Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hot topic: Teacher gifts

What are you giving your teacher for the holidays? What do teachers like? What are some more affordable options? What if you have money to spend? Is cash appropriate?

17 comments:

  1. I always get a gift card. Teachers on on the Craigslist parenting group said they preferred this to homemade goodies or knick-knacks. They seem to be appreciated.

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  2. What kind of gift card? It seems like the standard Starbuck's coffee card is kind of boring. Does anyone have better gift card suggestions that you know are appreciated?

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  3. when pressed, my daughter's 20something K teacher conceded that she'd love gift cards to either amazon or ikea. i'd imagine target, indiebound (formerly booksense), day spa or a monthly club type thing with a nod to a special interest (exotic wine, cheese, chocolate) would also be welcome.

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  4. The teachers at my kids' school agreed that the classroom wish list should BE the holiday gift list. But the PTSA is doing little gift bags with a small box of See's candy, a small Starbucks card, a homemade CD of relaxing music etc. We went for Starbucks because you can buy a large quantity at a 20% discount (the local Starbucks, which often donates to our school, was willing to break them into small denominations).

    Some parents said "oh, make it a nice local non-corporate business," but the teachers live in different places and there's a Starbucks everywhere you go.

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  5. my elementary teacher brother and sister-in-law say target or amazon are best. they can get stuff for the class or for themselves. also good are office max/office depot.

    if your school is near a lunch spot, it is nice to get a gift card for there.

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  6. itunes too. can get music for the class or for themselves.

    just full of ideas tonight.

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  7. I did a "teacher's relaxation kit" last year. A nice bottle of wine, some bath salts and really nice chocolate. My husband is a teacher and he has gift cards that he always forgets to use. He's got one of those giant wallets, like George Castanza, that makes his back hurt.

    Every teacher is different, but as cute as our kids are, most of teachers really don't want pictures of them or drawings they did as a gift.

    Ideally, make it as easy as possible for teachers to get the maximum enjoyment out of the gift. They definitely deserve it!

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  8. Most of my kids' teachers seem to love books so I almost always give them a gift card to a local bookstore. It helps that we have a great one. They can spend it on books/magazines for themselves or gifts for family members.

    I'd also encourage parents (or your kids, if they're able and willing) to write a short note, especially if you really like the teacher.

    I've written a few notes over the years in which I mention specific things the teacher has done that are special (e.g., arranging literature circles; teaching 3rd graders how to tie a variety of maritime knots; making spelling/multiplication fun in some way; arranging pen pals in another country; helping my child learn to tell time ... finally; putting on a really great class play, etc.) These are things I've seen or that my kids talk about. Each teacher has approached me afterward to thank me warmly for the note. So much of what teachers do goes unnoticed or unremarked upon, even by parents and kids who are really happy w/the teacher. (I think they hear more often about the things parents don't like!) My two cents.

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  9. What's a standard amount people usually get in a gift card?

    I must admit, I'm kind of taken aback that gifts for teachers are standard (they never were in my child's preschool). I know they deserve to be appreciated (and they are!) but it seems to be just another example of how public school depends on funding from parents to make up lacks.

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  10. Our childcare center has a standing tradition, well 5+ years, of collecting contributions from parents and then, depending on the year and the parent organizing it, gives cash or gift cards to all (we have 18 staff). Parents give $5 or $50 or whatever is comfortable for them, one year one parent gave $1000! but it all sorts out in the end.
    I organized this last year and this at my daughter's school and SO many parents have been thrilled to pariticipate. And as a teacher I'm thrilled to not give out coffee, chocolates and mugs... which although lovely everyone only needs so many of each of those. Good luck

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  11. My kids' school does the same - people contribute and the teachers get gift cards, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to charity on the teachers' behalf.

    One gift I've given to teachers in the past is a gift card to the movies, w/ enough on it for 2 tickets and some snacks. It seems like something they could enjoy during the break.

    As an end-of-year gift from the class we once collected money and bought passes to Marine World for the teacher and his family (he had 2 young kids of his own).

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  12. What great suggestions! I am now doing Target gift cards. Hurray!

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  13. I'd personally suggest wider gift cards -- say American Express or Visa. Then the teacher has maximum flexibility on where to spend it, and you're less tied to the success/failure/like/dislike of a specific business.

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  14. Don't Amex or VISA assess a small monthly fee for every month there's a balance on the card? I read that somewhere and avoid those for that reason (Target, Amazon, Starbucks, bookstores do NOT do this). It just galls me that they take your money in exchange for the privilege of holding your money.

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  15. As a teacher (and a mom, I would appreciate any gift - but would be most appreciative of gifts for the classroom (that I had already identified or struggled with) and gift cards (to indiebound/amazon or target). I love a personal card too ... who wouldn't? Any acknowledgement is so greatly appreciated though - whether verbal, written or gifted!

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  16. I always give money -- cold hard cash -- along with a warm note saying how much we appreciate our kid's teacher. And they are always happy. I have never heard a word of concern about my doing so. Of course, my kids are in elementary. I could see how money might not be appropriate in middle and high schools. But don't forget these poor teachers are forced to take on part-time work and do all kinds of things, because we don't pay them enough to work in SF. So I have no problem with giving them money.

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  17. I always give a Visaor Amex gift card with a nice thank you note. and teachers always love gift cards. Teachers deserve to be appreciated.

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