One of my good friends messaged me the other day, asking me about what would be a good present for a teacher. Being a teacher myself, I guess she thought I may be an authority on the issue. The truth is as a teacher in a public high school, presents are a little thin on the ground, though I have received a few. I have also been buying presents for my children’s teachers for a few years now.
It is worth keeping in mind that teachers are unable to accept presents over a certain value as it poses ethical issues (just in case you were going for the aged scotch).
No teacher expects gifts from their student, but all teachers really love a small token gift – even a hand made card is lovely*. So if a teacher has made a difference in your child’s life, and you would like to show your appreciation, here are 5 gifts that a teacher would enjoy.
1. Christmas decorations for their tree – the good thing about Christmas decorations is that you can always put another one on the tree. Unlike candles, you can put them away for the rest of the year. My mother, who also was a teacher, has some decorations given to her by students over the years which she still puts on her tree. Each year she gets them out and remembers the child who gave each one to her. If you would rather your child not be remembered, don’t give this one! (This is what I always give).
2. A charity donation – Why not buy your teacher a chicken, or something else that is useful in third world countries. Samaritans Purse and World Vision are 2 charities that we support that provide “gift” catalogues. By the time Miss Jones has been given 22 candles, she may be thrilled with a gift that makes a difference!
3. Homemade biscuits / mini Christmas cake in a terracotta pot / something yummy to eat – How can you go wrong with some nice food? Just avoid foods that people have strong reactions to like pate. Most people like biscuits/cakes/jams/chocolates etc, and if Mr Brown gets given lots of food, he can always share it with his family and friends over the Christmas period (the Country Boy agrees with this sentiment).
4. Coffee and accessories – Most teachers drink tea or coffee (a lot). Some of my colleagues wish it was possible to have coffee intravenously! Why not wrap up A coffee cup, some fair-trade coffee or tea, or some fancy instant flavoured lattes (I am the only teacher I know who doesn’t drink coffee!)?.
5. Bath bombs, soaps, or similar. In someways this seems a bit boring, but soap is useful, and can be used up. A pamper pack might be the perfect antidote to the stresses of the last few weeks of the school year, with it’s concerts, parties, assemblies, and reports to organise.
My over all advice is to give things that can be used up or are in someway useful. There really are only so many inspirational quotes and candles that a teacher needs. If you really appreciated what the teacher has done with your child, write this in the card. I know that the cards I have received with notes from the parents also, have meant a lot more to me than any fancy gift.
* I once got a card from a special needs student which read
You are my second favourite teacher… Miss Smith is my favourite
(I guess second is better than third or fourth – I still have the card)