Skip the Apple Paraphernalia
I maybe a little late with this topic, but it has been on my mind for a while. Teacher Gifts. Twice a year, the schoolyard is abuzz with money changing hands and gift bags being carted in and out.
I don't know what it's like at your school, but at ours it generally goes like this: a super-organized parent decides on an amount, begs for money, gets a card and wrangles all the kids to sign the card, and then goes out and picks out a gift card for large chain-like bookstore.
The problem is always how much to give -- there was an outcry in one of my son's class when $20 was requested, but in my daughter's class the parents thought that $10 wasn't enough. Sometimes I think that it should be pooled on how many kids you have -- so those with only one kid would spend as much as those with three. At Aaron's school the parent surprised me by asking for the money up front in September for both the holiday and end-of-year gift. I wrote a cheque and I am assuming that she didn't embezzle the money (I would be seriously tempted to borrow from the fund for some boots but that's why I don't do this job). And since no one would ever confuse me with a super-organized parent so I am never the one left with this task.
All three of my kids teachers will be receiving a gift card for Indigo bookstore, as one of the super-organized parent said, "I dunno, she's a teacher and I guess teachers like books." The comment made me seriously question her ability to choose a gift but I handed her my money anyways.
It seems that gift cards a good idea. According to this website, which was started by a former teacher to deal with the rift between what teachers want and what they get, gift cards are the number one choice of teachers. That should also make Indigo happy, because I read that 25% of gift cards are never cashed in, which makes for some tidy profits for Heather.
Sometimes I miss the whole money collection and differentiate myself by doing a donation to my favourite charity, The Stop Community Food Centre. The Stop is a food bank but it is also much more than that, it teaches people how to cook, garden and eat healthily. Twenty-five dollars covers a hamper for a family, and they also send a gift card to the teacher.
Ten Thousand Villagesalso has a great program called a Living Gift where you can send school supplies to kids in need. (I loved it so much I got my mother a goat for the holidays.) Whenever I have given a donation that helps kids, I have always been pulled aside and thanked personally by the teacher. It's the kind of gift that covers all teacherly bases -- it helps kids learn and it isn't shaped like an apple. Which according to Christmasgiftsforteachers.com end up on ebay.