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Interview: A Teacher's Thoughts on Teacher Appreciation Gifts

"Everyone wants to be appreciated,
so if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret."
Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001), American founder of Mary Kay Inc

Struggling with what to give to your teacher at end of year, Christmas, or on teacher appreciation day? Well, why not ask a teacher!
Here, grade school teacher Melissa shares her thoughts on teacher appreciation and thank you gifts, what she has received and when - and reveals the all-time favorite gift that she has received.

Thank You Diva:
Melissa, thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us about teacher gifts. Do you receive many teacher appreciation gifts from your students/pupils?

Melissa:
Yes I do! I receive a lot of gifts, and I have to say - it's lovely!

Thank You Diva:
Is there a particular time of year when you receive gifts?

Melissa:
I'm lucky enough to receive gifts throughout the year, but the trickle becomes a deluge when school breaks up for summer (and students move on to the next class) and also at Christmas. I do receive some gifts at Easter too.

Thank You Diva:
What kinds of gifts do you receive? Can you give us some examples?

Melissa:
I've received all kinds of things (my kids are so creative!), but gifts that come immediately to mind are chocolates, candles, notebooks, pens and jewelry. Also plants and flowers, calendars and fridge magnets - which I collect. I also receive lots of wonderful homemade gifts, such as cakes, decorated biscuits, crafts and jewelry. And my students know I love poetry, so they often give me poetry books.

Thank You Diva:
Can you estimate an average value of the gifts?

Melissa:
I really want to point out here that the value of a gift isn't important to me. It truly is 'the thought that counts'. However, I understand that it may be useful to give a monetary figure, so I can say that most students spend between $5 and $15. But I love the gifts that they made for free just the same - if not more - than the pricier items (those are nice too, of course!).


Thank You Diva:
How does receiving gifts from your students make you feel? Do you think it is generally a positive thing?

Melissa:
I so appreciate the thought that goes into the gifts. It means such a lot to me! Yes, I think the gift giving is positive. My students want to give me gifts! And of course I do always stress that they are not necessary at all, and that everyone is an unexpected treat for me.

Thank You Diva:
Can you tell us what kinds of gifts you particularly like and value?

Melissa:
I appreciate every gift that is given to me, but best of all are the homemade ones and the gifts where the children have really considered my taste (e.g. in poetry, jewelry etc.).

Thank You Diva:
Are there gifts that you would prefer not to receive? Have you ever been given a gift that you have disliked?

Melissa:
Really, how can I dislike a gift that a child/parent has chosen to give me! However, to be completely truthful, I would prefer not to receive wine or other alcohol because I don't drink! Of course I pass it on to friends and relatives who appreciate it, but I feel sorry that I can't fully appreciate it myself.

Thank You Diva:
Have you ever felt uncomfortable about a teacher gift that you have received (and if yes, why / in what way?)

Melissa:
No, I've never really felt uncomfortable. As I've said, the children have put thought and affection into whatever they give me, and that's always awesome. The one time I can think of when I felt a bit surprised was when I was given a silky camisole and shorts set (the kind that is underwear and wouldn't generally be seen) which felt a bit weird when I opened it. But then the little girl who gave it to me explained how pretty she thought it was, and I understood that she wanted me to have something 'that a princess would wear', which was lovely!

Thank You Diva:
Finally, please can you tell us what is the very best thank you / teacher appreciation gift that you have received in your teaching career?

Melissa:
Well, I've been teaching for a long time (over a decade) so that's a hard thing to say. But I guess it's a 'Memory Book' of messages, comments, poetry and photos made by a whole class of students working together. I treasure it dearly.

Thank You Diva:
Thank you very much Melissa, for your insights and frankness. They're sure to be a great help to our readers.



More about Thanking Teachers:


100 Teacher Thank You Gift Ideas:


Writing Teacher Thank You Letters, Notes & Cards:






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