Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great Teacher Gifts: Part 2

Now that 2010-2011 school year is almost over, parents are wondering what they should get their child's teacher to show apprecition. An article from gives some tips, that show your appreciation with gifts that will make teachers smile not sigh.  Below are more suggestions for teacher gifts.

Gifting the inspired, exhausted, and poor
By: Great Schools Staff

1. Coordinated love bomb: The group gift
For a real splurge, the whole class can take up a collection and send the teacher to a spa for a massage or other pampering treatment. Or if your school has a fund for needy children, the class can make a donation in the teacher's name.

If you really think big, the whole school can collaborate on a gift for all the teachers combined. When Susie Kameny was a paraprofessional working with autistic students at Grattan Elementary School in San Francisco, the PTA subscribed to an organic delivery box for the teachers so that they could enjoy fresh fruit in the lounge every week.

Remember, such coordinated group gifts need not break the bank. If you know that a sophomore English teacher loves the work of a local poet, students might write letters to the luminary asking him or her to pay a visit to the class. Does your kid’s chemistry teacher revere a certain Nobel prizewinner? Consider contacting the scientist and asking for an autographed photo and letter.

2. What teachers really need

With many school budgets strapped by the recession, your child's teacher may be spending a lot of his or her own money on basic classroom supplies. So some teachers appreciate the most practical sorts of gifts.

Randi Richards, who retired last year from teaching middle school in Winslow, N.J., says that her favorites over the years were tissues, hand sanitizer, Post-Its, pencils, and pens — all things she used regularly in the classroom.

Don't be shy about asking your teacher what he or she really needs to get the job done. "This saves teachers a lot of out-of-pockets expense in the classroom," says Kate McCauley, the mother of two and a teacher herself for more than 25 years in the Washington, D.C., area. "It's much more useful than a 'world's best teacher' mug."

3. Thoughts that truly count

The most meaningful gifts are often those that show just how much teachers mean to their students. Anita Bell, who teaches third grade in Berkeley, Calif., says: "One year my class and a room parent worked together to make a huge glittering sign with pictures and individual messages on the bottom and 'Anita rocks!' in six-inch glitter letters across the top. I was surprised to find it posted on the classroom door when I came to school one day. It made my day, week, year."

A photo album or scrapbook from the class will deliver the same emotional wallop. Theresa Gramza, a fifth-grade teacher in Vernon Hills, Ill., got a CD on which students and parents had recorded their favorite memories using a service called LifeOnRecord. "All the other teachers were jealous," says Gramza, "and although I received the gift two years ago, I still love listening to the CD."

Especially in these tough financial times, parents and students need not feel obligated to shell out a lot to make teachers feel special. "The best gifts I have gotten are thank-you cards telling me how much the student or parent appreciates me," says Danny Kofke, a special ed teacher in Georgia. "These notes help me realize why I became a teacher — to hopefully make an impact on someone's life and make this world a better place."

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