Because of the economic recession, our area of the state has one of the highest unemployment rates around. Factories are doing lay-offs and some plants are even closing. Our school has decided to do their part to help families feeling the pinch of less income. This year there will be no gift exchange between the kids and many of the teachers are insisting that they receive no gifts. One teacher said that the children who are unable to give her a gift feel bad and feel like she will not like them as much as the others. (which is not true at all in case you wondered- lol).
Anyway, I buy gifts for teachers and other adult helpers in my kid’s lives throughout the year when I find things on clearance racks. So when I got the note saying “please no gifts”, I had to get creative in order for the teacher to accept the gift I had been collecting for her for nearly 6 months (sticker and stamping set for grading schoolwork).
I decided that I would make this gift from the whole class rather than just from my kid. So, I spoke to the music teacher to see if she could help. The plan: the music teacher will receive a large envelope from my kid (his regular teacher will think nothing of my son delivering a package to someone else for his mom- lol). Inside is a computer generated card I made for my son’s teacher and a letter to the kids explaining what surprise awaits their teacher- if they can keep a secret! The music teacher is going to have each child sign the card and return the large envelope to my son to bring back to home to me! I will then wrap up the surprise and figure out a way to “drop it off” by their classroom w/o being seen sometime before Christmas break! This is soooo exciting- I love doing surprises!
If you have not yet purchased a gift for your children’s teachers or other significant adults, here are some ideas that I have heard that teachers enjoy and some I’ve done in the past:
- basic supplies for the kids (pencils, crayons, paper)
- game for the classroom (does not have to be educational- the kids need activities for during inside recess too)
- storybook for the classroom
- stickers and stamping set for grading papers (this years!)
- homemade drink mixes
- homemade cookies
- ornament with child’s picture on it
- ornament made by the child
- over-sized card with all the student’s names on it
- thank you card
- a letter praising their teaching ability with specific examples of what is working well for you and your child and send a copy of it to the principal or superintendant
- gift card or certificate to a teacher store or bookstore
- An essay or drawing from the child of what they like about the teacher
- a monetary donation to a non-profit organization in honor of the teacher
- ask if there is a specific need in their classroom and do your best to fill that need or help with it in any way you can
What ways have you thanked the other adults in your kid’s lives? I’d love to hear your ideas!
A side note: last year, one of my kid’s teachers had a death in her family and she had a really hard time with it. She was gone for 2 weeks or more. My SIL (sister in-law) and I both thought that something from the kids might help her to feel a little more like coming back to school. My SIL brought in a roll of butcher paper and markers and wrote in really large letters, “Welcome Back Mrs. Smith” and had the kids add their own special greetings to the butcher paper. The substitute and my SIL then hung it up above the board so it would be the first thing she saw when she came back to school. I took a regular poster board and folded it in half. I used post it note letters and wrote “Hands are like Hugs” on the front. The inside message was “This is our hug to you” and had the children trace their hands anywhere they wanted on the card. My son and his cousin then brought that with them to the funeral home when we went for the visitation. Their teacher was thrilled and took it right up close to the casket and propped it up for everyone to see.
Don’t be afraid to thank those people in your life and your children’s lives for the work they do! There is nothing nicer than knowing you are appreciated, well, except maybe the fun of giving the appreciation!