Teacher's Gifts

June's Mannersmith Monthly was written by our very own Marianne Cohen. Marianne is in charge of the Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting Manners for Minors division, which launched in September 2007. As Manners for Minors finishes its kindergarten year, Marianne has compiled her thoughts on the end of year teacher gifts.

Flowers are blooming, lawn mowers are going and summer is almost here... which means that school is almost out. All parents love the Staples commercial "The most wonderful time of the year" when summer is ending and students are preparing to go back to school. Right now parents are in the middle of the opposite - the year-end mayhem: dance recitals, play off games, and end-of-year parties. As parents, we also need to think about the dreaded end of year teacher gift. Dreaded because it is nearly impossible, through one token gesture, to possibly express the on-going appreciation students and parents have for a truly terrific teacher. Below are guidelines on how to thank that special teacher who has been an inspiration and guide to your child all year.

  • An Apple a Day ~ It used to be that a student would give a teacher an apple as a gift. This has now evolved into giving teachers anything with an apple on it - from mugs, to picture frames, tote bags and beyond. Most teachers have received plenty of apples and apple-themed gifts. Most educators feel bad they cannot display all of these wonderful wares, so feel free to give something that is unique.
  • Make it Personal ~ Have your child make something that they know will mean something to their teacher such as a hand painted picture frame. Many of the big craft stores sell plain wooden frames that can be painted and decorated based on the teacher's interest. If you are chaperoning the upcoming field trip or attending the end of year show, bring your camera and snap a picture of your child and teacher together and insert in into the frame.
  • Art & Author ~ Have your child be creative in a project. Your child can write a book about the year and can draw the illustrations as well. Then get a plastic cover to create a book. Or have your child write a thank you note for everything learned this year and why the teacher will be missed. After all, everyone loves receiving a heartfelt thank you note.
  • Do Your Homework ~ Find out what the teacher will be doing over the summer and use that information to help you determine a gift. Maybe they work at the local summer camp and you can put together a basket with sun block, bug spray, a disposable camera, a new sports bottle and some cool sunglasses. Maybe they like to do home improvement projects, so a gift certificate to the local hardware store would be perfect for them. If they love movies, put together a movie night bag that includes some microwave popcorn, a coupon for a movie rental, some Raisinettes and some gourmet coffee. Have they repeatedly asked for the same supply all year? Use this information to your advantage and buy a year's supply for next year.
  • Be The Solution ~ If your school has the tradition of a class gift, make sure you let the coordinator know if you will be participating. It is frustrating for the coordinator to track down the last few parents. There is nothing wrong with not contributing, but do let the coordinator know. And there is also nothing wrong with contributing to the class gift and still doing something personal for the teacher.
Teachers today are taxed with so much. From larger class sizes, to the range of abilities of the students, to buying supplies with their own money, all to ensure our children blossom and grow throughout the year. Channel your child's end of year excitement to include gestures of gratitude to thank these wonderful women and men for their lives work of educating our children.

For information about Marianne, please click here.

For information about Manners for Minors programs, please click here.

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