Wednesday, May 20, 2009

End of School Teacher Gifts

I was simply mortified when, on the last day of preschool before winter break, I glided in with two gorgeously plated and ribboned goody plates for Hazel's preschool teachers, only to find ten other similar plates lined up along the bookshelves. NEVER AGAIN, I vowed, will I offer goodies as teacher gifts. I should have known. I should have remembered. In my past life I did work in elementary and middle schools for a few years and teachers were always trying to pawn off gifted goodies to each other, most of which just ended up getting stale in the teachers' lounge.

So as the end of the school year approaches, I would once again like to give something small to the teachers as a token of appreciation, but I'm too darn tired to think of something myself. So I called my sister Tona who is a thoughtful, creative Mom and has had kids in school for at least 10 years. Off the top of her head (had to rush off for the American Idol final) she gave me:
  • house plant
  • 6-pack of marigolds or similar
  • travel mug with Dunkin/Starbucks gift card
  • plastic beach bucket with sundae supplies (minus ice cream)
  • new cool lunch bag
  • small tote with sunglasses, sunscreen, book
All of which are awesome ideas. I know gifts for the classroom are nice but I prefer to give something personal like the above. I started a TEACHER page in my GIFT IDEAS spreadsheet and thought I'd hit up the rest of you for even more ideas. 'Cause I'm just too darn tired. And willing to ignore the blinding silence I received in my call for FHE chart help. So let's have them.

8 comments:

Celeste Elaine said...

Tona's gifts sound elite, and so thoughtful.
I know I am just a first-year at this, but here's somethings I thought might be useful to other teachers:

End of year:
gift certificate to Borders. There's always a book some teacher's wanted to read, and Summer is the perfect time. STudent book order offers are relatively limited compared to the shelves of a mighty bookstore.

I have known several teachers who appreciate modest gift certificates to restaurants, as well.

And, even though it's the end of the year, some neat craft supplies are still great to get. (By the way, whiteboard markers given at Christmas are extremely appreciated!) But at the end of the year, any fun papers, punches, or high-quality markers are great. It's easy to get creative with a small basket and some simple craft supplies.

That said, I would take a plate of YOUR goodies any day of the week, Kari. Would that I taught your children.

Mo said...

I just faced this dilemma as Ellie graduated from preschool today. I settled on a nice gift certificate to a fabulous local restaurant. You know, the restaurant that is a "special occasion" establishment rather than a weekly haunt. I thought any teacher would love to have a night out after nine months surrounded by the five and under set (however cute that set may be!)

Shanda said...

When I got gifts from my preschool kids I LOVED the really nice lotions etc. It was my chance to pamper myself a little after the kids were out of school. and out of your sisters ideas I LOVE the ice cream one. You are brilliant and I know you will figure something out that is amazing!

esodhiambo said...

I'm till thinking on your FHE chart, but am pretty sure I will not come up with anything. Sorry.

Speaking as a teacher: you really can't go wrong. Anything, even a hand-drawn picture, is appreciated.

I like gift cards (book stores, Target, Wendys, whatever) but know they are not necessarily fun to give. I would welcome some cute little storage thing--at the end of the year, I am always trying to pack up my stuff and always seem to have not quite enough, if they don't need it at school, they can take it home. I would love a fun mix CD to listen to as I spend the last few days grading and cleaning--maybe one that can take me into summer (and it is easy enough to make a cute keepsake cover with a picture of the student, etc). I would love some movie coupons. Maybe a month or two Netflix subscription.

If the teacher has shared summer plans with kids, maybe something specifically for that; like if they plan to garden, a plant, if they will travel, a small first-aid kit, if they plan to read in the hammock, some fancy lemmonade and a book/gift card.

Clearly, I favor practical.

Wait: you CAN go wrong. I hate (although some may love) anything that says "teacher" or has an apple on it.

Good luck.

KRISTIN said...

movie tickets!

The Finck Five said...

I'm thinking about giving pedicure gift certificates. It seems pretty simple, but I know I would love it.

Springer Family said...

We give our teachers a jar of homemade strawberry jam. Aaron helped pick, wash, squash, and bottle. It makes it more personal for him and the teachers.
If I can time it right I'll do a loaf of wheat bread too.

Maren said...

I usually do a bookstore gift certificate, mainly because S has had male teachers for the last 4 years and I couldn't see getting them anything too cute (although they love getting overhead markers). At Christmas last year, the teachers all requested donations to the local food shelf instead of gifts because we're like that up here in Vermont. (They got bread and jam in addition to their wish.)

When L was in preschool, she had 5 teachers. One year they all got mini vases and wind chimes and the next year she made cards that said "Thanks for helping me grow" and each one held a packet of flower seeds. I did the math and figured these 5 veteran preschool teachers had rooms full of gifties and might not need a whole lot more than a sincere "thank you" and a small, lovely, disappearing gift.

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