According to a survey of over 300 teachers, many parents deserve an 'F' in holiday gift giving.
The poll, conducted by former elementary school teacher Emily Robinson and posted on the website ChristmasGiftsforTeachers.com, reveals the discrepancy between the practical or personal gifts most desired by teachers, and the ornamental trinkets commonly marketed by gift shops as suitable gifts for teachers.
Many parents struggle to know what is appropriate regarding end-of-year holiday presents for their childrens' teachers, a question that is complicated not only by individual tastes, but also variations in school policy and laws limiting gifts to government employees, including public school teachers. At the same time, many teachers lament accumulating dozens of coffee mugs and apple tchotchkes while their classrooms lack basic supplies. To address this issue, Robinson surveyed over 300 teachers from a variety of grade levels on which holiday gifts they most appreciated, which they would rather not receive, and what they feel is an appropriate amount for parents to spend on a gift.
The results reveal that many common teacher gifts may not be so ideal. Coffee mugs, ornaments, candles, and lotion topped the list of gifts that most teachers would prefer not to receive this year. Instead, practicality with a personal touch seemed to be the recipe for a gift that teachers would treasure for years to come. Gift cards, books, and classroom supplies were among the gifts most requested by teachers, while many mentioned that simple but heartfelt thank you notes made the most lasting impression.
"In all my years teaching, the best gifts I ever received were notes from parents thanking me personally for my work with their children," said one Washington teacher.
"Teachers often have to pay for supplies out of their own pockets, so a gift certificate to an office supply store is always welcome," wrote another survey respondent.
While most parents are more generous than teachers expect them to be, data also reveal that for teachers, it is not how much students or parents spend that matters most, but the thoughtfulness behind it. According to Robinson, parents are too often influenced by stores pushing classroom-themed gift items, and forget that teachers are normal people with a life outside of their occupation. Echoing this sentiment, one teacher wrote: "'Apple' themed gifts should be outlawed! Oh sure, there are a few teachers (and I do mean "few") who enjoy the stereotypical apple/teacher ornament, but the majority of us would rather pass. Our homes are not decked out in apple motifs, and neither are our classrooms. This is one cliche that has outlived whatever usefulness it once had."
ChristmasGiftsForTeachers.com is a website dedicated to providing gift ideas for teachers, with information on their preferences and opinions, as well as guidance regarding school policies and laws concerning teacher gift giving. It also provides a number of practical gift ideas for teachers organized according to recipient, such as new teachers, female and male teachers, and Sunday school teachers. Gifts for all budgets and tastes are included, as well as instructions for handmade craft projects and other personalized gift ideas.
With Christmas 2012 yet a few weeks away, ChristmasGiftsforTeachers.com is inviting teachers and parents to participate in the poll to uncover the most wished-for gifts among teachers. This way, parents and students can present their beloved instructors with something that they will truly appreciate, while still staying within the constraints of their budget and school policies.
To learn more about appropriate Christmas gift ideas for teachers, please visit http://christmasgiftsforteachers.com/ for information.