Holidays: Give those middle school teachers some love!

Every year we talk on the blog about holiday presents for teachers and based on what everyone had written in the past I figured once my oldest got to middle school I wouldn’t be doing teacher presents for those teachers. (It seemed like no one bought gifts for middle school teachers – partially because there are so many for each child.)

However, now that are here I am finding that I want to do something to show appreciation to those teachers ESPECIALLY.

I am so impressed with my daughter’s group of teachers this year (six teachers). They challenge her, they love her, they appreciate her and they are concerned with how she is adapting and growing in middle school.  They encourage her and give her confidence. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

I am buying presents for 11 teachers this year so I have had to reduce the amount per person but I do want to give them something so they know we appreciate their work.

This year I settled on $10 gift cards to the movies for each teacher. This would either get them in alone to a movie or would pay for popcorn and drinks for their family to go. I know it’s not a ton but it is something.

I am also including notes of thanks from me, and am having the kids do the same. Rose is every excited about writing her teachers thank you notes, and the 5-year-old wrote her teacher three notes with Christmas stamps and even threw in some change from her bank. (I can’t wait for the teacher to see the change. It’s so funny but so sincere. That’s what a 5-year-old has to give.)

Will you do anything for your middle school and high school teachers this year? If so, what? What would teachers like? (See the corollary blog on best gifts for teachers.)

45 comments Add your comment

SEE

December 19th, 2012
6:02 am

Well, seeing as I have 5 kids, and 4 of them are in school…I will be giving ornaments. Yes, I include the middle school teachers…so that’s 9 middle school teachers for my 2 oldest and 6 elementary teachers for my 2 youngest (TAG teachers, speech teachers, etc). Needless to say, I don’t have $150 to spend on teachers, nor do I have time to make 15 batches of fudge. You can get a really pretty glass ornament for about $1.50 to $2.00 each. I hate to be “cheap”, but since all their teachers know that my family lives on a teacher’s salary, I’m sure they’ll understand.

HSMathTeacher

December 19th, 2012
6:12 am

As a high school teacher, I don’t ever expect gifts but I do love getting just a card or a thoughtful letter of thanks. Sometimes I do get a small gift and that’s a bonus. :) Gift cards (even $5 to Starbucks or something similar) are always lovely.

Grace Slick

December 19th, 2012
7:41 am

Just keep blowing money…. spend, spend spend in order to show your appreciation… insane.

Voice of Reason

December 19th, 2012
7:54 am

My SIL is a teacher. She says the best thing her students give her during the holidays are gift cards.

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
8:00 am

Once the kids were out of elementary school, I stopped buying gifts for the teachers.

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
8:00 am

Do homeschooler’s get presents for their teachers? LOL….

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
8:00 am

That was directed to our own “Homeschooler”, with love….

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
8:04 am

TWG…a $10 gift card is appreciated. I gave gifts all the way through HS. Gift cards and movie tickets are perfect. You can get 2 movie tickets for $16 at Costco. I got them last night.

We went to an Orchestra Concert for our neighbor’s son a few week ago. I was just telling someone that I volunteered 4-8 hours a month at the check in desk for the school, when my kids were in MS. That was 10 plus years ago. I ran into the front office secretary when my son was in college and daughter in HS. She said, “We miss you and could use you…want to come back?” I have said it MANY times before but teachers appreciate parents who are interested and not overbearing.

@ SEE…I hear what you are saying. This is why we thought about having TWO kids when we did. Sorry, but I am not very patient with people who complain about having so many kids and how expensive they are. After the first one, you figure out how it works. Teachers know this too. Having children is absolutely a choice for each set of parents and their business, for sure ( not mine). Complaining about it, to others, is not attractive IMHO. Just wait until they all start driving and head to college. Been there done that.

We saw a family with four children on our cruise. The entire family dressed for dinner. The boys had on ties and jackets and the girls in nice dresses. The mom was on crutches with a cast on her foot. I was impressed.

I do love ornaments and have some on my tree that I have had for 30 years! What about a pretty book mark? Even chap stick or lip balm would be nice …teachers will need it. A box of tea or cocoa?

FCM

December 19th, 2012
8:19 am

@MJG I don’t see where See complained. She is getting ornaments for the teachers. In fact See mentions they live on a teachers salary.

James2

December 19th, 2012
8:25 am

As the husband of a 2nd grade teacher and being friends with many of my wife’s colleagues I hear a lot about what gifts they like receiving.
~Coffee and/or Starbucks gift cards
~Gift cards

Please No Sweets

Voice of Reason

December 19th, 2012
8:32 am

@James2

Also, nothing that will collect dust or clutter the desk.

