What do teachers really want? This top 3 list contains wishes that most likely will never be realized, but we can always dream, can’t we?
1. Student loan forgiveness
2. Respect (from parents, students, administration, & colleagues) and job security
3. Three day weekends (to catch up on grading & try to have more life/work balance)
After listening to responses year after year, I have a pretty good idea of the top 3 things teachers probably don’t want.
1. School supplies and coffee cups with their name on it or filled with sugar canes. Before giving sweet treats, please remember that many teachers embrace a wellness lifestyle that shuns sugar (and often gluten) and necessitates other dietary restrictions. They usually re-gift boxes of sweet treats or leave them in the teacher’s workroom. That includes home-made goodies, too.
2. Bath sets, lotions, perfumes, potpourri, candles, or other festive, fragrant do dads. Most teachers don’t wear perfume due to student allergies and sensitivities, and rarely wear it elsewhere. A gallon of “germ juice” hand sanitizer might be a good idea for the classroom, but the gift is for the teacher, not the students.
3. Decorative items like picture frames, paper-weights, figurines, knick-knacks and especially no paddy-wacks, please. Clothing items are risky as well. Personal taste in these areas is hard to match.
So in light of all this, what are the most thoughtful and appropriate gestures of appreciation this holiday season?
1. Cash, gift cards, or gift certificates. Teachers love gift cards, not just to book stores, but also to movies, restaurants, coffee, grocers, and online shopping sites. One of the best gifts I ever received was a voucher for a massage and spa treatments because it was an indulgence most teachers cannot afford to buy for themselves but a much deserved treat!
2. Donate to the teacher website that many teachers have created to raise funds for special projects, field trips, etc… Ask your teacher if they have already posted a wish list on sites like DonorsChoose or Adopt a Classroom. If anyone is so inclined, I am trying to build an English dept. library at my school and you can donate under my name at www.AdoptaClassroom.com.
3. Services. I think most teachers wish they had an extra bookcase or a different color on the wall or something else that would brighten up the room or increase the functionality of the space. Gather a few handy parents and offer a couple of hours of repairs, carpentry, painting, etc…
Your children spend more waking hours at school than anywhere else, and teachers undoubtedly have a strong impact in shaping them into model citizens and thinking adults. Let’s all remember to reach out in appreciation of their unwavering dedication, and let them know that their efforts are acknowledged.