Throughout my teaching career I received some pretty interesting gifts:
- Barbies with bodies but no heads
- Barbies with heads and no bodies
- Half-eaten candy bars
- Dead bugs (Ok, they knew I’d stick these in the Science Center)
- Victoria’s Secret lotion (pretty sure this was taken from the mom’s purse)
- $20 (this WAS taken from the mom’s purse – and returned immediately)
- Picked flowers – complete with roots and dirt
I taught Kindergarten and First Grade in an inner-city school for 9 years – and while my students loved me and their parents were happy to have their children in my class, Teacher Appreciation Week was never really observed by anyone but the faculty. Many of my students came from single-parent homes where the parent worked multiple jobs… many were latch-key kids (yes, at 5 years old), and many were being raised by grandparents because their parents were incarcerated or no longer living. I never once had a Room Mom to organize gift card donations to expensive stores or to arrange for much-needed supplies to be brought in. Any trinket my students brought in was a sacrifice on their part – no matter how they obtained it – because it required thinking of me outside of school, hunting in the toybox or backyard for the perfect gift (or swiping it from mom’s purse), putting it in their backpack, and giving it to me. That’s a lot of steps for a kid to complete independently, and I was always incredibly touched.
But of course, it is nice to be appreciated. And hearing other teachers at workshops bragging that they wouldn’t have to pay for dinners out for a month or showing off their new charm bracelet (with every charm donated by a different student) wasn’t easy. Those teachers deserved appreciation too, but I’m not sure they realized that it wasn’t like that for everyone in the profession. Especially when parents at my schools rarely even said “thank you” or acknowledged how hard my colleagues and I worked. So when Emily started Kindergarten, I wanted her teachers to know how thankful I was for all their hard work, dedication, and sacrificed money and time. I’d always given gifts to her daycare teachers too, but parents there were sweet enough to provide items on their wish list throughout the year, as well as voluntarily celebrate birthdays and holidays, and I knew this wasn’t always the case with grade-school teachers.
I decided that since there was a whole week dedicated to teachers, Emily’s teacher(s) would receive a little treat each day, with the “real” appreciation gift being given on Friday. Pinterest was loaded with great ideas for saying “thanks” to educators, and most of them are super cheap and super easy. I like to give some sort of yummy treat early in the week, in case they forget their lunch or need a yummy Monday pick-me-up.
This year is her teacher’s last year in education, and since Julia is home with me and is currently teacher-less I thought it would be nice to spoil Emily’s teacher just a little more than I normally would. And although I did borrow some ideas from Pinterest again, I’m proud to say that two of the gifts were totally from Emily… obviously, the ones with the Harry Potter theme.
It makes me happy to bless her dedicated teachers with small tokens of our gratitude, and I hope that it helps Emily to understand how much we value the people God has placed in her life to help us guide her as she grows.
❤ For all you teachers out there, thanks. ❤
PS – Click here to download the free printables: Teacher Appreciation (I had Emily draw little pictures on them and then I matted them on printed scrapbook paper).
PSS – Sorry for the crummy pictures. 😛