Jeff

December 19th, 2012
8:44 am

TWG, honey, this is one of the reasons you have trouble sticking to the Christmas budget. If you had as much guilt over what you were doing to the family budget as you do for thinking you may make some feel slighted, Michael wouldn’t be taking over the gift shopping.

Angela

December 19th, 2012
9:08 am

Good morning, I bought $10 Target gift cards for my children’s teacher. During the Black Friday, Lifeway bookstores had some nice pen & pad sets that I will give to them as well. My kids have good teachers this year as well. And like my mother always say, “It’s the thought that count.” Happy Holidays!!

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
9:21 am

OK…sorry…I probably should not have added complain. I apologize to you SEE.

I just get frustrated when anyone says…we cannot do that as we have ( lots of) children. A personal choice for anyone and none of my business for sure.

On the flip side…anyone who can live on “A” teacher’s salary with 5 kids obviously has very creative skills to manuever finances.

I have frequently heard, ” We had no idea how expensive it would be when our kids got older.”
I often remarked to my husband, at the beginning of the school year: “This is a lot of money to get kids ready to start school and I am happy that we only have two.” To me, it is VERY expensive to have a large family and sometimes you cannot forsee ( sp?) the expense when they are little and adorable.

homeschooler

December 19th, 2012
9:22 am

@ Mayhem I don’t get teacher gifts but I’ve sure saved money over the years not having to buy them. ;-) Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Seriously, I’m in the same boat as Theresa. This is the first year I’ve had a child in real school and it is middle school. 8 teachers and they are all wonderful and deserve something. Headed to Costco now to see if I can find a box of ornaments that I can split up. I can’t do 10 dollars per teacher but I can probably spend about 25 dollars to split between them. Or I might do Starbucks gift cards but that’s still 5 dollars each.

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
9:29 am

@Homeschooler – Merry Christmas to you!!

Michelle

December 19th, 2012
9:40 am

This year, I got small gifts for my kids’ bus drivers (gloves, hat set – $5). My elem kid said the bus driver was so surprised and happy to receive the gift. My HS and MS students are delivering today. However, they thought it was “weird” to give the bus driver a gift, especially in front of their friends. This year, I also gave my elem kids’ other teachers a gift (PE, music, art). He said they just hugged him so hard because they rarely ever get gifts. They may not like the $5 box of Russell Stover chocolates, but they appreciated that someone thought of them. Even if they don’t like the box of chocolates, they can re-gift it and that’s totally fine with me. Sometimes just letting people konw that they are thought of is a good thing whether you buy something or not.

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
9:46 am

@Michelle – we had a discussion in my home recently about giving gifts. One daughter found a great gift for her BFF, and bought it black friday. BFF told my daughter’s boyfriend what she had bought for her. Boyfriend told my daughter, you need to get BFF another present to even it out.

I told my daughter, No you don’t. You don’t need to feel pressure to “even out” the gifts. The gift you chose, came from the heart. You saw something that reminded you of your BFF, and you chose to purchase that gift. BFF LOVES that you thought enough of her to look at that and think of her.

That’s what the true spirit of this season is……gifting from the heart.

My family knows I love all gifts, that someone thought about me while shopping.

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
9:55 am

@ Mayhem, I am with you on this. I would rather have a $5 bookmark with a ladybug on it ( since I love ladybugs) than a $20 gas card, purchased in haste….to even things out. I treasure my Santa collection, as I have over 50 Santas and they were selected for me. Each one is funny and different. Some are expensive and some are not.

We got our gift box of food from my Dad. Anyone need a Fruitcake or English Muffins? LOL.

Teacher's Wife

December 19th, 2012
10:06 am

The best thing you can give a teacher? Your child sincerely thanking the teacher and expressing their appreciation. It does more than a dollar store knick knack or a gift card. (Seriously, he appreciates the “little gifts”, but all those mugs (and a salt and pepper shaker set and a cookie cutter set this year) end up at Goodwill and I end up tossing the candy around February because he never got to eating it. Save your money or better yet, donate to a charity in your teacher’s honor.)

