Before you run out and buy Teacher Appreciation gifts for your kid’s teachers, you need to know that their cup runneth over in candles and candy bars.
Their cup also runneth over in cups.
After surveying a group of teacher friends, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been known to give my son’s teachers a mug or coffee cup, and I’ve also thrown a handful of giant candy bars in my Target shopping cart when I remembered at the last minute to grab a little treat for them.
Not that those candy bars went unappreciated, because - according to the survey - every gift, no matter how small, is appreciated.
But when I consider that I go into a glassy-eyed coma after just a few hours of having to “watch this,” with one child, and these people spend their entire day, five days a week with a room full of kids doing the same, PLUS trying to teach them real book knowledge and how to behave in a social setting, the least I can offer is a token of thanks that’s slightly more meaningful than an oversized Nestle’s Crunch bar.
A few years ago, I took great pride in the fact that I’d gotten my sh*t together early enough to order a customized gift for Cody’s teacher.
I did my very best research: stalking her Facebook page, of course, like any researcher worth her salt would do, to find out what year she was married.
I presented her with the cutest, vintage-y chalkboard plaque with her fairly-new married last name and the wrong effing “established” date, because her wedding was at the end of one year and she posted the pictures at the beginning of the next year, and I swear on an order of chips and queso that I am trying my effing best over here, and is it my fault that she wasn’t more prompt in posting her wedding photos on social media?
I’m not the only one, though, apparently.
According to one teacher friend, she once received a half-empty bottle of Sunny D with a sticky note saying, “Happy Teacher Apriciation Day” attached. I’m pinning that fail on the kid, not the mom, who I’m sure would be mortified to know that’s what her kid gave the teacher.
Another teacher said she got a barely-living plant in an old pot, as if it had been swiped off her student’s front porch that very morning, and yet another teacher said she got leftover Halloween candy and a bra.
Here are a few other answers that were submitted that made me laugh-cry, they’re so funny:
“A student brought me his mom’s diamond necklace, and the mom called me the next day looking for it!”
“A very large gift bag from a student whose mother was a teacher at another school that got out the day before we did for Christmas, containing all the random, unwanted gifts she’d received, including a card addressed to her. Also expired jelly.”
Here we are again, coming up on the end of another school year, and I went straight to the source to find out exactly what gifts teachers feel extra appreciated when they receive them, and also to give myself gift ideas other than old candy and a used bra, which I’ve learned are not appreciated.
Apparently neither are jars of baking mixes.
According to the lady who worked at the Dollar Tree, where my sister-in-law was buying a bunch of jars and baking mix last year to make cute brownie-mix-decorative jars for teacher gifts, and the lady - whose daughter is a teacher - blathered on and on, telling my sis-in-law how her daughter hates getting baking mixes for gifts.
Which - ok, maybe that’s true. But she didn’t need to be an a-hole about it.
The teachers who responded to the survey almost all mentioned their favorite gift as those that were personalized and handmade by the students - not all slick, beautiful pieces of artwork, but the ones that were clearly assembled by the hands of a child.
They also mentioned gifts that took into consideration the hobbies or personality of the teacher - showing that they really know the teacher.
For example, one teacher friend of mine is an outdoorsman and an avid hiker. His favorite gift ever was a walking stick.
Another friend said that her class mom made a book filled with pictures of the students and notes from the kids to the teacher, saying how much they loved her and all the ways she was a great teacher.
Here are some other gifts your kids’ teachers would love to receive:
• A donation made to a cause important to the teacher
• Visa gift card, or really any gift card
• Monogrammed beach towel or beach bag
• Time covering the teacher’s lunch break during Teacher Appreciation week
• House cleaning
• Handwritten note from the student
Here’s what teachers do not want:
• Picture frames
• Things that have apples or say teacher
• Coffee mugs and cups
• Stationery/note pads
• Packs of pens
And I suppose it goes without saying that they also don’t want leftover holiday candy or cards addressed to someone else.
And they don’t want lingerie, for the love of vodka.
Not from you or your kid, anyway*.
*Unless your kid’s teacher is Mary Kay LeTourneau, in which case, she might.