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Gift certificate at a book store.
Send a child to me who wants to learn.
Best Gifts are gifts that represent an expression of thanks.
The word "best" means something different to each one of us; therefore it is rather a personal choice of what to "gift" to a teacher.
The best gifts are things that I can use in the classroom. (Or gift cards to office/educational stores) Dry markers are always appreciated. Books to add to my classroom library. Science Toys that make students ask "How's it do that?" Basically anything that will enhance the learning environment.
I have often said that it is the stuff outside of the curriculum that really matters. We always did a school wide activity at my Junior High but your class activity sounds great.
What an amazing discussion it must be to have with students about what might really matter to a needy family! Kudos to you!!!
I am a personal fan of Book Store Gift certificates or cards. I always enjoy being able to go down to the store and pick out something I am truly interested in and I haven't met many teachers who don't like books.
With that said, one of the most memorable gifts was a student that got me a fleece throw blanket. I don't know why but it struck me as very thoughtful and I really liked it.
On another note, I was always frustrated at the little gifts that meant well, but simply were useless. I got foot creams several years in a row. Um... I am a male teacher and the foot cream while nice to pass on to my wife wasn't really up may alley.
Finally, someone listened and our PTA instead of giving us decorative bird bath's for our desk or one of my other favorites, a $0.50 Bell with the attached note: So you know how much we value you! (Yup I sure do) They held off on the monthly little thank you's and gave us a $50.00 gift certificate for books or supplies for our Classroom. I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse which made it much easier to present to my students.
If it is really the thought that counts, then I think gifts should have some true thought about the message they are sending.
The very best gift a parent can give a teacher is a letter of praise addressed to the principal. The letter should specifically state something special that the teacher does for the parent's child and/or the entire class. The teacher would love to have a copy of this letter and will keep it forever. Letters cost the family no money, trigger no allergies, coordinate with all home decor schemes, and do not cause weight gain! A thank you/praise note can be sent at any time of the year, although the parent might want to do this near the end of the term.
Spend time engaged in your child's education. Check on their homework, make time for teacher conferences, encourage your child to read...get involved!! The best gift a teacher can ask for is a committed parent who is truly engaged in making sure their student learns and values education.
Each year, I give our staff a "gift of appreciation" for their hard work and dedication. It might be a special letter with special mentions of each person, a poem about our work, a mini-movie of our staff in action, and I typically tie it to our school wide theme. Our staff is a close group of very hard working professionals that care deeply about our kids and each other and I'm lucky to be their principal! ;0)
Mr. Kris Maleske, Principal
Arland D. Williams, Jr Elementary School
"Together We Can"
The best gift I ever received as a teacher was a copy of a letter written by the parent of a student. It was addressed to the principal and thanked the principal for putting her child in my class. It included specific examples of how her child had benefitted from my instruction and class environment. I have since left the classroom but it is the only student gift that I still have!