RJ

December 19th, 2012
10:12 am

I give to all teachers from elementary to high school. As a teacher, I fully understand how tough of a job it is to educate children. I know that 99% of teachers go into their pockets to buy things for their classroom. Not many professions expect you to spend your own money to do your job, yet teachers do it every day. I usually give middle and high school teachers $5 gift cards to Subway since it’s right by the schools. Every teacher gets a gift from me if they work with my child. At my school, students don’t give a lot of gifts. As a music teacher I may get one or two gifts, but the homeroom teachers don’t get much more than that. The students expect us to give them gifts. It doesn’t bother me because I know it’s the culture of this community. I’m just always amazed at the teachers that complain about getting ornaments, mugs or anything else. Really?

Michelle

December 19th, 2012
10:14 am

@Mayhem. Good response to your daughter!! It really is the thought that counts!! That is a good lesson to learn early rather than doing like many and borrowing/running up credit cards to get gifts. The commercialism and materialism are overboard and at some point we have to put our foot down. Thanksgiving will soon be a thing of the past with all of the Black Friday sales starting earlier and earlier.

Ashley

December 19th, 2012
10:17 am

No ornaments please. Cards or Gift Cards. Some place the teacher can shop for the classroom would be cool. i.e. Target, Walmart

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
10:18 am

RJ…the culture of ( this) the community is an interesting thing…isn’t it? I learn new things all the time, as I travel. We all get stuck in a rut with what we expect, due to our area. I do think a $5 gift card is perfect and really easy as you can just pick them all up at the same place!

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
10:20 am

@ Ashley…I loved ornaments card and gift cards…taught for 15 years, in the classroom.

MomsRule

December 19th, 2012
11:12 am

I stopped buying gifts for all of the teachers a few years back as a result of reading all the negative comments on this blog from teachers and their spouses about what they are “sick” of receiving. No more ornaments, no more mugs, no more this, no more that… whatever happened to simply being pleased someone thought of you?

We have selected one gift for one of my son’s teachers. He is a high school junior and this particular teacher is simply wonderful and her influence will have a lasting impact on him.

Misty

December 19th, 2012
11:42 am

@ homeschooler: so homeschool is a fake school? I think you meant to use the term ‘public.’ Y’all should bake a couple dozen cookies or a treat with your children and divide among the teachers.

kimmer

December 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

Maybe I’m just too pragmatic but if you are going to give someone a gift card then just give em cash! They can spend it wherever they want and you never have to worry about expiration or going out of business!

kimmer

December 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

Also, movie tickets does not seem like a good idea to me. Keep in mind there are people who do not go to movies due to moral or religious convictions. Kind of like giving alcohol as a gift. Plus, who wants to go alone? Now to redeem their ‘gift’ they are spending money for family members to accompany.

teacher

December 19th, 2012
12:09 pm

I love getting gift cards however the biggest reward is a sincere appreciation for the extra hours above and beyond that I pour into seeing that students succeed. So many times the appreciation does not get expressed and I mainly hear from the parents when it is time to blame someone if they child doesn’t succeed. A simple “thank you” goes a long way.

Denise

December 19th, 2012
12:09 pm

@MomsRule….I’m feeling a little bit like you. I never gave gifts to teachers when I was in school. Never knew anyone who did. But what I’m feeling funny about is the “no more this and that”. Now, I always believe that it is the thought that counts BUT I also believe that a gift should be meaningful to the recipient. How do you do that with a teacher you do not know? I don’t think you should ever break the bank trying to give gifts (to anyone) but giving someone something cheap (not inexpensive…CHEAP) doesn’t exactly convey how much you think of them. I would be more excited about a gas card than Starbucks (I don’t drink coffee but I could get tea I guess). My mother likes to make pralines and I am trying to lose weight so I don’t really want her to make me any but that is how she shows love…cooking!…so I just take the candy and share it. I say all that to say, be mindful of who you are giving to and what they may like but when you receive a gift be happy that the giver thought of you at all. We are in a time when people are so self-centered that if someone gives you any kind of thought we should be grateful and show appreciation.

missnadine

December 19th, 2012
1:23 pm

Pier 1 always has their ornaments and other gifts on a super discount about week before Christmas. They have beautiful ornaments as well, and I think much nicer than a gift card for a movie, especially since $10 at a movie pays for so little. A gas card is good too, as are scratch off lottery tickets. NO HOMEMADE FOOD. It is obvious that almost all of it gets thrown out!

@MJG – that was uncalled for. SEE was not complaining, just stating a fact. Who are YOU to tell her how smart you were by only having 2 kids. I would imagine that SEE gets asked all the time to donate, contribute, etc, and probably also has kids who want what their friends have, while the friends are in smaller families and/or with parents that make more than teachers.

Jessica

December 19th, 2012
1:24 pm

I’m not an expert on teacher gifts (my kids are homeschooled), but what about cute personalized office supplies, like sticky notes, pens, or pencils? These seem like things teachers would actually use, and they are not very expensive.

PHR

December 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

As the wife of a middle school teacher I can tell you that the gifts my husbands received are wonderful. They are very thoughtful and appreciated. He is diabetic and some of the kids brought him sugar free candy last year. This year he got a personalized t-shirt from one student about how he was a teaching superhero. Very clever!

Mayhem

December 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

How about gift cards to stores like ABC School Supply? Teachers can go get supplies they need for the classroom.

catlady

December 19th, 2012
3:27 pm

I taught middle school sped for a while, and taught middle school aged kids at a small rural school (k-7). Best gifts were notes from the parents and PICKING THE KID UP EARLY THE LAST DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS, SPRING BREAK, AND THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

One of my students said to me last week, “You know, being in your class is kind of like being in that class with the Magic School Bus teacher.” I will treasure that for a long time!

catlady

December 19th, 2012
3:35 pm

I always gave small gifts and a note, for all 3, all the way through school. Many of the H.Sl teachers were surprised! It was important to send a bow in their direction for the effort they spent with mine.

My daughter gets gift cards from her parents–amazing! I work at a school that serves 75% free lunch. Some of the grade-level teachers are given small gifts, but not too many. I work with the most-behind students now, and virtually never get any gift from a student, but I tell them their attention and effort are the best gift for me and them!

xxx

December 19th, 2012
3:42 pm

All teachers already get a gift, 2 weeks off.

ssidawg

December 19th, 2012
4:45 pm

My son is 3 and goes to pre-school. I gave $10 gift cards to Chick-Fil-A and a note of appreciation for the wonderful job they do with him. My sister is a middle school teacher and I’m always amazed at the gifts she gets from her students. They really do mean a lot to her.

Tiffany

December 19th, 2012
5:37 pm

We have always given gifts to all of the teachers throughout the years. Sometimes it takes some creativity, but I feel very strongly that whatever you can do to show appreciation to a teacher you should do it. My daughter is in middle school and she took her presents for the teachers in today. We are truly blessed that she has had some of the finest teachers ever at her middle school. Also, don’t forget the high school teachers…if anybody needs a gift…they do!

catlady

December 19th, 2012
7:12 pm

When I was a “regular teacher”, especially the years in kindergarten and first grade (18 I think) I loved getting the ornaments, the crocheted dish towels, the talcum powder, the cookies. It was all good to me. Until last year, when I gave up putting up a tree, I faithfully put those ornaments on the tree, and thought again about those who gave them to me. Many of the givers ended up being teachers–about 25 that I know of–and I teach with a half dozen of them at my school. Now THAT is a gift! In fact, I am teaching several “grand students” this year (and I taught their parents when they were five years old)!

catlady

December 19th, 2012
7:13 pm

I am watching a couple of “great grand students” coming along, and I might make it long enough to teach them! Goodness gracious! (We have babies early and often around here.)

FCM on my cell

December 19th, 2012
10:40 pm

@MissNadine…MJG had already apologized to See before you chimed in. That makes your diatribe at MJG just petty & rude.

I love the MS teachers but I will do at end of year. Usually g/c to Home Depot.

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
10:41 pm

@missnadine…never considered myself smart for having two kids. Just logical. I once heard someone say, “have as many kids as you have hands to hold them.” I thought that was good advice.

I am often a BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND kind of person and thus I tend to look at the long range picture. I have always had friends of all ages ( earlier with older kids) and knew it would be quite expensive for us to have more than two. Since we basically got no help physically or financially from either set of grandparents, we knew we would have to pull it off ourselves. We are hopefully on the home stretch.

Do you have kids of your own? If so, you do know how expensive things can get. If not, then you probably have no idea. The older they get, the more they cost. We have been lucky, as we enjoy our kids and feel the investment was quite worth it.

@ Denise…I have a VERY ugly brass vase that a student gave me over 25 years ago. I use it for a prop telling a story about a Genie. It is perfect. You can get creative with gifts! Reading this blog, you learn that there are lots of opinions about what makes the perfect gift. Everyone is different, that is for sure!

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2012
10:45 pm

@ FCM…I think it is better if the gifts are spread out and a note now and gift later would be perfect. Good thinking!