5/14/09

Something practical- just this once.


It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!   You KNOW what I’m talking about – the end of the school year!

 

I’ve had several requests from friends out there for suggestions for end of the year teacher gifts, and since I’ve been teacher for lots of years (20 or more…cough, cough) I just might be an expert in this area.

 

First, I want to make it clear that teachers DO NOT expect gifts.  I really, really mean that.  We appreciate your support all year long with homework, snacks, field trip chaperoning, volunteering in the classroom, etc., and we all feel that we receive “gifts” all year long. I am not just *&%$#@**ing here.

 

However, if you ARE looking for either teacher gifts, or student teacher gifts, here are my TOP TEN!!! (Yeah, I  know- I buy them for MY kids' teacher's.  God knows they deserve it...)

 

1.    A subscription to Mailbox Magazine -  You can find this magazine at www.theeducationcenter.com or something like that.  It is the GREATEST resource for teachers.  It has ideas generated from teachers on ALL areas in the curriculum, and it’s got one for kindergarten, first grade, etc.   It. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever.  (And they did NOT pay me to say that.

2.  A book to the school library in your teacher’s name.  Too cool to even elaborate on.

3.    A plant for the school garden.  (If they have one!)

4.    Is there a craft store in your area?   A gift card to a Michael’s or something like that is great. We always need items for projects- and this way the kids benefit as well!

5.    Amazon.com is an incredible thing.  I received several last year and bought some great new books for my classroom!  Since I’ve been teaching a while I tend to use my oldies but goodies.  Having the gift certificate allowed me to shop online and find some great new books!

6.   Barnes and Nobles.  Enough said.

7.    There are cool scissors at craft stores that cut in a variety of shapes- not just straight lines! Teachers love these- but might not use their classroom money for them.  They also come in a cool carousel.  They are great when the kids make cards, have free time or in writer’s workshop.

8.    If you are buying for a new teacher, here are some MUST HAVE BOOKS:  Morning Meeting; The First Six Weeks of School; Classroom Spaces that Work; Off to a Great Start.  All of these resources are from Responsive Classroom and can be found at Barnes and Nobles, or at www.responsiveclassroom.org .

9.   If you want to buy a humorous book for ANY teacher, buy Thirty Two Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Philip Done. It is HYSTERICAL.  I read it over and over and over.   I laugh every time.

10.     A really cool whistle.   Or bell.  Or sound maker.

11.     A gift card to STARBUCKS.  (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)

12.     Games for the classroom (age appropriate, or course.)  We use games throughout the year, and of course pieces go missing, boxes get broken, etc.  Teachers will probably NOT throw stuff out, and will keep using it, unless forced to use a NEW ONE if it’s given to them.  (hint hint.)


Crap, is that more than ten?  You people KNOW I can’t count.  Hope it helps!   Otherwise, give her a bottle of wine.  Teachers DO enjoy that….

 

79 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

I taught for a lot of years, too, and I just want to second your suggestions.

AND confirm your statement that it is NOT expected!!!

Sass said...

So nice to see some ideas, and also that it's not expected. lol.

Teachers do so much, expect so little, and it's just nice to give them a little extra to show them they are appreciated.

Thanks for the tips!

K said...

Thank you for the tips.

I'll definitely keep it in mind.

lisa said...

Agreed to the above. Another nice idea that my parents have done is they all chipped in and bought one big item for the room. Last year, I received a wood working bench and tools.

It's a nice way to reward the classroom/teacher with minimal $. Or, Starbucks, either way.

Again, not expected.

Marie Reed said...

So your saying that a bright shiny apple covered with wax and pesticides is not an A+ idea:)

TeacherMommy said...

I've always found it fundamentally unfair that it's just y'all (a.k.a. elementary teachers) who get those gifts. Because I would not turn them down, me. It would be nice if my teens would leave something behind other than reams of used paper, ancient lunches in rotting brown paper bags, and items I'd rather not see when they leave us that last day.

I'd be very happy with #2,4,5,6, and definitely 11 (it's not just you.)

Just sayin'.

Mrs. E said...

