Tomorrow afternoon, students all over the country will be heading home for Christmas break. This week teachers are madly wrapping up lessons and dealing with squirrely children, who are anxious for school to let out. Which leads to the question…what are parents doing for teacher gifts this year?

And for the first time in six years, I don’t have to think about teacher gifts, because I am the teacher! But in past years, this was an issue I always struggled with. First, there’s the question of whether to get a gift for the teacher at all. And then, if you do get a gift, who gets gifts? The teacher, of course. But what about aides? Speech therapists? Bus drivers?

In the past, I’ve done everything from “only the teacher gets a gift” to “everyone gets a gift” to “my kid will make a card, because we can’t afford gifts.” And really, I think all of those approaches are acceptable. I think most teachers wouldn’t want parents to stress themselves financially by getting gifts. A card from the student or a note of appreciation speaks volumes.

I believe the most important issue isn’t whether or not a teacher receives a Christmas gift from each parent. The important issue is that teachers feel supported and appreciated for the difficult and important jobs they do. So whether or not you get your child’s teacher a gift this year, please take the time to say “Thank you” when you have the chance.

So what’s your opinion? Are teacher gifts necessary? What do you do for your children’s teachers? I’d love to hear the teachers’ perspectives, too!

Photo by ajari.