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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Best gifts for teachers?

Best gifts for teachers?

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19 Replies 1074 Views
Teachers, what's the best gift you've ever received from students? We're compiling a list for parents for the holidays, so make 'em good!

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer
Staff

I thought this was worth sharing:

@edutopia The best gift? A smile of understanding, a thank you, a look of surprise when they do better than they thought, a grin.

Sometimes, it's just the little things..love this!

Paul Strauss's picture
Paul Strauss
8th Grade Science Teacher from Phoenix, Arizona

Even though I totally love the Starbucks and Barnes & Nobel gift cards, by far the best gift I ever get is a sincere, handwritten note letting me know how much a student enjoys my class. We all have bad teaching days and when I do, I love to pull out these notes to remind me that what I do does make a difference. A simply "thank you" speaks volumes and lasts forever.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer
Staff

[quote]Even though I totally love the Starbucks and Barnes & Nobel gift cards, by far the best gift I ever get is a sincere, handwritten note letting me know how much a student enjoys my class. We all have bad teaching days and when I do, I love to pull out these notes to remind me that what I do does make a difference. A simply "thank you" speaks volumes and lasts forever.[/quote]

Thanks for sharing Paul. That's what I'm also finding other teachers are saying that personal notes mean the most to them.

Here's a couple of more answers I've gotten on Twitter:

From @kstewart01: Truly, the notes/cards of encouragement and telling me what a difference I make are the best gifts. I pull them out on tough days.

From @aleaness: Just received a note from a former grad student. She thanked me and told me my class as memorable. No idea how she got home address.

From @andycinek: A college essay that was from one of my former students. They received an A simply said thank you.

We also have quite a few similar comments about this topic on our Facebook page.

Sehnita Joshua Mattison's picture

Dear Edutopia, From all the previous posts about how much teachers like receiving a personal note, I know you'll love this gift. Artwork For Education cards - cards created by kids that help raise money for schools!

This program isn't like normal fundraising programs in the schools as the kids are empowered by their own creative talents and passions. Teachers and parents love this program because it is a health, effective and fun way to engage their kids while providing revenues. Since each school year, teachers spend at least $500 out of their own pocket to fund classroom activities and buy resources for the students, this approach helps teachers afford the supplies they need.

Check out these examples:
http://artworkforeducation.com/item.aspx?item=59247
http://artworkforeducation.com/item.aspx?item=125884

The second card is by 11 year-old, Diana, helps support LA's BEST, an after school program through the LA's Mayor's office that provides programs to students in critical need of resources. Please use the power of your purchase to help empower kids and raise money for teachers through arts education!

Warm wishes,
Sehnita Joshua Mattison
VP Community & Media Relations
Worldwise Education, Inc
m. 626-372-0110
www.worldwiseeducation.com
www.artworkforeducation.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Worldwise-Education-Inc-WE/95499495599
Twitter: http://twitter.com/WorldwiseEd
Blog: http://worldwiseblog.wordpress.com/

Sehnita Joshua Mattison's picture

Betty, I'm apologize for the long post before, but I hope it's of interest to your community! Love Edutopia on Twitter and now I'll find you on Facebook!!

Suzy Brooks's picture
Suzy Brooks
Grade Three teacher, Dreaming Big on Cape Cod

My favorite by far has been the Humanity Bracelet that was given to me by a parent the first year I started teaching.

http://www.thehumanitybracelet.com/

I enjoy the gift certs to Borders, Walmart and Dunkin' Donuts, and I really liked my whole-class gift cert to a spa for a WHOLE DAY, but this bracelet was my fave and I wear it every day 5 years later.

Suzy Brooks
http://blogs.falmouth.k12.ma.us/simplysuzy/

Tom Fullerton's picture
Tom Fullerton
Faculty Associate, Simon Fraser University

A gift that I have treasured and hung on to through many moves is a painting that one of my students made for me, "Mr. Tom's Cup." My one vice, ... good espresso :)
It still hangs in my kitchen.
The school is in a very affluent community and I did not want them all trying to out-do the Jones,' so I told them I would gladly accept any handmade gifts.
I spent a lot of time building that grade 5 class' self-confidence. By the end of the year, they were giving themselves stickers when they met the criteria we had built together.

Bonnie's picture
Bonnie
former HS teacher, MEd, Education Administration, mom of 2

Teaching mostly 11th/12th graders, I used to ask for an honest evaluation from them at the end of the year. Then I realized, even though that might help Me get better, they're no longer going to benefit. So, for the holidays, I asked for their opinion - what was I doing well, what was I not, what did they like, dislike about the class and any other thoughts. I asked them not to put their names on it, type it and put it in my mailbox in the office. By December, we'd have enough time together for them to give me amazing insights and then I had over half the year left to reflect and work on it!

Chuck Wardman's picture
Chuck Wardman
President--Helping One on One, Ltd.

I was substituting for a 6 grade teacher and the principal spoke to me about an unruly student and asked if I would just send him to the principal's office when he disrupted the class. I discovered the student was living in a foster home. I asked this student when the class started to come to the front and lead the class in the opening exercise. As he completed his assignment I looked him and said, "If you are ever up for adoption I would like to be able to call you my son." With tears in his eyes he said, "I would like to call you dad."
He was a model student the remainder of his time with me.
My greatest gift, "When one of my former students greet me with a big hug and say, "Hi grandpa, I love you."

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