Are you a mum that has little ones [and/or big ones!] in school? Do you drop them off at their class every day and wonder, with awe, how any sane person could choose to spend 6 hours a day with as many as 30 kids at a time?

As another year’s end draws closer, many of us are thinking about how we can thank the teachers who taught our kids. How can we show our appreciation and gratitude to those special people who took such good care of our children?

I am in my 6th year of being a school mum and each year I am overwhelmingly thankful for the investment the teachers [all 11 of them so far!] made in my boys’ lives and education. Of course it’s true that it is their job to educate the students in their class and it’s also true that they are paid to do so. However, I am very fortunate to say that every teacher I have come across has been fundamental to my kids enjoying their time at school. I feel that I owe them a personal debt of gratitude for and recognition of, what I believe to be, their brave choice to become a teacher.

But here’s the dilemma. It’s hard to know what to get a teacher… because they’re not like normal people.

You see them EVERY DAY and willingly leave your children with them and even discuss your kids behaviour and development but what do you KNOW about them? Do they even have a life outside of school? My kids nearly have a heart attack when they see one of their teachers out doing normal things like food shopping or something. “Oh my God Mum! It’s Mrs Teacher and she’s got COKE in her trolley!!!” So here we have a person who is significant in your family’s daily life and you probably don’t even know if he/she’s got pets, has allergies, likes hip hop or pop, takes sugar in their coffee or lemon in their beer.

So from my own ‘extensive’ experience together with a survey of our online community and some input from some teachers I know, here’s the only Christmas Gift Guide you’ll need for teachers. EVER:

1. A box of special tea or gourmet coffee

First you will need to find out if your teacher is a tea or coffee drinker and then package something delicious up for them. You could even present it in a mug or tea-pot [though word on the street is they get A LOT of mugs!]. Head in to the T Bar for some inspiration and for the coffee pod drinkers a trip to Nespresso might be a good idea.

2. A potted plant

Something that they can either keep on their desk, like a gorgeous low-maintenance succulent, or that they can plant in their garden at home like a rose bush or dwarf lemon tree.

3. Gold Class tickets to the movies

This gift may be a bit pricey [‘cause you really need to buy two] but if you’ve ever been, you’ll know it’s AWESOME! Could be a good idea for a class gift.

4. Keepsake Christmas Decorations

Sometimes just a personal card and a unique Christmas decoration for the tree is a perfect thank-you gift. Country Road, House & Garden and speciality gift shops always have a great range of glass, porcelain or metal ornaments. I give one to each teacher every year with their gift.

5. A gift card

Think of something generic like an itunes voucher or something indulgent like a spa or a manicure/pedicure. Just make sure that any massage voucher is from the ‘right’ kind of massage parlour… you don’t want to be known as ‘THAT mum’! Again, this could be a class gift if out of your price range.

6. Wine/Beer/Gin

Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to relax with an alcoholic beverage [or several] after a year of taking care of 25+ school-aged kids?? A bit of non-weird stalking may be helpful here to find out what their tipple is [and if they even drink alcohol!]. A nice idea for male teachers who enjoy a drink is a six pack of boutique beers and maybe even some fancy beer glasses.

7. A vase

It sounds simple but a vase is something that we rarely buy for ourselves and could be used at home or in the class room. Nothing too big, just enough to fit in the posies of hand-picked flowers I always see other mums bring in.

8. Hand cream

Think something that they wouldn’t indulge in themselves like Crabtree and Evelyn, Jurlique or Aesop.

9. A magazine subscription

This is the gift that keeps on giving and a favourite choice of mine for many people. If it’s a bit pricey for your budget, it could be a great class gift or you could just get a collection of the latest in a genre [cooking, fashion, fishing, gardening] and wrap them up like a Christmas bon-bon with a pretty ribbon. Perfect for some relaxing holiday flicking and suitable for both male and female teachers.

10. A foodie gift pack

The great thing about gift packs is that you can tailor them to fit any budget. Gourmet jams, sauces or spices are always a great idea particularly during the festive season and are suitable for male and female teachers. Pad it out with some nice tea towels or a fancy cheese knife and board.

Some other tips you may like to consider are:

  1. Teachers get a lot of chocolate. If you’re pressed for time and money, this seems like a great option, especially when Lindt balls are half price at Woolies but WARNING – they could get lost in the noise of all the other boxes or left in the staff room until next year!
  2. Your child is special… but that doesn’t mean their teacher wants a framed photo of them. Think about it. There are 2 dozen ‘special’ kids in their class and next year there’ll be another 2 dozen. What are they seriously going to do with a photo of your kid?
  3. A hand-crafted gift from a child is an incredibly thoughtful gift… but possibly not very practical. They have just spent ALL YEAR crafting with your child and sending that stuff home. A gorgeous, hand-made card may be just as thoughtful – and easier to store!
  4. Scented candles are an absolute fave of mine but proceed with caution… some scents can make the receiver gag or give them a headache so if you’re unsure, stay clear.

And finally, don’t worry if you aren’t in a financial position to contribute to a class gift or buy one yourself. A simple heart-felt card of thanks would be just as genuinely appreciated.

I’ve even found the perfect quote for you…

“An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” (Carl Jung)

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1 Comment

  1. As a teacher I agree with the “do NOT get a mug”. We get many. A travel mug would be more useful. I personally like things I can use the following year like stickers, stationary, markers etc. at the end of the day, all we really need is a “thank you”. Gifts are nice but not necessary. Your kind words and appreciation are enough.

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