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End-Of-Year Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It’s that time of year again – when the weather warms up and the days grow longer and everyone is thinking of one thing:

Time to get cracking on the teacher gifts.

Of course, the time to get cracking was a few weeks ago – now we’re in crunch mode. But I’ve been working on them for a couple weeks here, and have a few things to say.

And some suggestions for gifts.

First of all, teacher appreciation gifts are not a blatant opportunity to bribe your teachers into taking better care of/passing on a good report about your child. I have a friend who is a retired principal and teacher, and she laughs about end-of-year gifts.

“Every time I see an extravagant gift – a large gift card, something insanely disproportionate to a student/teacher relationship – I know it’s one of two things. Either the gift is from a parent who has been at the school all year long, involved and volunteering, who sees how much work it is and how understaffed we are. The parent knows what we pour into her child, and she is grateful.

Or else it’s from a family I’ve never met, who barely shows up for Parent-Teacher nights, and is offering me a blatant bribe to try to help their kid be better next year.”

I do not live in an overly affluent neighborhood. But I do see parents giving teacher $100 gift cards, or some extravagant item they’ve purchased. I see moms get completely worked up trying to find gifts for absolutely everyone – teachers, aides, office staff, the list is endless. I’ve seen this frenzy, and it is not pretty.

I’m up at my daughters’ schools a lot. I see how hard they work. And if I could give everyone who has been a part of my daughters’ school years a free massage, I would. But I cannot, and frankly, I think that would make many educators uncomfortable.

I’m also not hugely excited about giving a teacher a gift I know she’s going to throw out in a week because 1) it’s not her style, or 2) she already has THIRTY other scented candles, or 3) she’s been teaching for twenty years and simply can’t store all the crap she’s been (lovingly) given. I want to give my daughters’ teachers something that will say “ thank you”. Something that will let them know how much I appreciate them. Something that will pamper them a bit, if possible.

And something that won’t break my bank as I get ten more of them.

I have a few ideas.

Which I will share with you tomorrow.


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