Dec 10, 2009

The Right Way to Give, part II

Parents, today's gift-giving wisdom is regarding teacher gifts.

Most students love to give their teacher presents. It might be a special drawing, a valentine, or a bona fide Christmas gift. If your child wants to give his or her teacher a gift this year, then I praise you for raising a generous child. Children do not accidentally become thoughtful of others. You have been modeling generous behavior for him or her.

That said, every teacher I know (hundreds) has enough tchochkes, lotion, and candles to last her an eternity. What do they want? When polls are taken, the most requested gift is - a gift card.

It doesn't have to be much. Even $5 or $10 is a lot to them. Teachers aren't paid much, so a gift card to Walmart or Target is especially useful. Bookstores and office supply stores are also welcome choices. She can buy something she needs for the classroom, or something personal for herself or her family. Many teachers like pizza delivery (for those evenings when there are papers to grade & no time to cook), dinner out, or Starbucks.

Gift cards are not tacky. They empower to the recipient to decide what she most needs/wants.

Empowerment is an awesome gift.

If the budget allows, you might consider token gifts (giftcards) for the support staff who do not get the recognition that teachers traditionally get. Is there a teacher's aide in the classroom? Ask your child. He knows. Are there enrichment teachers, such as computer, art, music, or P.E.? Ask your child if there are other school staff members whom he would like to remember, such as receptionists, custodians, cafeteria ladies, bus drivers, or librarians. These folks interact with your child on a daily basis, yet are often left out of the gift-giving loop.

Sure, with an unlimited budget you could buy gifts for every employee at the school, but most of us live within limits. We have to choose and prioritize. Talk to your child about those adults who are most influential in his life. You will not only learn who works at your child's school, but you will learn more about your child. That's a gift money can't buy.

To whom will you give the gift of empowerment this Christmas season?

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