Christmas gifts for teachers
Let me say up front I do not want to hear anyone say we shouldn't be rewarding teachers this time of year for simply doing their jobs -- not unless you want me send you a karmic whump upside your head.
Spend one afternoon volunteering in your kid's class and then tell me how easy teaching is. Every time I've spent anytime in a classroom, I've come back and kissed my office chair in gratitude.
How do you let your teachers know that you get it, and you appreciate it? First, a heartfelt note saying just that will go a long way. Everyone likes to be appreciated.
Then throw in something like a nice candle or girly soap (assuming your teacher is a she). If you throw in a gift card, try to keep it practical, so that it pays for movies, coffee or groceries, and not some whimsical out-of-the-way store (unless it's one that you know the teacher likes).
One veteran teacher told me parents should avoid those cliche "teacher" gifts with "Worlds' Greatest Teacher" written on them. They're just dust collectors. Same goes with the apple earrings, apple lapel pins and golden apple paper weights. (An Apple computer, on the other hand...)
Some inexpensive but thoughtful gifts can include:
* Wish list items for the classroom. Ask the teacher or room mom if they need a microwave, a new rug for the reading corner or maybe some thumb drives for the computer. Then the parents can pool their money and buy it as a gift from the class.
* Classroom supplies or a gift card to an office supply store. Budget cuts have crimped the paper supplies and other necessities, so the teachers often have to dip into their own pockets. This spares them.
* New games for the classroom's rainy day stockpile. Or you could restock frequently used supplies like Play-Doh, dry erase markers, paint, pencils, tissues and hand sanitizer.
* Soaps and lotions that go together. Working around the Tiny Typhoids, teachers have to wash their hands A LOT. Create a basket that includes bottles of anti-bacterial soap, lotions, tissues and hand wipes.
* Homemade Christmas ornaments, especially a personalized orb with the names of the kids written on it.
* A nice framed picture of the teacher and students.
Coming Wednesday: Gift ideas for your day care provider.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne