A little over a week ago, I received a very kind piece of hate mail in my comments. A teacher of over 32 years, ever so sweetly, told me she felt sorry for me and found me self-centered. Twice. She shared these feelings in a comment to one of my Teacher Gift posts that I write every year (it was from 2010). You see, she taught in inner cities for 31 of those 32 years and felt that I truly must not have appreciated my students if I was sharing with my readers that the best gifts are spa gift cards and unique items from a home-party. She also treasured every single one of those “best teacher mugs” that the kids gifted her with light in each of their eyes.
She did, “however, like the thank you note and group gift idea.”
I wonder what she thought of the teacher recommendation letter?
I congratulated Sandie on her retirement and shared with her that I hoped she would keep in mind my demographic of readers. Most of you who read Julieverse want to think outside the box, and hope to gift something to a teacher from your family.
Sandie’s comment made me take pause. Because she so very charmingly shared that I was self centered, I looked back at my previous posts to see how I’ve expressed myself. Perhaps my wit and humor was missed, but I truly was offended receiving a “Jesus loves you” ornament all those years ago.
But, it brings me back to the question I’m still asked daily:
W hat is the best gift for a teacher?
And here’s where I tell you the dark, dark secret. Every teacher is different. Every teacher has her wants, needs and takes joy in what’s most important to her.
Teachers love gifts from their students–that’s why they pin “I love my teacher” pictures to the bulletin board behind their desks all year long. They love receiving gratitude no matter how it’s offered–in a letter, a YouTube video (check the firewalls first!), a compliment to the principal…
Some teachers cherish donations to a cause close to their hearts. Some teachers could use a gift card to Target, Homegoods, clothing shop where they love to shop, a local boutique or a swanky restaurant because they need to get away from their daily life. Some teachers would thrill to receive a bottle of wine. Some love to admire their pretty nails on as they type emails to parents late into the night and would be excited to receive a manicure gift card. Some just want to see a movie at the theater, or get her hands on the latest book by her favorite author.
Top 3 new gifts for teachers for 2013
Joseph Nogucci Bracelet
I’ve been featuring Nogucci bracelets a lot lately, and that’s because the bracelets are so well designed and the craftsmanship is stellar. Plus, their variety of price points are doable for many gifts. You’ll find bracelets from $19 through over $100. Right now, use code CYBER for 60% off all stones. (I do not know the end-date for this coupon code.)
(The bracelet featured here is called Mind and the description is just perfect for teachers: “Follow the path of the illuminated and become enlightened…”)
A Classroom Book
I love giving elementary school teachers new books to cherish in classroom libraries. It’s hard to find books she doesn’t already have in there, so, this time of year, I look for the latest and greatest. This year’s new top seller is The Day the Crayons Quit, Amazon Best Children’s Book of 2013.
From Amazon: The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt’s clever story of a box of crayons gone rogue will get the whole family laughing at the letters written by the occupants of the ubiquitous yellow and green box. The combination of text and Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations match the colors’ personalities beautifully as the crayons share their concern, appreciation, or downright frustration: yellow and orange demand to know the true color of the sun, while green–clearly the people pleaser of the bunch–is happy with his workload of crocodiles, trees, and dinosaurs. Peach crayon wants to know why his wrapper was torn off, leaving him naked and in hiding; blue is exhausted and, well, worn out; and pink wants a little more paper time. The result of this letter writing campaign is colorful creativity and after reading this book I will never look at crayons the same way again–nor would I want to. —Seira Wilson
For older elementary classrooms, if she doesn’t already have Wonder in her library, please add it to the class collection. (She’ll love it, and so will the students.)
Membership to a local museum
You’ll have to get to know the teacher a little bit for this one, and likely pair up with a few parent-friends… last year our first grade class gave the teacher a 1-year membership to Longwood Gardens, one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States, the idea came to be when, on a field trip the teacher mentioned in passing that she would love a membership so that she could really enjoy the atmosphere, beyond a fieldtrip visit. Whether your teacher loves the zoo, art or science, a local museum membership might be a great idea. If you’re not sure… ask one of her colleagues.
When in doubt, ask!
It’s not so easy to ask a teacher “hey, what do you want for the holidays?” because that’s always awkward… but you know who usually knows? The school secretary, a grade-level colleague, her mentor or a partner teacher. Teachers spend a lot of time together each year, so they’ll definitely get to know their interests. We recently asked our school director what to gift a teacher and learned that she loves Outback Steakhouse and is always looking for an excuse to eat there. See how easy that was?!
© 2013, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.