Monday, December 1, 2008

Teacher's Gifts

I read a recent post about gift ideas for the teachers in our children's life. The basic theme of the article was that teachers really don't need elaborate, expensive gifts or apple-themed "To Teach Is To Touch A Life Forever" gifts. The most memorable and special gifts are inexpensive homemade items and personal notes of appreciation.

As a teacher/counselor for 10 years, I can tell you that the running joke on my campus was a contest to see which teacher could collect the most coffee mugs? And, who could produce the most cliche apple-themed gifts? (I won one year for the coffee mugs). Honestly, the gifts that have meant the most over the years were hand-written notes from parents and students describing something specific for which they were appreciative. You know, teachers get a lot of criticism and complaints throughout the year. There are mean and unreasonable parents out there! It is really special to read a sweet note and realize that many people appreciate our commitment to teach and mentor children.

When I was growing up, my mom was the master at giving good teacher's gifts. She never spent a lot of money, but she spent a lot of time creating beautiful, handmade items to give. One of my former teachers told me 20 years later (!) that she still used the beautiful apron that my mom sewed for her when I was in 6th grade.

I will say that the most memorable gift I received as a counselor was not handmade or handwritten. One of my "frequent flyer" 6th grade girls brought me a collection of Bath & Body Works lotions and creams in different scents. She walked in my office, opened her backpack, and started lining the bottles up on my desk. She told me that she was so grateful for my help that semester and that she would never forget me. While I thought the gift was given in a slightly odd manner, I was truly appreciative and assured her that her gift was very thoughtful and I would look forward to using them. As soon as she walked out the door, I enjoyed opening the bottles and smelling the latest scents of the season. Unfortunately, a couple of days later, her father called to tell me that she had SHOPLIFTED the items from the mall. Even though I had already used some of the lotions, I offered to give them back. He wouldn't hear of it and said that he was making his daughter work to make restitution for the theft. I must say that a part of me was strangely honored to know that my student was willing to shoplift to give me a nice gift!

1 comment:

Gillian said...

Shoplifting certainly shouldn't be encouraged as a way to provide gifts :) Good on her Dad for making her work for the money.

I can see why that would be a memorable gift!