HS teachers rarely get gifts...but I'd go for the wine or champagne! Vodka mom is right...anything that can be used in the classroom is wonderful!! You know how those elementary teachers spend their own money on a ton of things! Help them keep a bit more of their salary! : )
Great post!! I sooooo love your blog!

Scope said...

Rats. Now what am I going to do with that dump truck full of cash?

Actually, no kids. But a lot of friends, ex's, neice, etc. who are teachers, and the supplies thing rings so true. They seem to love Office Max/Depot gift cards, too.

Coffee with Cathy said...

These are great ideas. And Deborah, I always included a note telling my daughters' teachers how much they'd meant to us. Please tell me that was OK!

Gaston Studio said...

What a great list for parents! My daughter usually makes something for her kid's teachers which I think has a personal touch, but yours are wonderful ideas and I especially like donating a book to the library in the teacher's name.

Please accept quest to you on my post today!

Dana's Brain said...

Thank you for the great ideas! I would like to do something for Jake's teacher this year. She deserves it!

Rick Daley said...

1. What are the chances the teacher already has a subscription?
2. I'm sending your library The Bible in your name. Ha!
3. I'll submit a plant simultaneously to your garden and your D.A.R.E. program!
4. I prefer Hobby Lobby just because the name is more fun to say.
5. Also useful for personal shopping. Why put it all back toward the classroom?
6. See # 5.
7. Also fun when used for circumcisions.
8. See #1.
9. Or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That's funny, too, and you don't even need to be a teacher.
10. What about a bullwhip, cattle prod, or tazer?
11 and 12. Screw it, I gave you 10.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Happy End of Year! May your summer be long and luxurious.

Ann's Rants said...

Great and super helpful post, Ms. Vodka pants.

Amber D. said...

That is a great list, and it helps me stress less about what to get my daughter's kindergarten teacher... she's been fabulous all year but I'm a newbie to all this, and your suggestions are awesome! Thanks so much!

Midwest Mommy said...

As a former teacher...I agree :-)

Annie said...

Wonderful ideas! I've gone with the Starbucks card for my daughter's teacher since she started school last year. My kids go to a VERY small school with only one teacher per grade, and my daughter is two years behind my son. I wanted her teachers to have enough caffeine in them to keep up with my ADHD kid.

My son's class has a mom who coordinates a gift from all the parents each year for each class her kids are in (currently kindergarten and third). The teacher receives a restaurant gift certificate as well as one for the local performing arts center. What do you think about group gifts such as this?

Mrs. D said...

Good ideas. I think my son's teacher would like a big bottle of whisky after the year she's had (first year and SUPER picky/nosy moms).

Comedy Goddess said...

Thanks Ms. Oregon teacher of first graders!

Good thing you aren't in charge of teaching kids how to count! Aw, just kidding!

♥ Braja said...

What, no whips???

♥ Braja said...

I mean, not even kiddie ones?

♥ Braja said...

No?

♥ Braja said...

Well, that's just not cricket...

Cid said...

I remember the sweetest present I received from a student was a trio of bud vases with a flower in each from her garden. I still have the vases and use them all the time.
Not that I would ever turn up my nose at a gift card from a bookstore or coffee shop.

Suzie said...

Im glad you mentioned booze you can never go wrong with the booze

Desert Songbird said...

Thanks for the hints. I usually buy my kids' teachers gift cards to either Target or Starbucks. Usually can't go wrong there!

Carolyn...Online said...

I once collected 5 or 10 dollars from each family and then cashed it in for one dollar bills. The kids decorated a shoe box to look like the classroom then I stuffed it full of one dollar bills. Such a hit. And this probably works for strippers as well as teachers.

CSquaredPlus3 said...

This is so helpful! Thank you!

Writer Dad said...

That's a great list! My wife's been a teacher for twenty years (kindergarten for some). She would totally agree.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I once sent an e-mail to my neighborhood moms group asking what they usually did for a teacher holiday gift. I was going to send cookies - but wanted to add something else. I got some great advice - but I'll never forget one of the suggestions. Someone actually knitted a scarf for the teacher since it was so nice to give something handmade and meaningful. I never saw the scarves...so you know, they may have been great... But my guess is that nine times out of ten those babies ended up in the Good Will box.

Magpie said...

Thanks. This gives me ideas, which I may well share with the class parents in my kid's class.

