Each year since kindergarten, The Pea has declared her current teacher to be "The Best Teacher Ever", and I must admit I've adored all her teachers so far. The fact that they are full of praise for The Pea and her talents probably has a lot to do with it, but they've also been open about areas where she can improve and how we can help her progress at home. I credit her teachers for making classroom learning fun and exciting, and for challenging The Pea to be the best Pea she can possibly be. 3Po and Jammy are having similar experiences with their own teachers and at this point I can safely say our school is blessed to have great teachers, and my kids will have great learning experiences no matter which classroom they end up in.
So when the holidays roll around, I like to think extra-hard about what kinds of presents to get them. We don't have a big budget for holiday presents, but I always like to get my kids' teachers a little something. The eternal question is, what? What would a teacher appreciate? Candy or baked goods is always my first impulse -- but imagine getting 20 boxes of chocolate! The same goes for #1 Teacher mugs, soap-on-a-rope and other useless trinkets. If you've got the same dilemma, here are 4 ideas that work for me:
1) Contribute a small amount of cash along with other parents in the class and get a gift card to Starbucks, Target, a spa or some other . As a room parent I have never advocated specifying a set amount of money since I know different parents can afford different amounts; I think any amount you can give, be it $5 or $25, will be appreciated.
2) My friend and fellow Office Max blog panelist Heather (the Tween Teacher), wised me up about giving school supplies to teachers. I had no idea that so many teachers had to pony up their own cash to buy school supplies for their kids! So ask your teacher if she needs anything for her class -- be it a ream of paper, a couple of ink cartridges or a box of file folders -- and get it for her. Or get a gift card to an office supply store.
3) Who doesn't like flowers? Flowers always make me feel special, and a vase of flowers on the dining room table always makes me feel a wee bit closer to Martha Stewart -- and I can't think that any teacher, male or female, would feel any different.
4) What are we giving teachers this year? Nothing. To be more precise, I'm planning to buy something from Manila and give it to my kids' teachers when we come back in January. I'm sure I can find some native pendants or scarves that won't cost a lot of money but are unique and meaningful because they come from a country that The Pea has ties to.
If anyone has other good teacher gift ideas, I'd love to hear them! Let's work together to make sure no teacher gets a ceramic apple paperweight this holiday season!
This post was inspired by teacher/author Phil Done's experience of receiving a present shaped like a box of candy, freezing it and taking out months later, only to find out that it was actually a tie. It's all chronicled, along with other hilarious and touching stories, in his latest book, Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind. Read my review of this book on Bonggamom Finds, and head on over to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog to read how this book inspired other moms.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Phil Done last summer; the views and opinions expressed in my review are my own.