This article was written by Andy McCall. Andy is in his 9th year teaching, and does everything to honor his little girl, Penelope, who passed last year. He is the author of the new book: Pig & Steel. Check him out on his Blog.
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'Tis the season of teacher gifts! Some teachers ask that kids not bring them into school, to avoid people feeling left out. Some teachers give out detailed wishlists. Whatever the case, teacher gifts make their way into your classroom in the hands of kids with beaming eyes, curious to see if you like what their parents got you. It's the time of year that teachers get creative on how to say, “Oh honey I’ll eat this later for my snack!” and “I love it! I’ll use this every day when I’m home on Christmas break!”
Truthfully, I’m ecstatic when I see those little devilish faces show up with a teacher gift. Whether it's a Christmas card they cut out and drew on, some homemade chocolatey something, or a mug with "#1 Teacher" on it (to go with the 47 other ones I own), I know that for a split second they thought of me and wanted to do something nice. That part alone warms my heart.
But... If I did have a say in the matter, I think I could help a few parents out in that department. It isn’t about how much you spend, but a little thought could go a long way. So ditch the cheesy mugs filled with that hard candy you only find at grandmas, and give these gift ideas a shot.
1. GIFT CARDS
Put some thought into these. Don’t go with the McDonalds or Burger King, I’m already in line there feeling terrible about it. Try out the local grocery store, gas station, wine stop, steakhouse or hip new coffee shop that we probably wouldn’t try without a little help from you.
This always hits you right in the feelings. Whether it be to St. Jude or the local Animal Shelter, knowing that the $10 you were going to spend on me is going to someone in need teaches your child it isn’t always about the gift, but what gift-giving is all about. A lot of teachers even have GoFundMe projects that parents can make donations to, and help support a classroom project they're trying to fund, or support their classroom supplies budget.
One parent said, “I know you need to veg out after dealing with Johnny for 4 months, so here is two months of Netflix on me!” Now you're speaking my language!
You can't go wrong with the magic bean! Maybe it's an organic breakfast blend, an exotic strand from the Himalayas, or just some coffee you found that donates proceeds to veterans. Whatever it may be, A) you just saved us a trip to the grocery store and B) You gave us 5 minutes of sanity back. Bonus gift; travel mug to go with it. You know we don’t have time to sit and sip at home, and anything that keeps it hot a little longer can't hurt either!
5. NICE SOCKS
No one has ever complained about a nice pair of socks, well other than from your grandmother when you were hoping for some cash. I’ve gotten some really nice ones over the years and I won’t complain a bit. The funniest ones are when the students pick them out.
Via: That Cheap Bitch
One year, I got an organizer full of school supplies to use for the next year. It was perfect. I put them up in the cabinet and when I was cleaning out everything at the end of July, I found them and started the year off with a few extra dollars in my pocket from not having to buy an extra set. We can never have enough pencils, tissues, hand sanitizer, wipes, whiteboard markers, post-it notes, and the list goes on.
Stick with me on this one. Little girl comes in with a personal sized cooler and hands it to me as she says Merry Christmas. Instead of what I usually fit in a cooler, inside was: a gift card to the gas station (for supplies), some cheap sunglasses, sunscreen, a cheap towel, and a few reusable ice packs with a note that said, “Have some fun on us.” So I did, froze the packs, bought some beverages, few dollars in gas, and headed to the river when it warmed up for an afternoon of peace and quiet.
“Relieve all that tension we caused!” Now, for the high-rollers, a full hour is amazing. One year, I had a group of kids' parents get together to throw in on a group gift. They bought me a gift certificate to a nice massage spa—the kind of place that every teacher knows they'd never step foot in, otherwise!
There are so many of these now you can find some really cheap ones that give out samples or smaller gifts for only $10 a month or so. The kids knew what I liked outside of school, so a couple months of gifts to my doorstep was a pretty neat gesture. Especially when they arrived right before I was grading their papers!
10. GIFTS FOR MY PETS
I love my pets more than life itself, so a gift for them is a gift for me, and my kids know it! Whether it be from the I Love Cats t-shirt I wear on casual Friday, or the dog hair covering my back every day, some kids have brought in treats and toys for my fur babies. Teacher win-win. Tinkerbelle will have a stocking full of treats, now I don’t have to buy them.