If you are anything like me, a last minute shopper, you may be out this weekend searching for the perfect teacher present. I seem to know a lot of teachers, so I asked them for their view on what the best end–of-term gifts actually are.
Teachers work hard. If you doubt that, you should stop reading now. I have friends who have worked for years in the profession, I see how much of their soul and personal time they put into the job.
The dilemma I pondered was buying gifts for the whole teaching team have to consider the teaching assistants. My child’s class teachers job share, so the gifts tally 4 at least. But hang on, the teaching assistants often float from class to class in reception, so really, should I be thinking of a group gift?
When my eldest left nursery, I asked a close teacher friend what to buy the team. She suggested goodies for the staff room, which worked, as nursery operates all-year round. But at school, a box of nice biscuits given on the last day of term would hardly be crunchy fresh by September.
Here’s the main headlines from my unscientific poll among teachers which unsurprisingly affirms, it’s not the gift, it’s the gesture.
Don’t feel pressured into buying gifts. While it’s lovely people show their appreciation, teachers are aware of those on different budgets. In fact, sometimes it can be embarrassing to receive lavish gifts. “After all, I am just doing my job,” one of my teacher interviewees claims.
One present from the whole class is a great idea. Clubbing together as a class to give a voucher is a great way to thank a teacher, with each family chipping in what they can afford.
Original words, from the heart. A handwritten note from the student, in their own words, means so much.
Powerfully small. A small gift related to the teacher’s personal interests is really touching. It shows the parents have put some thought into the gift. “The thoughtful gifts or notes are the ones you remember,” says another teacher. Ideas from teachers themselves included cookery items, a flower seed bomb, a page-turning paperback book to read over the summer holidays, home made cakes, biscuits, anything crafty made by their students, chocolate, wine, wine and thrice wine.
“About 8 years ago one of my class gave me a Kilner jar with the dry ingredients for muffins beautifully layered in it. She attached the recipe she had written out and labelled it as ‘Something to bake with your daughter’. A lovely gift and we still use the jar for sweeties!” one of my contributors tells me.
Gift of another gift.Save the Children run a campaign called Wish List. There are a host of academic related donations you can make for schools in parts of the world that need it most. Of course, our own schools struggle too, so a donation to the PTA in the name of your student’s teaching team would also go down well. Best of all, it’s a perfect, last-minute gift idea which you can do from your computer at home!
Happy summer holidays everyone!