Fiesta Friday: Gifting the Teachers

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By Leslie Lindsay

It’s that time of year when we get a little more generous than usual…and were not just talking about stuffing the stocking over the fireplace, but perhaps a little grade bribery.  At least that is what some folks are doing.

This morning as I was making my way to the gym, I listened in as my favorite morning show hosts, Eric and Kathy of the MIX 101.9 were discussing the very idea of parents bribing teachers for their students to get better grades.  Imagine that!

Here’s what some callers were saying:

  • “My son and I are giving his kindergarten teacher a Coach purse this year.”  Seems the little guy was in private preschool and learned a whole lot there…while public kindergarten was well…too easy.  The mother mentioned that she has talked to the teacher about this concern before, but no changes have been made.  Perhaps the Coach purse will get her attention?!  (I’d think so!)
  • “My sister is a school teacher.  One of the parents in her classroom presented a weekend trip to Napa Valley!”  Wow.  Take me, take me!!  (Wonder if she accepted that?!)
  • “We are giving my daughter’s 8th grade teacher a $25 gift card to Chili’s”  Now that’s what we’re talking about!

Seems there has been a law in the state of Alabama instituting a nothing-over-twenty-five-dollars-limit for teacher.  And no large food items such as a ham or a turkey.  Really?!  Who would give a hunk of ham, anyway?!

(http://www.pnj.com/article/20111209/HOLIDAYS/112090321/Teachers-weigh-Ala-law-limits-price-gifts-from-students?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE   and others…   The Washington Post shares this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ala-ethics-law-limits-what-students-can-give-teachers-homemade-cookies-ok-hams-not-allowed/2011/12/07/gIQAjR5HdO_story.html)

So, what can you give the folks who educate our youth day in and day out all year long?  Well for starters, educators say they are sick of candles and hand lotion.  Okay…there goes my idea!

  • Gift cards for places like Barnes & Noble ranked high on the list–but nothing “too piddly, please.”  More generous gift cards of say, $25-50 is most preferred by teachers.  And considering that most books )hardcover, that is) start at $25-26 each, that sounds like a good bet.  (This is from a Chicago-based caller…as you can see, us Chicagoans are still a bit uh, behind Alabama in this sense)
  • Speaking of gift cards, how about one to a local resturant–places like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Red Robin, and other family-friendly places are a good starting point.
  • Or try a gift card to a local teacher store where she can get a few new supplies for the classroom?
  • If you have a large team of teachers to give a gift to, why not a gift basket of 1) office/school supplies 2) muffins, pastries, tarts, etc. 3) fresh fruit?
  • Perhaps you could have lunch or breakfast catered for the teachers who work with your sweetie?  Places like Panera, Starbucks, Caribou can all make arranegements with the school for delivery of baked goods and coffee…or a luncheon?  You can even go for a mega-sub from Subway, Jimmy Johns, Erberts & Gerberts, or Jersey Mikes.  Through in some bags of chips and some soft drinks and done!
  • If you just want to get a little something for a classroom teacher per child, why not something personal like a pin or necklace your teacher can wear?  You may even find something that has to do with education…or her favorite animal, sport, or hobby.
  • Teachers can always use paper–perhaps some personalized stationary, a notebook, or pens?  Look for them at American Stationary.com or another trusted paper place.
  • A personalized eReader cover…(make sure she has an eReader first!)
  • One year we even made our own artistic piece from kid art that had come home–frame it, stick it in those cool framable drink coasters, or create a mug with it.
  • Even just a fresh batch of holiday cookies goes a long way!

Just remember, teachers likely have an excess of apple-related things, ‘I love my teacher’ things, and maybe even mugs (well, there goes my idea above!).  You may find that the more unique gift you present her with, the more likely she will remember you–and your child.

Happy Weekend and Happy Holidays!

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