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The other day Katie (aka the giveaway winner) commented on my blog and asked what some of my favorite teacher gifts were. Rather than commenting to her personally, I thought I’d tackle this one out in the open (hope you don’t mind Katie) because it’s not the first time someone has asked me.

So that’s my question today.

What are some of your favorite gifts that you’ve received as a teacher?

First of all, I’d like to say how thoughtful it is to think of giving the teacher a gift, at any time. It is something that I always appreciate no matter what. 

You also need to probably know how I operate gift-wise in the everyday world, because they are similar. There are two ways to please me with gifts. Practicality is the first. I don’t like “knick knacky” gifts things that take up space but really serve no purpose. I like to get something that I will actually put to use. I love gifts like this.

The second way to win me over is to show me that you know me in choosing my gift. For example, in everyday life I love keeping my skin soft and smooth. I love to shave my legs and keep them smooth (I know, it’s true though). My mom once got me a gift that included  really good exfoliating bath scrub, a razor, and good shaving cream. That gift meant a lot to me because it showed that my mom knows me. One year for my birthday, Misty found the copy-cat recipe for Applebees’ Oriental Chicken Salad dressing. She copied the recipe down and gave that to me along with some of the dressing–she made some for me–that gift was awesome! If I can tell that you know me, any gift becomes a terribly sentimental gift, it’s true!

As a teacher, I have received both kinds of gifts so I will share a few with you.

An example of a practical gift:

A stack of Post-It notes and a set of Expo Dry Erase Markers.

These were packaged together in a little Ziploc bag, nothing fancy, with a ribbon tied around the bag and a little note written on the first post-it.

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I am a person who won’t use my Post-It notes as often as I’d like. The cost adds up and it comes out of my budget due to lack of supplies provided these days. It sounds silly, but I have a thing. So this gift honestly delighted me. I don’t even know that they were brand name, they may have been a generic sticky note, I didn’t care. I received those at the end of last year and I am so excited that I already have a decent supply of dry erase markers and sticky notes to begin the new school year. I loved this gift!

A gift that shows someone knows me:

Good chocolate brownie mix! This gift actually came as two boxes of Ghiradelli brownie mix, two bags of the good (darker) Ghiradelli chocolate chips, and a silicone brownie pan. The pan actually makes little bite-sized brownies.

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I love chocolate! My students know this. I have received other gifts of the like. For Christmas one girl gave me a to-go coffee cup and a box of instant hot chocolate mix. For my birthday, the same family that gave me the brownie mix, brought me in the richest chocolate on chocolate dessert ever. It was to die for. I love chocolate, so it is always cute when the kids cue into my favorite kinds of chocolate (hot chocolate, chocolate on chocolate, brownies, etc). This gift meant a lot to me.

A gift that covers both bases for me:

A three-pack of Scentsy bars!

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I turn on my Scentsy warmer everyday in my classroom, and those bars add up, too. This gift shows that you know the things that are important to me and it’s something I can use in my classroom. Although, I was so excited about one of the scents that I had never tried before, I told the parents I was taking it home, they were fine with it! I received this kind of gift from two students this year. From what I understand, the students came up with these gift ideas on their own, something about that makes them all the more special. It really means a lot when the kids come up with the gift for their teacher!

The most important part of any teacher gift, in my opinion, is the card. I don’t want a knick knack to hang in my classroom that reads, “To teach is to touch a life forever…” I’d rather have you and your child take the time to write to me telling me how I’ve touched your child’s life personally. That means so much to me. I am a card person in my everyday life and a card for the teacher isn’t any different.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gifts or cards. Fold a piece of paper in half and have the student decorate it and write on the inside. Trust me, the kind of card matters not one bit to the teacher. Also, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on the gift itself.  If you can think of things that your teacher uses regularly or something she likes (Diet Coke, banana bread,  mechanical pencils, etc…) target in on that and pick a bottle of soda up. No big deal! If you honestly, can’t afford anything, a card (folded up piece of paper) would be plenty!

You don’t have to give a gift at all, it’s not like it’s expected or anything, it’s just a nice gesture. You certainly don’t have to remember birthdays and stuff like that, I just happened to have a parent this year who was extremely thoughtful and giving and did that for me. It meant a lot but I would not ever expect that out of someone. So please don’t think you have to do something every time you turn the corner, you don’t have to do anything at all, really.

There are teachers that love the little wooden signs that say “To teach is to touch a life forever…” and things of the like. Feel it out. What does the classroom look lite? Mine has nothing like that hanging up, my classroom is pretty bare, and it’s pretty obvious it’s by choice. If your teacher is displaying every apple, ruler, pencil knick knack known to man, perhaps that’s the route to go.

So I know I have other teachers that read this blog as well as lots of parents. So here’s a chance to share some other ideas.

What are some other teacher gifts you’ve received or given?

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