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?