A Teacher’s Rant

By: Kathy Trainor

Thank_you_pinned_noteThe holiday season is fast approaching! There are always SO many gifts to buy and often people think to send one to a teacher. As a teacher I never expect a gift, but I am so thankful when someone has thought of me. Most teachers often feel it is a waste, as we think we should be giving you and your student a gift.

However, there are times we wish there was no gift. Now-I’m not trying to sound greedy, but let me explain…

The DON’Ts of teacher gift giving:

  • Candles or Scented Soaps (we have 1000 of them)
  • Mugs, cups or glasses (I have small shelves)
  • Anything teacher related or with “teacher” on it (they are with the 1000 candles I have and I KNOW I am a teacher)
  • Baked goods (allergies and diets we are trying to be summer ready)

I asked some of my co-workers what they thought they best gifts were and not once did they mention mani/pedi’s, massages, wine, or even money! So what do they want? It was notes and cards from kids or something personal from a parent about the school year and how it went. All my teacher friends still have these notes and letters. We keep them, look at them again and again, and show them off. Many keep these notes in their classroom desk to cheer them up on a crazy day. Teachers I have worked with also stated they didn’t care the cost of the item; it was simply the thought of the item.

Many families are homeless where I work so I could care less about a gift. A simple post-it with the words “Thank you!” is worth $10,000 in my book. I have saved EVERY note from a parent. I’ve thrown away my fair share of nut-filled brownies, but I have never tossed a note.

Crayons, markers and glue sticks OH MY… If you feel you want to give a teacher a gift, give her a gift for the classroom. The average teacher spends $500 a year on her classroom (not including coffee). This goes miles further than a teacher apple or candle.

Here is the list of items every teacher wants and often never gets:

  • A note or small letter about how the teacher made you feel or a note on what their work did for you or your child (This is the MOST wanted item and straight from my teacher friends on the playground.)
  • A gift card (COFFEE, school supply store, Wal-Mart, Target or super market)
  • School supplies- I make endless trips to the store to get these items for the kids in my class (pens, markers, tape, etc.)
  • If you want to make a teacher smile try a letter- a gift card is nice if you feel like you need to get us something, but we really just want the note or card.

Take note: (GET IT?)

Teachers grade 6-12: Teachers in these grades rarely get gifts because kid’s have so many teachers during the year. A note to say why they enjoyed the class can keep a teacher going for years.

Child Care Workers and After-school Teachers: The end of the year for these valued educators is NEVER! They work all year round. Try a note with how each day would never be the same with out their support. I like to give them something each season because I know I couldn’t do their job.

Support Staff: My support staff is the backbone of my class. I am not able to do anything with out them. Give them a small note to say thank you. Is your child best friends with the librarian? Think about sending them nice note at the end of the year. They love and support your child each day.

Special Education Teachers: Like myself, these teachers work above and beyond to safeguard your child and move them to a new level in their education. They are extra special and deserve some special thoughts.


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