Monday, June 3, 2013

Gifts to Buy or Make for a Male Teacher

My middle child is a spirited one. And as well as he did in kindergarten with two, lovely ladies, I felt that he needed a male teacher to reign him in. Lucky me, the only other male teacher left in the school was a 1st grade teacher. So I made petition to get No. 2 into that class, and HE MADE IT IN

No. 2 had a wonderful year with lots of growing and learning on all our parts. Then Christmas came along...and then Teacher Appreciation Week...and, finally, End of the Year. Those are all typical times students bring in gifts to their teachers showing them the love and appreciation they so much deserve. 

The problem is when you have a male teacher, getting a gift card to Target or buying a potted plant may not necessarily be something a male teacher would want. And not all male teachers are in to gardening or tools, either. 

So if you have been or are going to be in the same boat that I was in the past year, let me share a few things I did for No. 2's teacher this year. 

First thing, find out what the teacher likes

One thing I really love to do at the beginning of each year is have the teachers, male or female, fill out a little survey. I give this at the end of the first week with a "You Made It Through the First Week" care package {complete with sticky notes, pens, tissues, tylenol, glue sticks, tape, and a small gift card to Starbucks or Sonics}. I use this information all year long for ideas on gifts for the teachers. And, if I happen to have the emails or contact information of the other parents in the class, I share that information with them as well. 

This is one of my favorites to use for teachers. Find it HERE
For the male teacher, I actually gave him a longer list, since I was sure I was going to need more information to pull from through the year. Here are the questions I sent him. I used the survey above to get me started on this list. It's not in any cute format, but you get the gist. 

When is your birthday? 
Where do you like to get a quick lunch? 
What is your favorite restaurant? 
Where are your favorite shopping spots? 
What is your favorite soda? 
What is your favorite candy? 
What is your favorite color? 
What is your favorite place to get a gift card from? 
What is your favorite meal? 
What is your favorite Starbucks, DD, or hot drink? 
What is your favorite sport and team? 
What is your favorite music? 
Who is your favorite musician? 
What is your favorite scent?
Do you collect anything? 
Name one place you would like to visit. 
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 
What is your favorite type of book? 
Who is your favorite author? 
What are your hobbies? 
If you could choose 3 gifts at or under $25 each, what would they be?

Second, Share with Others and Enlist Help 

At this point, you should have a decent amount of information to choose from. I would recommend smaller gifts for holidays such as Christmas and Valentines, and larger gifts for Teacher Appreciation and End of the Year. For the larger gifts, join in with a couple of parents. OR, if you have access to all/most of the parents' emails in the class, share the list above and make a large gift basket {or bag or bucket or cooler} for your teacher. This does two things: 

1. Helps cut down the cost for YOU on getting a large gift for the teacher
2. Can make everyone in the class feel like they can contribute to a gift. 

As a former teacher, I know that there are so many students that can't afford to buy cute little gifts for the teachers. I normally ask if parents can send in 1.00 to go to a gift from the class. If you have 30 kids, you can get all kinds of things to fill up a bag for the teacher. 

Third, Choose When You Want to Give a Large/Small Gift 

During the school year, there are quite a few times when your child may want to bring a gift for his/her teacher. It is important for you to know ahead of time when you are going to give a gift. I like to check out the survey at the beginning of the year and start planning immediately so we can budget AND so I don't have duplicates. It can get expensive if you get a large gift for each event during the year. Here are some days you may want to give a gift to a teacher: 

1. The first day of school
2. Christmas
3. The 100th day of school
4.Valentine's Day
5. Teacher Appreciation Week
6. End of the Year

Gift Ideas for Male Teachers

Here are some of gifts I got for my son's teacher this year and some ideas that I picked up from other parents along the way: 

  1. Classroom Supplies
  2. Basic supplies for teacher-use only {sticky notes, bathroom passes, etc}
  3. Books, books, books {OR a gift card to a bookstore}. If your teacher sends home those Scholastic book order forms, see if your teacher is registered on the Scholastic website. You can actually buy books for teachers there as well. If he makes a wish list, you can actually purchase books, many times at a discounted rate, any time of the year. 
  4. Snacks. 
    1. Teachers need snacks through the day. For my son's teacher, I gave "manly" snacks, such as beef jerky or cans of nuts {check for allergies first}. 
    2. Many times teachers may have snacks for students who forget to bring snacks {if their class has one}. A teacher would definitely love if you got one of those LARGE containers of snacks for the class, such as animal crackers or pretzels. 
  5. "Handy" tools, such as flashlights or a small "fix it" box that has small screwdrivers in it. I actually used those in my classroom quite a bit...you would be surprised at what suddenly needs to be unscrewed or tightened up. 
  6. Gift cards
    1. Food
    2. Entertainment, such as movies
    3. Sports gift card. I got a NFL.com gift card one year for a male teacher who LOVES Green Bay. 
    4. Retail stores such as Outdoor stores {REI} or Sports stores {Dicks} 
    5. Education stores 
    6. Book stores 
  7. Meat Rubs. This is my most popular gift to get a guy, ANY guy, for ANY special events. Here's a great website to find some meat rubs. Get those really small {4 oz} mason jars, fill 3 or 4 of them, wrap some twine around them, and give those in a "rustic" looking bag or container. 
  8. "Themed" Gifts {these may depend on what your teacher likes...refer to the survey} These are GREAT GIFTS for the class to chip in together:
    1. Fishing Weekend: Small tackle box, tackle, fishing line
    2. Beach/Lake: Cooler, sunscreen, sodas, bug spray, and snacks 
    3. Movies: Fandango Gift Card, bags of kettle corn, sodas, a popcorn bowl 
    4. Ice Cream: Ice Cream bowls, ice cream scoop, sprinkles, hot fudge, and a gift card to Publix to get ice cream {thanks, Betsy, for such a great idea} 
  9. Coffee
    1. Gift Cards
    2. Coffee cups
    3. Coffee cup that is actually a single serving French press 
    4. Coffee {if you have a local brewer, this is a GREAT way to support local businesses} 
    5. Coffee accessories {sugar, cream, InBru, etc} 
  10. Board Games 
    1. Educational board games he can use in his classroom
    2. Games for his family
Here are some pictures of gifts I got for my sons' teachers: 

Homemade strawberry jam with homemade biscuits 


Found this printable HERE. I have paired this with sticky notes that are shaped like apples AND I attached one of these to an apple pie. 

This goes great with a coffee cup filled with those single serving instant coffee packages. Go HERE for the printable. 

Here are some websites that have printables that can be paired with gifts: 

  1. Crazy for Crust 
  2. How Does She 
  3. Moms By Heart
I sure hope this helps. Supporting teachers and getting gifts to show our appreciation is so very, very important. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, but they love your kids. They need reminders of why they are there: for the kids. Whether your child's teacher is male or female, I pray this helped you when you are looking to purchase gifts for your child's teacher in the years to come. 

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