to gift cards for Amazon or iTunes, except for four recipients: three are pregnant or have just given birth and the other is also a MoM. They got goodies from my gift stash. When I see baby gear or art kits on sale or discover a book I really love, I buy several to keep on hand for baby showers and wedding or birthday gifts. I limit my stash to 5 baby gifts and 10 art kits or books, because my house would get even crazier than it is otherwise.

Since this year’s gifts were pretty impersonal, I put an extra effort into the thank you cards. Usually, I would just have the girls make cards themselves. This year, though, I wanted each person to know that I had noticed their efforts for my daughters. I wanted them to know that they’d made a difference. I especially wanted the teachers I haven’t met to know that my daughters talk about them at home and remember what they’ve taught them.

M’s been dreading today. She doesn’t want the school year to end. Part of it is that she doesn’t like change, but the other part is that she genuinely loves school. The gifts I give my daughters’ teachers pale in comparison to the lifelong gifts they’ve given my children: a love of learning, a boost in confidence, and a sense of security.

Do you give teacher gifts? To whom? What are some good gift ideas?

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

6 thoughts on “Teacher Gifts”

  1. As a teacher myself, I really appreciate little tokens at the end of the year that remind me I am connected to a whole family and not just one child, and that we have all worked together through the school year to support this young person. I actually love iTunes gift cards :o) Anything homemade is awesome. I once was given tupperware and that was totally cool too! Truly my favorite thing is a heartfelt card that says, hey, you really helped my child feel special and grow this year. Sometimes the child doesn’t reveal how much impact you have had on them even though they talk about your class at home. I think it’s so great that you took the extra time and energy to appreciate your daughters’ teachers :o)

  2. Cards and letters are the best. As a high school teacher, we don’t usually get gifts from parents, but once in a while a (ex-)student or parent would write a card or send an email to thank me. I keep all of these so I can look back and read them when I’m feeling bleh.

  3. Our girls are only still in preschool, in the same small class, so we only had two teachers to buy for. I did a Pinterest-y kind of package…some gardening gloves with the sentiment, “We are so thankful our girls have been in such wonderful hands this year.” I gave them each a gift card, one to Tar*get, and one to the craft store, knowing their individual likes.

    I put thought into the holiday gift I gave the teachers, but this one felt so much more meaningful to me. I am so incredibly grateful to them for the year our girls had…their first exposure to school!…and I wanted to make sure that came across with my words.

    I find myself struggling a bit, though, with the value of the gift cards. I went higher value, given that I have two children…but I don’t ever want to come across as going overboard. I’m guessing most teacher friends would say it’s the thought that counts, but that feels easier said than done when I’m actually putting the gifts together! :)

    1. I know what you mean about the gift card amounts. It’s so hard to gauge. It was especially hard when we lived in El Paso, since there was a significant population of truly impoverished families at the school. Now, I need to be significantly more frugal as a single mom than I did when we had two incomes, and that’s a bitter pill, too. I hate feeling like I can’t afford to send the message I want, even though, as you say, I know it’s the thought that counts.

  4. Hi! I’m a mom of two sets of twins, a “family friendly” film actress and … oh yeah … in my free time (FREE time … ho ho ho!) I dive with Great White Sharks. Can I come over and play?? I’d love to join you ladies in a blog thing-y!!!

  5. So often something you say will completely turn around my day, Sadia! I loved your perspective about having so many people who loved and cared for your daughters this year!

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