I suppose you may be wondering why a person who neither has children nor teaches them might be writing about what to get a your kids’ teachers for Christmas (or whatever we’re calling “the holidays” now). And while I understand that this may seem strange, I need you to know this:
I sit at happy hour with your kids’ teachers and hear all about the stuff they (and you) do all year.
And it drives me to drink.
Scary as it may be, I am glad to have a few teacher friends.
Crazy stuff aside, they sit with your offspring for hours every day and help shape their minds. They teach them how to read, how to stand in line but still ask questions, to remember their prime numbers, and how to someday grow up to be a decent person, a responsibility that deserves our respect and admiration.
What better time to show them you appreciate this huge, monumental feat than over the holidays?
Don’t worry, I gotchyerback. I asked a few of my favorite teacher-friends what their favorite gifts have been over the years, and I’m here to share that list with you (not surprisingly, no one said “apples.”).
If you are in a position to slap Ms. Teacher a twenty-spot, you should. She’s been working sometimes 60+ hours a week on activities and homework for your little munchkins, with no extra compensation. Sometimes she uses her own money when the school won’t provide her with supplies. A little cash can mean a lot to her.
Straight up delicious food. My friend Ms. M said the best gift she ever got was some Thai takeout. That was a year ago and she still thinks about how awesome it was. Cookies, takeout, whatever. Feed your kid’s teacher. Teachers like food.
3. Gift cards (to awesome places).
One of my teacher-friends (who asked to remain anonymous) said, though he appreciates the sentiment, he’s received enough Starbucks gift cards to last, um, forever. For some people this is not a problem, but for him he can’t give them away fast enough. If you’re going to go the gift card route, I recommend local bars/restaurants or places like Target where the recipient can purchase more than one thing.
Yeah, it seems a little weird to hand alcohol to your kid’s teacher, like you’re perhaps encouraging her to do… exactly what you do every weeknight when the kids are asleep, (Careful, this realization might blow your mind like it did mine) but educators are people, too.
Yep, sometimes even those who educate our youth like to have a glass of wine with friends, and that’s a good thing. They’ve been through some amazing and sometimes heartbreaking experiences teaching our future leaders. They could all use a drink.
5. Books for the classroom.
Age-appropriate books are like currency in Teacher Land.
I don’t know what that means, but I do know that a good book can be a Godsend during a rainy day’s indoor recess when you have to entertain 25 children who just ate a shit-ton of carbs at lunch.
6. A Nice Note.
Teachers above all recognize that money is tight, and maybe the extra gift isn’t in your budget.
That is absolutely fine, and no teacher on Earth expects you to go without so she can have a gift card, especially when you have little mouths to feed.
Every now and then it’s nice to hear that you’re doing a good job. If you can spare five minutes, a little encouragement could change a teacher’s outlook on his year. And while you’re at it, write a note to the principal about how much your kid loves his teacher, and what a good job he’s doing. Maybe, just maybe, this gesture could result in a raise, which is the best gift of all.
Not seeing what you’re looking for? Send your kid’s teacher an email asking her about herself. Maybe she’s got a hobby that you could help out with, or a baby boy at home who could use a play-date.
Don’t worry, it’s definitely the thought that counts. You got this.