Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gifts for Teachers

In between park outings and complaining about the weather, we've been busy preparing gifts for the girls' teachers. This was Jenna's last week of preschool, and Jenna was very clear about what she wanted to give her teachers. 

"Cookies that are vanilla (i.e. no cocoa) with rainbow frosting," she said.

"Bookmarks - summer food for Mrs May,

summer things for Mrs Walquist,

art supplies for Mrs Anderson

and sewing things for Mrs Strain."

"And paper flowers -

in their favorite colors".

We put them all in baskets lined with tissue paper, and Jenna laboriously signed thank you cards.

On Thursday, she solemnly delivered them to her teachers and reported later to her dad, "Mrs Walquist was the surprisedest."

Emily continues with kindergarten till early June. She's giving her teacher one of those crazy morphing wallet totes

She took mental notes all year on her teacher's favorite things and chose to do owls

tucked inside a hand-drawn wallet.

"Those are an easel, a pointer, a whiteboard marker and a glue bottle", she enlightened me.

Having seen Jenna's gift baskets, she's decided her teacher might like cookies and flowers, too.

When I was a teacher, there were strict guidelines for the kinds of gifts we were allowed to accept from students. Flowers and cards were OK, as was anything handmade. However, anything of substantial monetary value was out, for instance. So no gift cards, jewellery, appliances, things like that. There were declaration forms to fill out and submit to the Ministry of Education, who would then decide what we should do with the items. When I was in 6th grade, a group of us saved 10 cents each day for months, and at the end of the year, we all went shopping and presented our teachers with Wedgewood. Wedgewood! Our teachers had to hold a conference to decide how to deal with the situation. In the end, they bought us all small toiletries bags, which reduced us to tears, we were so touched. 

So I'd always been a little hesitant about what sort of things to give teachers, and if they are even allowed to keep the gifts. It took me a while to feel comfortable presenting them with gift cards and not worry that the department of education would confiscate them. Now that I know that teacher gifts are limited only by one's imagination (and one's children's fixations), we are happy to shower them with all kinds of wacky and wonderful things, because we are so thankful for what they have done for our children.

What are your kids giving their teachers?


  1. oh LiEr, these are GREAT. I say that as a former teacher. What I loved best from my students were notes and cards and food.

    And I need to think about thank yous to G's teachers - thanks for the reminder. My guess is it will be a note, maybe flower pins if G likes that idea. oooooh, or G could make them each a potholder from her little loom.

  2. What awesome gifts! I'm not a teacher, but I would love to receive handmade gifts before gift cards anytime. We also went the handmade route for teacher gifts this year. We made a little pouch from "Skip to my Lou" blog and filled it with the teacher's favorite chocolate. Also made an embroidered bookmark from my son's drawing of the teacher. I love your ideas!

  3. I don't remember our kids ever giving their teachers gifts at the end of the year. I don't know if 'anybody' did.... or maybe I was just neglectful?! The kids never told me that others brought gifts, though. Maybe it's a more recent thing?

    Those bookmarks are wonderful! I think I should get Courtney started making some. I'm sure Auntie Jess, for one, would be thrilled to receive some.

    All of the gifts are great! But the decorating on the pouch will make it a treasure for sure!

  4. Any one of those items would be wonderful gifts! A whole basket is amazing.

  5. As a former teacher I can tell you that any gift that comes from a student's heart is always appreciated. I would have loved to get the tote/wallet. What an awesomely useful gift. The bookmarks and flowers are adorable too. Teachers do always appreciate gift cards too though. Sometimes you get so much food and candy you don't know what to do with it all.

  6. My son's preschool class is giving (i.e. I am making) lap quilts for the 2 teachers. Fairly simple pattern (all half-square triangles), and I love to create so it's not "work" to me. All of the kids' names are machine stitched into the backing. Will post on my blog once finished (phew, school isn't ending for 2 more weeks!). Plus Shutterfly photo books - we collected pictures from the year and are making a book that we're gifting to each teacher but also each parent can buy if they want a copy.

    I loved your tote bags you gave one year and I used the tutorial to make a Halloween treat bag for my son one year.

    LiEr, I never did thank you for posting a comment on my blog back in February - after my son had surgery and we were making Valentines while cooped up inside. I was shocked to see your name since I've been following you forever!!!!

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  8. As a teacher, I would love all of those. The best part is the thought that each of your girls put into them! I think my favorite of everything would be the handmade flowers- they would probably get a place of honor on my desk for the rest of my career. :)

    And I agree with Margo- my best thank yous were notes from students and their parents, sharing what they enjoyed about my class!

  9. Love the cookies - what great decorating!

  10. I love the colored pencil cookies! Must save that idea in the mental archive. For teacher gifts we like to do a small handmade gift, usually consumable, always something that the child had a significant part in creating (cookies, chocolate-coated pretzels, candles), plus an all-purpose gift card such as to Target. At my kids' elementary school there is normally a class collection taken up, so instead of the gift card we contribute cash to that pot. If the teacher's tastes are well-known enough then the "Room Parent" may be able to convert some or all of that cash into a personalized gift; otherwise it's generally just collected and presented inside a card.

    The bookmarks are wonderful, and of course would be great to go with a bookstore gift card! I'm not sure I'm up to your zippered morphing wallet totes yet, but a simpler shopping bag might be just the thing...

  11. How i love those gifts...congrats for having a brilliant mind!

  12. It isn't common at all to give the teachers any gifts here...but they might bring a flower or something from the whole class if a teacher is leaving, or when they go out of school...boring, I know.
    I'll have a go at that bag- I've wanted to make one for a long time!


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