So it's the end of the school year and for the 2nd time I'm faced with the decision about giving teacher gifts. I realize that this is probably not a decision that everyone feels "faced with"... it's a strange topic for me.
I think it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher. I am quite positive that I don't have what it takes to manage and care for 18 five year olds on a daily basis. But I also think it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, a mail carrier, a call center rep, a salesman, or even a business analyst.
We all get to choose our professions and yes some professions are more "personal" than others (my girls' teachers have taken care of 2 of the most preciouse people in my life after all) but that doesn't make the less personal jobs... well less. We all have the same opportunity to find satisfaction and fullfillment in doing our jobs well. For a teacher, maybe it's conveying a lesson in just the right way so that it makes sense to a 5 year old and not showing how frustrated they feel about telling the same child 35 times to raise their hand before they talk. For me, a business anaylst, it's writing air tight requirements, building rapport with my team, and staying on task so that my projects finish on time.
All of that to say, I don't feel obligated to give teacher gifts. However, I appreciate the fact that my girls' teachers take their job seriously and I hope they find some personal fullfillment in it as well. I'm glad that they chose to be teachers, for whatever reason that may be. I am happy to take an opportunity to encourage/recognize someone who is good at their job especially when my family is better because of it. I don't think a bottle of wine or a gift card to the mall really conveys that...
I've finally figured out a gift that I am happy (not obligated) to give... a gift that is a good fit for a person who has chosen a profession in which they give to others, the most helpless of all of us in fact, children. TisBest.org is a website where you can give a charity gift card in virtually any denomination. The recipient can choose from over 250 charities to allocate the funds to. You can even upload a picture or scanned image (like I did with Liv's lovely artwork below) to be printed on the gift card. Or, if you're like me and struggled with just the right gift until the last possible minute, you can print the gift card yourself instead of having a plastic one made. This gift card + a heartfelt note = no more "issues" with teacher gifts for me!