Teacher Gifts

"A nice note or a picture from a student" is what one teacher said when asked what she most liked to receive around the holidays. Another teacher suggested "Spa treatments are always welcome." Another reasonable response might be, "Cold hard cash - do you have any idea how little we get paid to deal with these crazy kids?" but we couldn't find any teacher ill-mannered enough to admit it. The well mannered mother should trust her instincts and knowledge about the teacher: if the teacher maintains an avid interest in all things British, give some English tea and clotted cream; for an avid film-goer, give movies passes; and of course chocolate for the chocolate lover. As with hostess gifts, if you feel the need to give something tangible, try to keep teacher gifts useful, tasteful, and consumable. (Nix the "world's greatest teacher" coffee mug.) Some of our favorite ideas include: teas or coffee, itunes gift cards, book store gift cards, vouchers for a carwash, or a gift card to a store you know she frequents. Whatever you choose, remember to comply with the social norms around you. For instance, if everyone is giving $20 for a Starbucks gift card, do not rush out and buy the teacher an espresso machine. The objective is not to impress other parents or garner favoritism for your child but to thank the teacher for his hard work and wish him a happy holiday. Keep in mind that it is not the gift that matters, but the manner in which it is delivered. Make it personal. Wrap it up with a note, a picture, or card, made by your child and attach your own genuine note of thanks.

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