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Teacher Gifts, Part 3

I’ve spent a couple days this week talking about teacher gifts so feel free to catch up before you start reading today. But if you’re already caught up, let’s dive in – to my own ideas for what to give teachers as a “thank you” for putting up with your kid –and, let’s face it, you – for a year.

First off, think about who you want to remember with a little something. For me, it’s the people I see every day, whose paths I regularly cross as my daughters go about their school lives. So if you’ve never had a one-on-one meeting with your school principal and can only vaguely remember what she looks like, then don’t worry about a personal gift; perhaps something small for the whole office staff to share would be great.
On the other hand, if your child’s education needs extra time to coordinate – say, your child is on the autism spectrum, or you have had discipline issues, or something along those lines – then by all means remember your principal. Likewise, consider a small thank-you to any additional adults your child regularly sees: a school speech therapist, the counselor, a language tutor, that sort of thing. And I strongly encourage you to remember the front desk receptionist of your child’s school: at Maddie’s elementary school the receptionist is accurately nicknamed “The Gatekeeper” and you can tell how much a mom volunteers at the school by how friendly The Gatekeeper is towards her. The receptionist works hard and usually can match twelve hundred kids’ names with their faces by October. Show her a little love.

For us, we are doing a small gift – probably a personal note and small gift card – for the crossing guard on our daily route. She always chats with Maddie by name and is never anything but cheerful and kind. And we’ll be seeing her for the next seven years.

Maddie’s teacher is getting a large gift card from her class, which we know she will love. She’s gone above and beyond for Maddie this year so my daughter wanted to do something personal as well; so we’re also getting a necklace we found on Etsy for her. Not expensive, but I’ve been around the teacher enough to know that it’s definitely her style.

For the front office staff Maddie and I are making a batch of hand sanitizer –something no school can ever have too much of. You can find a ridiculously easy recipe for it on Crunchy Betty. We’re also putting a bit of hand sanitizer in a pretty bottle for our Gatekeeper, along with a small gift card and personal note.

Cora is making sock buddies for her two teachers; I know I said such things are a risk but it’s risk-free here; I know these women quite well, and know they’ll get a lot of use out of the sock buddies with their own children. And Cora loves to sew, and really wants to make them.

A friend of mine home schools her children but has almost ten peripheral teachers who regularly interact with her kids, between speech therapy and art teacher and soccer coach and so on. Because the atmosphere is much more casual and she knows all the teachers quite well, she’s made a huge batch of strawberry jam from strawberries they picked themselves, and giving a jar to each teacher. As long as you know your recipient, it’s a great gift.

Maddie wants to do small gifts for all her “specials” teachers this year , so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Her PE teacher is getting a gift card to iTunes since she plays current music during gym class; her librarian is receiving an illustration from an old book of a woman reading to children sitting all around her. We found the picture on Etsy for ten bucks and again, are friends with the librarian and know she’ll love it. We’ve got similar small personal items planned for the art teacher and music teacher: nothing huge, just something that says they are noticed and appreciated.

So that’s what we’re doing: sock buddies, gift cards, hand sanitizer, and some personal items from Etsy (which, by the way, is a treasure trove for one-of-a-kind, inexpensive gifts). Bottom line: don’t stress, just take the time to thank the people who are working hard to help your baby out there in the big bad world.

Go forth and thank.


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