As you’re making your list, and checking it twice, don’t forget to include those teachers who’ve had to care about your kids all year, no matter if they’ve been naughty or nice.
Forget ‘You’re the Best Teacher’ mugs, chocolates (they’re watching their weight too y’know!) and silly knick knacks – we’ve chatted to some veteran teachers and got a rough idea of presents that they actually want…
First things first... Alcohol – What does an overworked teacher who's in need of a holiday from her class of students really want for a thank you gift this Christmas?
Wine. Always wine!
Pampering vouchers – There’s a saying
that I’m just going to make up and that’s “You can’t pay a good teacher enough,” but frankly, most teachers aren’t paid enough at all. So massages, manicures, pedicures are treats that they might not splash their cash on too often. A thoughtful way to help them unwind after a long school year could be a bit of pampering they don't have to pay for.
Perfume – Do your due diligence and actually find out what scent they wear, of course, don’t do this by getting close to them and sniffing their neck – that’s creepy...
Gift cards – While no one is going to accept cash, a gift card is a good idea. Try and get them a voucher from some place with a wide range of choices so they can find something they like.
From the heart – A thoughtful hand written thank you note from your child might be one that goes in the archives forever – particularly if your kid just learned to write this year. The teachers we spoke to said they often keep the thank you notes that they’ve loved over the years.
Donate to organisations that cherish education – Good teachers are passionate about the power of education, but sadly not everyone gets access to quality schooling. There are a number of organisations in Australia and overseas that focus on trying to make sure every kid has the opportunity to get a great start in life.
For example, one such charity is Yalari – a not-for-profit organisation that offers quality, secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities.
Find out one organisation you think will sit well with your child’s teacher and donate on their behalf.
Can you do something for your school pro bono? – Education budgets are rarely left with any surplus to spend on some bells and whistles. Are you crafty? Perhaps you have a tradie in your house? Can you fit some good fans or offer a new paint job, or do something that makes your child’s school just a little prettier or more comfortable to be in everyday?
Ask them what they want – While your child’s teacher might be too shy to send you off with a shopping list they will perhaps be more forth-coming with things they simply can’t have – i.e. allergies that might render that Christmas pudding you’ve been setting for weeks completely useless.
Finally, maybe an apology? – Let’s face it, not everyone likes their kid’s teacher. But one must remember that with some teachers swamped with rooms full of kids – some with special needs – there are bound to be moments of poor judgement under pressure. It’s not likely that any educator goes into teaching because they don’t like kids – but being overwhelmed could lead anyone to question their vocational calling.
If you’ve made your child’s teacher’s year at all tough, and feel like in hindsight you could have cut them a little slack – how about an apology? Or at least a generous recognition of differences and best wishes for the future.
Keeping good teachers teaching is a vital part of our society, it's in the best interest of our local communities to encourage those who could educate generations to come to stay in the job.