During my last five years of teaching, I have taught many grades in many different types of schools- everything from kindergarten to 8th grade. As such, I have received many different types of gifts from many different families. While I'm not a greedy person, I am always shocked to realize how many parents have a difficult time choosing gifts for their students' teachers. Rather than letting your child choose the gift (I have received Webkins, teddy bears, and Lip Smackers because of this tactic), peruse these lovely options so that your teacher's heart will be warmed this year.
1) Think books! Most classroom teachers purchase books and teaching materials with their own money throughout the school year. Many of these same teachers are avid readers. When I taught elementary school, many thoughtful parents donated their child's favorite book to the classroom library as a holiday gift, or got me gift cards to Barnes and Noble. I've also recently discovered eBookFling, an online book rental community for users of PCs, Macs, Kindles, Nooks, or iPads. For $36 dollars, your teacher can rent one book a month for twelve months. Each title rented appears on your reader or computer for two weeks, then vanishes. Awesome!
2) Skip the lotions and go for office supplies. I'm fortunate enough now to work at a school with more than ample supplies, but I'm still a sucker for a fun notebook, or a fancy clipboard. Paper Source has amazing file folders, fun stapler, scissor, and notepad sets, and cheery organizational tools that any teacher would love!
3) Think about what you know about your child's teacher. Last year, I was teaching with a friend who was recently exploring a vegetarian lifestyle. She was also the teacher to a set of twins. For the holidays, the twins' mom gifted my friend with a few tried-and-true vegetarian cookbooks that they use often in their home. My friend was ecstatic. Does your child's teacher enjoy running? Cooking? Photography? Spa days? What small gifts could you give related to his or her interests?
4) Magazines, magazines, magazines. Almost every male or female I know reads magazines, and subscriptions right now are often less than $20 a year. Rather than splurging on that lotion gift set (of which male or female, every teacher I know has at least 12) go for literacy. Again, make it something that your child's teacher is interested in. If you don't know your child's teacher that well, go for a professional magazine or a current events type magazine. We will thank you. This year, I drew my school's principal in our Secret Santa exchange. I know he loves to run, so each day I've been giving him either a fitness magazine or a protein bar. For the "big gift" at the end of the week, I found a running coolmax long sleeved shirt on super sale. Rumor has it, he is quite pleased with his haul so far. Everyone loves magazines, and everyone hates paying for them.
5) Cold, hard cash. Gift cards to teacher supply stores, general merchandise stores, or the ever popular Visa gift card go a long way. We don't care what the amount is, we just love the inherent splurge promised in the gift card.
Above all else, remember that your child's teacher is an adult. He/she also teachers multiple students. Take ten seconds to go beyond the usual gifting. You will make his or her day!
What tried and true gifts are always a hit in your gift-giving circles?