Ah yes, the holidays. And gifts for teachers.
#2 recently sent me a link with ideas for gifts for teachers. “Comments actually useful here!” she said.
Silly #2… obviously she has not spent as much time on mommy forums and blogs as I have.
Anyhow, from my reading of the forums (etc.) all teachers want are gift cards to Target. Gift cards to Starbucks are ok. Gift cards to the Body Shop are not ok.
They don’t want your cookies. They don’t want your mugs. They have mixed, mostly negative, feelings about chocolates.
(They might want booze! #2 suggests. And while that might be true, you should probably not bring booze to a K-12 school or preschool. If you’re gonna go that route, try giving a gift certificate to a specialty shop that sells both booze and food.)
They also enjoy, for real, feeling appreciated. They love heart-felt notes from students and parents. They want that even more than gift cards, if the teaching mommies on fora are to be believed. Teachers are mixed on whether or not they want heart-felt homemade gifts from the students. They appreciate the thought.
(Coffee! #2 suggests. Sure, coffee. If you know what kind they drink and they’re not just getting it for free from the teacher’s lounge. Perhaps that’s why they like the Starbucks gift cards, though not as much as the same value Target cards.)
Also note that you can make a directed donation for stuff to the teacher through the school and it will be tax deductible so long as the school is government or non-profit. Be careful though that they don’t just subtract money that they would have been giving to the teacher anyway. If you’re worried they might do that, then gift carts to Half-Price books or Walmart or Target or the teacher supply store will be a better option. Teachers do tend to spend a lot of money out of pocket on supplies for kids, which is ridiculous. As a society we should be better than that.
And no, not all students’ families give gifts. And no, you do not have to give gifts. Depending on where you live, most parents don’t. And yes, a card or a note at the holidays is a great idea even if you’re not planning on giving a gift.
What do we do? $20-$25 gift card to Target to each teacher DC1 comes into contact with (and DC1 writes a thank-you note for each teacher with the card). Then a $50 card to half-price books “For the classroom.” This year though we may consider giving a directed donation that’s larger because the teacher has been buying sets of books for the class out of pocket (Charlotte’s Web, Dear Mr. Henshaw, etc.). We’re not really sure. When we asked her at the beginning of the semester, she said she’d let us know if she needed a directed donation, but she never has. We probably should have just written a check right then and there when we were prepared to do so (we’d brought the checkbook and everything). We also give a much larger figure to the school’s annual giving campaign. If we went to public school instead of private I’d feel a bit different about giving a gift-card, but public school teachers on fora say they’re totally ok and appreciated. (And in this at-will no-union state, teachers make so little, that a $25 gift card might actually matter.)
Usually we give $20/teacher to the daycare too, including all the teachers DC2 has come in contact with. This year it’s a bit tricky. In the 6 mo period we’ve been at this daycare by winter break, DC2 will have only been in the new room a month. The previous room was terrible, we hate the directors, but we loved the teachers in the 18 month room. There are 4 teachers in each classroom (2 morning, 2 afternoon), for 12 teachers total. And we’re leaving for the new daycare in January (though we usually give good-bye gifts when we leave a daycare, but we’ve never left acrimoniously before). We’d like to give cards to the 18 mo teachers and the new teachers, but we can’t really leave out the last room if we do that. And DH wonders if we should really be giving giftcards when the new teachers barely know DC2 (though by the time this post posts, they’ll have known her longer!). We may end up not doing anything. I mean, we’re already “those parents” at that school. But I will feel guilty, you know? (Probably we’ll end up giving $10 gift cards to everyone at daycare or something. Split the difference.)
What do you think about holiday gifts to teachers?