To The Families Who Gave Teachers Gifts,
I spent the day before winter break writing your children thank you notes that I am fairly confident you will never see. In fact, they’ve probably already been relinquished to the deep recesses of binders next to permission slips, school calendars, and progress reports or banished to the bottoms of lockers atop moldy sandwiches, gym shirts, and library books. Some cards won’t even make it that far. Some are tossed in the trash, which I later dutifully recycle. Others are discarded underneath desks. Even if you did see my note, the letter I wrote your child is different than what I’d like to say to you.
Whether you spent thirty seconds or thirty days strategizing over what gift your child would bring to school this year, thank you. The picture-perfect pin of travel mugs replete with pun-ny sayings and handknit koozies. The crayon-wreath photo your neighbor posted on Facebook last week that has garnered over 40 likes. Between the Pandora’s box that is Pinterest and the filtered glow of social media, the pressure is enormous and absurd. I appreciate it all.
Whether your child engineered the gift himself or you could barely convince her to scribble her name on the tag, thank you. Some students skipped up to me with their gifts proudly in tow and explained not only the gift but the entire selection and gift wrapping process to me before I could even get the card out of their hands. Others discreetly dropped them on my desk. Some even made you leave them in the front office. They are in middle school, after all. The ideas are all different, but the thoughts behind them are the same.
Whether you spent a few cents or serious chunk of change, thank you. Many of you have multiple children. If you happen to have children close in age, you may even have multiple children in middle school this year. That means that your family gifted dozens of teachers presents today. Be it time or money or both, it all adds up quickly, sometimes bafflingly so. The snacks and school supplies are much appreciated, but the notes and cards are what will fuel me through the next six months.
Whether you have heard it before or not, thank you. Of course, I appreciate the gifts. More than that, though, I appreciate the thoughtfulness, the consideration, and the kind words. Sometimes they’re heartfelt notes that go on for nearly a page. Other times, they’re one line filled with misspellings or grammatical errors. I cherish them all.
For the gifts, for the cards, for sharing your children with me, thank you. Even if your child didn’t hand me a present or a card, your family has given me an incredible gift – the chance to laugh and learn alongside your son or daughter each day. Thank you.
So Tell Me…What are some of your favorite things to give or receive? Do you find yourself enjoying the cards more than the gifts sometimes?
My mom always sends funny cards with her gifts, which I like. But yeah, I’ll cop to liking gifts more than the cards generally. Still, cards show that some thought went into the process, which can be nice.
I’m glad so many of your students’ parents are giving. Teachers more than deserve it!
Alyssa @ Generation YRA
Books. Books, books, books! Typically, the card given with the book I give as a gift contains the thought process & why they are receiving such a book. 🙂 How thoughtful to take the time to write a letter to those parents – very sincere!
The cards really depend on the person giving it. I’m terrible at cards myself, but some people are massively excellent at it. My favorite from this year: the Merry T-Rexmas card our friends made. They’re not religious but they do the best holiday things.
Gifts are also really dependent on the person and what it is. If you know me or actually asked me what I wanted, then of course I’m likely to like the gift. But I’m generally very picky because I’m anti-clutter and anti-things just to have things so the “hey why not” sorts of gifts are not preferred and I try to rehome them ASAP.
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I didn’t know you taught middle school! I’m not sure which grade I thought you taught, but middle school is tough. Even more kudos to you and the kids are especially lucky to have you at this angst-and-hormone-fueled age.
This year I wish you more of those special glimpses into genuine childhood smiles and sneak-peaks of maturity indicating the solid adults they will become.