ModernMom said...

This is such a wonderful post. Thank you so much!

The Laughing Idiot said...

Isn't anyone scared by the fact that a 20+ veteran of the education system can't count? Just kidding - I've only had my own children for five years and my mental abilities have diminished greatly. I imagine I'll be a babbling idiot by the time they are twenty.

Anyway, good advice. I'll tuck it away in the back of my brain and maybe I won't have to think so hard when gift-giving times of the year come up. Thanks!

Sandee said...

Your wine and a nice bottle of vodka is one it's way. Enjoy winding down the school year. Time to rest for a bit.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Kathy B! said...

I'm going with the wine. Maybe multiple bottles. One of our teachers should be nominated for sainthood. She had the class from hell :)

Not my kidd-o, of course!

tara@sticky fingers said...

I can't tell you how useful that is.
My son has only had two end of terms to cater for, but it's HARD when you don't really know what teachers want.
Now we do . . .

we_be_toys said...

Good ideas for teacher gifts - surely you're not the only Starbucks-sucking teacher out there?
We still have 4 weeks left, before I can do the Summer Vacation dance of joy - alas!

namaste said...

geez! i wish i had this list when my daughters were small. now i feel like i gave teachers a lot of useless crap as gifts. oh well. it's the thought.

this list is a great idea!

;)

Lorraine said...

Great list!

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Thanks! I'll do wine next year since I've already purchased my kid's last day of school gifts for their teachers and bus driver, plus the gifts I sent last week for Teacher Appreciation Day. I'm gifted out for the time being. ;)

Hey, wine for a bus driver is cool right? ;D

Suzanne said...

I loved how many of your suggestions were for actually useful, practical things that a teacher would actually appreciate and find useful to make their classroom better as every conceivable budget is cut!

Captain Dumbass said...

Thanks for that. Now when wifey asks me what we should get I don't have to stand around with a stupid look on my face.

Wait...

Ivanhoe said...

...or some may like a bottle of vodka. Hahahahahaha!
I will remember your suggestions. Just in case I ever have kids or somebody with kids asks me ;o)

Vivienne said...

I always give my kids' teachers a pretty pill box filled with Xanax.

I'll try to change it up this year. Thanks for the suggestions.

darsden said...

great suggestions for those who do like to give a little back to the teachers..the very foundation of our country..ok I will get off your washing machine..sorry for starting a speech on your post ;-)

Ipswich McGwinnick said...

How about noise-eliminating headphones?
Or 25 bottles of ritalin?

Rebecca said...

What WONDERFUL suggestions! I know they are not expected, but I always love to do something. I know teachers spend a lot of their own $ for their classrooms too.

CDB said...

Definitely get the giftcards for Starbucks.. but then keep them.

And congrats on 20 years.. whew.. that is cause for celebration!

♥Trina♥ said...

I teach high school, and gifts from students at this level are few and far between, but that's okay. I'd much rather see the product of my hard work 10 years down the road.

Our state is in dire straights. We're getting no teacher supply money next year, so gift cards to Office Depot or somewhere like that would be SOOOOO welcome!!!

Today was our day for pink slips to be given out. I am absolutely sick because some of my very close friends got one. :(

only a movie said...

Gift cards to craft stores or office supply stores (or even Target or Walmart) are great.
I spend a lot at Target for my classroom. The dollar spot has cool things for *school store*.
We don't get many teacher gifts in special ed land. Although you are right, VM, it is a gift to hang out with the kiddos all year... :-)
Great post!

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

After having my Satanic (I mean endearingly lovely) stepdaughter in her 4th grade class, I would say Mrs. L deserves a cruise, million bucks and a "get out of school free" card. But, I'll probably just go with the Starbuck card. Thanks!

Feener said...

this is very helpful, if i write a post for the newspaper i blog for, can i link to you ??

smalltowngirl09 said...

The past 2 years I have made my sons teacher a quilt. Last year I made one with each of the students handprints and name on it. This year I am doing a block square quilt with each of the students name on a square.

I am a subsitute teacher this year (and love it by the way) so I always hear the teachers talking about things they would like to receive as a gift.

Not The Rockefellers said...

Yes! Your list is great!

