At Christmas and at the end of the school year, it is usual to give a small gift to teachers and classroom assistants, particularly in primary schools.
I was never sure quite what to give, so I decided to ask my friends who were teachers whsat they liked and what they really didn't appreciate.
Gifts should always be something small. When I was at school anyone who bought any gift for the teacher was thought of as the most terrible ‘creep’, and teased mercilessly.
Nowadays an overly-expensive gift would have the same effect. If you are on a tight budget even small gifts can start to get quite expensive, when you could be required to buy gifts for a teacher and up to two classroom assistants per child.
That really starts to add up, especially if you have two or more children.
The teachers and assistants I have spoken to tell me that they much prefer a small gift, maybe something they will enjoy then use up such as chocolates, biscuits or even a bottle of wine.
Teachers also really don't like (and some positively loathe) those ‘World’s Best Teacher’ type of knick-knacks. Avoid.
Image Credit: Annie Spratt
Home-made biscuits or cakes, especially if the child has helped to make them are a popular idea. Either are good and can also be shared with the other members staff such as administrators who tend not to get given gifts.
Always a winner.
Tricky one this. Teachers, I am told, get gifted a lot of candles. Unless you know that a particular teacher is really mad about candles, it might be best to avoid these, as they will probably have at least ten given to them each year.
I was told by one teaching assistant that teachers are always breaking or losing coffee mugs. They usually have to supply their own and it is nice to have spares for visitors as well. Others have told me that they get inundated with mugs and have enough to last them a lifetime!
If your child's teacher is using a lot of mugs as pencil pots, assume that they have enough..... Bonus points if every single one says "World's Best Teacher".
Image Credit: Alexandra Seinet
Flowers or pot-plants are really appreciated and are rarely given. These do not need to be expensive and could be home grown or propagated.
The kids could decorate the pots for a more personal or festive touch.
Stationary supplies, I'm told, are very much appreciated, particularly for teachers of older children. They often end up needing to ‘lend’ pens and pencils to students who have forgotten them, so to have some to hand would be really helpful.
Also, reward stickers are the sort of thing teachers may have to supply themselves, so those would be a good gift too.
Pampering products such as bath oil or bubble bath go down well, (according to my female teaching assistant friend) especially if it has words like 'relaxation' or 'de-stressing' on it!
However they do get a lot of soap, so steer clear of that. Remember too, that almost no-one uses talc these days, so no re-gifting that toiletries set from an ancient great-aunt either.
Yes! Most of my teacher friends LOVE it if they get wine as a gift, but it is mostly male teachers who get wine. By the end of term they feel like they really need it - often in conjunction with that relaxing bubble bath.
Image Credit: Holly Mindup
How about vouchers for a small treat such as a manicure or coffee?
Get a group of you together to buy a larger gift such as a decent sized gift certificate for a store or restaurant.
If you want a present for the music teacher, how about a baton? They break them all the time and they only cost from couple of pounds each!
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.