End-Of-The-Year Gifts For Teachers: Where Do You Stand?

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Another school year bites the dust. The kids are getting antsy, the weather is getting warm and moms are getting nervous about the months ahead. I’m sure you have summer daycare all lined up. The kids’ camps are booked and deposits have been paid. You still haven’t bought new cleats for the first soccer game of the year, but it’s on your to-do list. There’s one more errand that you really can’t put off much longer. Have you picked out the perfect gift to thank your child’s teacher for all their hard work and support this school year?

Now, I know we had this debate during the holidays. I have many memories about dragging bags full of present to school in December, passing out presents to Mr. Kelsaw, the most awesome assistant principal of all time, as well as to my teachers and assistants.  I think that’s part of the reason why I grabbed Starbucks gift cards for any school employee that has regular contact with my daughter.

But the end of the year brings the gift-giving quandary back to the forefront of moms’ minds. You’ve spent a year trading emails and notes with your child’s teacher. You’ve helped with homework and attended field trips. Hopefully your child has learned a lot. Does this merit a present, simply to say thank you?

Let’s face it, most people don’t get presents just to thank them for doing their job. No one is sending me a gift card or a cutesy mug for writing down my opinions all year long. Though if you’d like to, that would be pretty awesome. Should we really feel the need to buy gifts for teachers who are essentially doing their jobs?

On the other hand, teaching can be an intensely thankless job. We constantly hear about the bad apples who are besmirching the reputation of the profession and constantly forget the extreme dedication that goes into great teaching. Of course I’m a little biased here. My mother is a teacher. I’ve seen her spend her “summers off” attending conferences, writing articles, helping past and present students alike. I’ve been there on weekends with my mom and dad while we all spend hours building sets for her kindergartner’s production of The Three Little Pigs. And I’ve helped as the teachers at her school organize fundraisers and art auctions to pay for their own playground, because the city refuses to cough up the funding so that elementary school kids can have a safe place to play at recess.

Do I think that a great teacher deserves more recognition and gratitude? Yes I do.

The very last consideration in this gifting debate is probably the most important: how does your child feel? Does your little one want to say thank you to their teacher after a year of working together? Hopefully the answer is yes. Personally, I think that makes the end of the year the perfect time to get your child involved in making or picking out a thank you gift. It lets them show their appreciation and learn the importance of showing gratitude to those who help you. It’s funny how simple things like writing thank you letters at a young age can make children so polite and thoughtful for years to come.

So where do you stand when it comes to the end of the year gift for teachers? Will you be stopping by Barnes & Noble for a gift card, which is my go-to teacher gift? Will your little one be creating their own year-end present? Or will you simply be throwing your books in the air and celebrating summer?

(Photo: Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock)