Are you planning on giving gifts to your children’s teachers, now that the school year is coming to an end? Maybe a home-made gift, a box of chocolates or bottle of wine to say thanks? Or perhaps clubbing together with other parents to buy a voucher for a department store or spa day?
Most teachers I know say that they would never expect an end-of-term gift – but most parents agree that teaching staff deserve a little something for the wonderful job they do in teaching our children day in day out, with many teachers going above and beyond in their duties.
The lovely people at St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff challenged me to find out which gifts have been extra special for teachers, to tie in with their limited edition Thank You Teacher gift cards. These are now available to purchase online or at the customer information desk in the shopping centre and can be used in more than 150 shops at the centre.
All the teachers I spoke to say that they appreciate everything given to them. It really is the thought that counts. But sometimes, just sometimes, a teacher is given a gift which brings a tear to their eye or which is still being used many years later. Here, 16 teachers reveal some of the most memorable end-of-year presents they’ve received.
“I’m a secondary teacher and we rarely get gifts. The nicest things are the cards with genuine sentiments in thanking us for helping them gain GCSEs, A-levels and places at university. I have kept all of mine and stick them on the classroom wall.” – Mrs C
“I’ve had many gifts over the years, mostly being wine, chocolate and flowers. My absolute favourite gifts however have been personalised gifts that a very talented mum has made, ranging from fridge magnets to little handmade plaques, all of which have included my name, Miss J, so I’ll treasure them forever.” – Miss J
“The most precious present I was given was a photobook that the whole class had worked on without me knowing. They each wrote a sentence about their favourite memory of the year and a drawing of themselves. A parent scanned all the images and added photographs taken throughout the year. They used Blurb to make it into a hardback book. The children also got their own copies.” – Emma of http://adventuresofadam.co.uk
“I once received a battered box of chocolates that still had the 79p sticker on. They were from a boy with major anger issues that I’d worked really closely with all year. I loved them! I also once received a paper weight in the shape of a heart that a pupil’s dad made for me. That was really thoughtful and still in my desk at work.” – Mrs J
“A pair of mini wooden clogs from a pupil who went to study in Holland. They sit on my desk to remind me the pupils I teach travel far and wide ( I teach languages). On the whole though, it’s the cards that mean more than anything else. A genuine thank you from a child is always lovely too.” – Mrs P
“One student sang me a song this year. Best present ever! The student knew I liked the song but it was actually the one my wife and I danced to at our wedding.” – Mr T
“A boy I did one-to-one with offered me some toiletries that I knew he had shoplifted. I explained why I couldn’t take them and the next day he gave me a wooden bird feeder he had made in his woodwork class. My eyes leaked a bit then!” – Emma of www.emmaand3.com
“I never expect gifts. I know as a parent myself how expensive it can get. I like homemade gifts like cookie mix in a jar. Alcohol also goes down well. I’ve had vouchers before for Next and John Lewis. Personally I would love a Starbucks one! I’ve kept some cards that kids have made for me over the years and a letter from a mum that said how much I had helped her little boy, the personal stuff like that always makes me cry! – Eilidh of www.mummyandmonkeys.com
“The best gifts I’ve had are things that I can actually use. My favourite thing is a lovely scarf that I still wear all the time and think of the child who gave it to me two years ago. My husband is a teacher too and my favourite gift he was given is a wooden bowl that a boy had made with his dad. It’s been our fruit bowl for three years – Mrs W
“I really like homemade cards – although my favourite was an engraved apple shaped keyring from a little one who had had a tough time, that she had chosen herself. I actually quite like vouchers – I usually get John Lewis ones and use them to add to my Cath Kidston tea set!” – Midge of thepeachicksbakery.co.uk
“For me, it was the handmade gifts that meant the most. Vouchers would have been lovely but I worked in a school with many vulnerable children and so just to know they had put in the effort to make me something meant the world to me. One little boy brought me one of his shells from his collection and I still have it on my dressing table to this day. For him to have given something of his own was just so lovely and it made me cry.” – Katy of www.whatkatysaid.com
“I am going to be really clichéd and say I absolutely loved anything I was given. The fact that the child and the parent thought to go out and spend some money on me, whether it was 50p or £20, meant a lot to me. Stationery and wine were always my personal favourites though. I didn’t ever have vouchers as an end of term gift, but all the parents in my class clubbed together to buy me a rather large Mamas and Papas voucher when I left to go on maternity leave with my eldest, and that was amazing. I have no problem with vouchers, but I would worry that perhaps some parents who may be struggling financially felt like they had to put in to keep up with the rest of the parents, if you see what I mean? But it was lovely!” – Rachel of www.coffeecakekids.com
“Handmade gifts I love, especially when you can tell the child actually did it! I have had vouchers before. One in particular I ended up buying things for my new home, which is nice as I have still got them now.” – Jessica of www.beautiesandthebibs.co.uk
“My favourite ones have been the ones with meaning behind them – one group bought me a cuddly chimpanzee as I had shown them a chimpanzee riding on a segway when we were learning about animal behaviour. I love all the personal messages in cards etc too.” – Ms W
“My favourite gift was from my very first form (I had them for four years until they left). One of the girls had organised for them all to sign a plate with little messages, so thoughtful and a real surprise. Wine is always good too. – Ms N
“I love anything a bit sentimental, hand-made is always good. I still use a little key ring that’s engraved with ‘Thank you Miss Niki’ that I was given years ago, and it always reminds me of that class.” – Niki of www.playlearneveryday.com
Are you a teacher who has received a meaningful gift from pupils or parents? If you’re a parent, do you give gifts to teachers, and if so what? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy