As a new member of the “mommy blogosphere,” I’ve seen a lot of chatter about what teachers may like as a “back to school” gift.
The threads go something like this:
“Anyone have any ideas about what would be a good “back to school” gift for Johnny/Susie’s teacher?
-Last year, I made cookies!
-chocolate chip! She loved them!”
Just this morning, I noticed a thread in one of my blogging groups about a roundup for possible teacher gifts. One was an “in case of emergency” Hershey chocolate bar; another was fudge that brings “all the boys to the yard;” another listed a recipe for brownies in a jar; yet another listed s’more pops. Notice the theme here? If it has sugar, butter, and cocoa powder, that teacher is sure to love you forever!
I love your ideas, mommy bloggers. Your creativity is truly “Pinterest worthy.” I understand that we all have to come up with new ideas to photograph and carefully craft a post. I’m not hating on your calorie-packed sugary snacks. I’ll be honest, I’d probably sample every single one of your baked goodness recipes.
I am trying to find a way to put this delicately. Ehem. It is well known and widely accepted that teachers are underpaid and under-appreciated, so any gesture of thoughtfulness is appreciated. As tact is eluding me this gray Georgia morning, I must admit candidly; however, that teachers don’t want your baked goods.
Every single holiday, teachers get bombarded with thousands upon thousands of calories that sit idly on their desk until one of three things happen:
- 1. Said teacher begins a grading spree, aided by three days worth of caloric intake thanks to your peanut butter chocolate bon-bons. At the end of said grading spree, the teacher looks at the empty saran wrap with absolute disgust, knowing that she just ate her body weight in crap. ‘There goes my holiday diet plans,’ she’ll admit. Then, as the sugar rush continues and she rifles through stacks of ninth grade papers, she’ll start getting slap-happy. She’ll start drawing intricate smiley faces that somehow resemble the likeness of each student that she is grading. Her feedback will get manic: YOU ARE BY FAR THE BEST WRITER I HAVE EVER GOTTEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH!!!!! REALLY!!!!!:0) :-*
I’M ABSOLUTELY NOT SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE HERE.
Sorry, CAPS lock.
- 2. Said teacher will smile to the faces of her sweet students and describe how much we LOVE sugar and calories. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU KNEW HOW MUCH I LOVE BUTTER!” Then, when the bell rings, that teacher looks around her room: in cabinets and under desks, to make sure no one sees where she keeps her secret filing cabinet, and stashes the goods in there. All the while, she believes there is an angel who lost his wings and will punish her for throwing away the gifts of her student.
- 3. Said teacher will go into super stealth mode (peeking up and down the hallway to make sure no one sees her leaving her classroom), tiptoeing to the teacher’s lounge to spread the “manic grading” love. All the while, we feel supremely guilty, but relieved at the same time. Now we won’t be tempted to totally blow our somewhat healthy diet or the few miles we have planned to walk or run after school.
It’s not that we don’t love you and your thoughtfulness. Quite the opposite, actually. We love you and your students. We are so incredibly thankful that you thought of us. I can speak for many teachers when I say, I ALWAYS feel awful when I have to throw away baked goods. I cannot, however, possibly consume 70,000 calories of sweetness. That’s a rough estimate, but you get the idea.
Instead of baked goods that lead to manic grading episodes and supreme self-loathing, consider items that teachers will use in their classroom. Often times, you can get these things for very little money, and the teacher will definitely love you forever. These items may not be “Pinterest worthy,” but I seriously remember every single student/parent who thought outside the oven and inside the classroom. Try getting any one of these things for your teacher as a back to school gift:
1. Ream of paper
2. Lysol Wipes
3. Hand Sanitizer
4. Printer ink/laser toner (ask teacher if they have a printer in their room/what type)
5. Colored pencils/markers/sharpies
6. Expo markers
7. College Ruled notebook paper
8. Pens (ask a teacher if she has a preference…these are still my favorite gifts!)
10. 3M strips for hanging posters/pictures
11. Personalized stationery
12. Post-it notes
13. Mechanical pencils
15. Flash drives
16. Wal-Mart/Target/Office Max/Office Depot/Staples/Fed-Ex Kinkos/Container store gift cards
17. Dust buster (sounds odd, but I would have loved to have one in my classroom)
When in doubt, ask what the teacher needs. He/She will tell you, and most of the time the teacher won’t ask for baked goods.