Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding the Perfect Gift for Teachers

Most people want to bless their children’s teachers during the holiday season, but it is tough to know what to get them.  Trust me!  They get lots of “Best Teacher” items, candles, body washes, and knickknacks.  Of course, they are grateful for all gifts. 

As a classroom teacher, I appreciated when my parents bought items for my classroom.  My first year of teaching, I had the best class parents.  In addition to the regular gifts from the children, I received a huge basket of paper, books, games, and other supplies.  What a blessing! 

If you want to have a gift that will be used and kept for the long term, invest in books!   You can even put your child or family’s name in it as a remembrance.  Chances are the teacher will have it years later, so your generous gift will still be remembered. 

Preschool and Elementary Teachers
By in large, preschool and elementary teachers LOVE picture books!  Buying one (or two) is not costly, but most teachers have lists of books they use for their class.  They cannot possibility afford them all.  Libraries are excellent resources, but the books are not always available when they need them. 
1.     Ask teachers for a list of books they want.  Chances are high that they will have a list already made at Amazon.com or BN.com. 
2.    If you want to surprise them, do some detective work.  The school librarian probably knows what books they check out or love.  Other teachers may also be able to help.  Your child might even know!
3.    You cannot lose by purchasing holiday books.  Libraries only carry a limited number of copies holiday books like Polar Express or Bear Stays Up for Christmas.  If it is not already in the teacher’s personal library, she would love to have it.  This blog will give you lots of suggestions to help you out.  Check out my lists for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween
4.    Teachers also love the award winning books and authors.  Check out the Caldecott and Newbery winning books.  Other favorite authors are Karma Wilson (especially the Bear series), Chris Van Allsburg, Rosemary Wells, and Jan Brett.
5.    Stay away from books based on TV shows or movies.  These are not generally quality literature. 
6.    If you are the room mom or know her, organized other parents to buy from the teacher’s list. 

Middle and High School Teachers
Most English teachers love good chapter books of the classics or Newbery winners for class or personal usage.  They probably have favorite authors they also enjoy reading for fun. 

For other subject area teachers, they probably will enjoy books in their area of expertise or leisure reading titles.  Definitely ask them for a list or just buy a gift card for a local book store. 

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