And Mailbox rocks.
We only get one subscription for 2 Pre-k and 2 K rooms...so blood is shed.

It's that good.

And please although the intention is good...please, for the love of God...no more apple crap or teacher successsories stuff. It all ends up on the teachers room table "up for grabs".

Hey, I hope you are doing well !

Peace - Rene

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

I think I'll just go with the wine bottle...hell! If they don't drink, they'll wish they did!!

jessica said...

actually, i do expect gifts. and i like cash best. or gift certificates to the movies. that way i can go to the movies and not feel guilty about wasting cash on that instead of food for the family. oh yeah- bring on the cash- heh heh...

jessica said...

actually....best christmas gift ever = a purple scarf. mom said "i'm sorry, i wanted to get you something else but he picked this out and insisted that purple is your favorite color." and it is. i cried.
best end of year gift = potted forget me nots and a picture of me and favorite child on the end of a popsicle stick stuck in the pot. i still cry.

WhisperingWriter said...

Great list.

I think I may purchase a book and donate it to the library. I love to read and it makes me happy when I see kids flipping through books.

Debbie said...

Great list! I appreciate knowing what the teachers would really enjoy having.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

a naked man will delivery my gift to you :)

Eluciq said...

great ideas...i went over to BN purchased gift cards for my boys' teachers and the Thirty Two Third Graders & One Class Bunny books...my guys are in 3rd grade, so it was only appropriate...giggle :)

here i am a teacher...and had to look at your practical list for my own kiddo's...thanks!

Phat Mama said...

Dear VM,

As I scroll, and scroll, and scroll down (until my mouse says.. gimme some cheese for all this work, b*tch) to get to where I can finally be the 923,487 commenter - I think to myself - someday I want to be just like her!

Always Home and Uncool said...

You mean you don't want another "World's Greatest Teacher" mug?

She said...

I'd say a Staples card would be great since I buy all the ink for my students to use the printer or an Amazon card since I tend to buy a lot of the books we read in class.

Gifts are not expected, but if you're gonna give, give one that funnels back into the classroom. It's a win-win situation! ;-)

Marinka said...

That's a great list! I was starting to suspect that teachers were tiring of those "teacher of the year" mugs!

Mimi Lenox said...

The end of the year. YAY!!!

Sherry D said...

I work in a high school and have to think of gifts for teacher appreciate day. Thanks for the tips.

Elaine at Lipstickdaily said...

OMG how did it get to be the end of the school year? I love the suggestions. Thanks!

Marty said...

VM - an award for you on my blog. :)

Joanie said...

What about a very nice framed photo of the teacher looking super pretty?

Or a gift card to Liquor Barn?

Just asking.

Da Goddess
dagoddess.com

Counselormama said...

This is a great list! Once I got a gift of two pencils taped with scotch tape in the shape of a cross, it was an interesting gift...

J. L. Krueger said...

A bottle of wine, eh? Yes, well we all know one teacher in particular who would appreciate that one!

Happy End of School Year!

anymommy said...

Love this, seriously. Also, who doesn't love Starbucks cards?

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

Since I got my kids 1st grade teacher drunk on Vodka shots a couple of weeks ago, is it still appropriate to get her wine??

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Thanks for the tips. I always give a Barnes & Noble card and some Godiva chocolates. If I really like the teacher, I'll throw in some pretty note cards too. This year, the fourth grade teacher was a bear, but I'm too nice and will get her something anyway, EVEN THOUGH ALL THE HOMEWORK I HAD TO DO THIS YEAR SUCKED ASS!

Mrs. C. said...

Your list is spot on and just what we always need! I without fail get a plate of homemade goodies from the family whose child has the WORST personal hygiene in the class. And of course I take them with a smile and hug for the child and NEVER throw them out till after arriving home...

On a more critical note, you spelled "*&%$#@**ing" wrong. ;-)

Mrs4444 said...

These are excellent ideas!!

phd in yogurtry said...

I used to give B&N giftcards but wondered if that was too boring. Now I know it's appreciated. I mean, who doesn't want to find a great beach/poolside read?

I always think of teachers this time of year... winding down and anticipating so many weeks ahead. Ya'll deserve every minute of your break, even if I do have to mind my own store while you're at it!!

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