Monday, 30 November 2015

School Days - Gift Giving for Teachers & People who care for our children

It's that time of year when we try to show appreciation to various people in our lives.  When it comes to gifts for the people who look after our children it can be a tricky area.  What do you give, if anything?  Do you give something a little extra special to a teacher when you know when your child has been "that kid" you're sure all of the teacher's friends hear stories about over Friday night drinks?  Before you go out in search of another "World's Greatest Teacher" mug I thought it would be a good idea to get the lowdown on these gifts directly from the source.

I reached out to my social network of caregivers including: Teachers (both elementary and secondary school), Early Childhood Educators, Nannies, Babysitters and Special Education Workers to find out more about the good, the bad and the ugly about gifts they've received over their careers and thought I'd share...

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Holiday Gifts for Teachers and Caregivers Survey

What aged children do you work with?
I had people respond to this survey who work with children aged infant to adult students in their 60s.

How often do you receive holiday or year-end gifts from your students/clients?
The trend here was that the younger the client/student the more likely they were to receive a gift.  ECE workers, nannies and primary school educators receive gifts a lot more frequently than secondary school teachers and those who primarily work with adults.

"I'd say almost all of them give Christmas gifts and about half year-end gifts." said SB, primary school teacher."

What is the most common gift you receive?
The most common items included: chocolate, gift cards, bath products, candles, ornaments, beer, wine, picture frames, mugs, knickknacks and, not to be forgotten, world's greatest teacher swag.

Do you have a collection or do you keep more common items?
"I consume it all!  I share with my family over the holidays!" said UJ.

"I haven't kept all of the knickknacks, because you just can't, but I've appreciated all of them.  I used to need a whole box to cart all of the gifts home when I was teaching grade 7.  I went through a lot of Thank You cards." said MP, middle school/high school teacher.

What is the strangest/funniest gift you've ever received?
"A pair of used earrings.  To this day I still think the little girl packed up her mom's old rusted earrings, without asking her, and gave them to me, she was SOOO excited to give them to me." said SB.

"I once received a dead flower and a feather from a very sweet four year old boy I looked after.  He was very earnest when he gave them to me." said Stretch for Something Beautiful, nanny/babysitter.

"A giant faux crystal cross, about the size of a large light bulb.  Seven years later I've never worn it, but I still have it." said UJ

What is the most meaningful gift you've ever received from a student/client?
The short answer here is something that truly comes from the heart.  Photos, thank you cards, home made baked goods/treats and genuine messaging seems to be the key.

"A letter. A seven year old student wrote me the most heartfelt letter.  She wrote about how thankful she was that I helped her become a better reader and writer.  She shared her most memorable moments of grade one, including the first day of school when she couldn't believe I was going to be her teacher." said SB.

"Any card or picture that the child worked really hard on." says AL.

"A letter or photo from a student long after they've left your care.  It is so nice to be remembered." said UJ.

Coming up next...when caregivers and teachers had to refuse a gift, the aftermath, and what's really on their wish lists!

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