Tuesday, May 08, 2007

GIFTS: Teachers Appreciation Week

My father was a Primary School Teacher all his life, who has retired from the profession many years ago but never stopped teaching. Education was the most important gift that he gave to me and my siblings. My father’s example instilled an awe and respect for the profession. I realized that, next to parenting, teaching is the most compelling and the noblest of professions. Every young mind needs a spark to light the way to a brighter future through learning and teachers are that spark. In 1984, National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week - the first full week in May-to honor the dedicated men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. While it is supposedly the opportunity for the parents and students to convey their thanks to the teachers, at grade schools, parents are expected to give gifts to their children's teachers. For many families, there's a fine line between showing appreciation and wrecking family budget. Finding just the right gift; at just the right price can be challenging at best. With the end of the school year looming on once again, here are some ideas for often inexpensive teacher appreciation gifts.
It is a common knowledge that every teacher appreciates school supplies. Often teachers spend a lot of their own money stocking their classrooms. Pencils, markers, dry erasers, construction paper, anything for the classroom: games, electric pencil sharpener, writing equipment, books, rulers, things to decorate or theme objects, whatever you can get inexpensively or in volume. After dividing these between your two or even three children, it will cost less than $2 per gift. So stack up shoe-box sized plastic storage box full of school and classroom supplies that you can collect throughout the year at sales, clearance stores, etc. Don’t forget to add the most important part of the appreciation - A letter from the student (and/or parent) telling what they enjoyed about the year or the teacher's input into the child's life.

The other more personal gifts can be – Gift certificates from Baskin-Robbins, a bag of popcorn and a flavored salt sampler, a Gift certificate for a DVD rental, Movie Theater passes, a small basket of lotions or soaps, homemade fudge in take-out meal containers or flavored coffee/tea mixes. If you are an artist print teacher’s name on pencils; give coffee and a cup decorated by your child, handmade items from your child e.g. potholder, pencil holder, A small plant potted in a thrift store coffee mug or tea cup.

As we celebrate Teacher’s Appreciation Week, there are too many people who get left out, such as the principal, the secretary, long-term substitute teachers, P.E. teacher, the kitchen lady who serves your child every day, the teacher's aide, the Girl/Boy Scout leader, the Sunday School teacher, and the private teachers like sports coach, karate sensei, Art Class teacher, piano and dance teachers. I know a parent can't possibly buy gifts for all these people. I suggest that you send a personal e-mail or card to each individual telling them why they were so important to your child & thank them in most unique way by donating a book to the school or the public library in their name. Let them know how this gift will help other children as much as he/she helped your child. Another great way of acknowledging their contribution to your child’s life is to invite them to dinner at your house. This is also your chance to get to know them on more personal basis.

Basically, showing appreciation to the dedicated people who've touched our lives and given of themselves to our children should be an expression of heart-felt thanks, in any manner that does not pressurize any parent to go broke.



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