Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gift Giving

giftsIn The disingenuous story that we keep seeing from Stop Trying to Inspire Me, Tom tells us,
“EdWeek linked to this story from the Phoenix, AZ Fox affiliate.  Unfortunately, it's not a very detailed story and the anchors seem to be trying to goad the teacher they interview into admitting that teachers try and solicit their students and their parents for cash at the end of the year.”
Wait! Gifts? Maybe I missed something all these years!! I was supposed to get gifts! Darn, I missed that lesson in my college classes!!
Seriously though, I don’t know if it is because of what I taught or where I taught, I never expected gifts. Many of my students could not afford lunch so I never expected gifts. In fact, before Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, I would help them create gifts that didn’t cost them anything. We made coupon books for their parents promising them things to be done around the home. They used their art skills to create masterpieces for the recipients.
Maybe because I didn’t make them feel like I was doing anything special. I always had the approach that we were a team (including their parents) and we were trying to reach the finish line in a race. It didn’t matter when you finished, just that you finished.
My students were constantly showing me that they appreciated my hard work and patience so I didn’t feel like I needed a special gift at the end of the year. Parents continuously thanked me over the phone when I talked to them and I in turn told them that I appreciated them for the patience and continued support. I never felt like I wasn’t appreciated if I didn’t get a gift. Seeing a smile on a student’s face when they accomplished a task or learned a new skill was the perfect gift for me. I guess I never needed anything more. Hearing the excitement in a parent’s voice when they learned that their child actually has made progress instead of getting in trouble gave me a tremendous feeling of accomplishement!
At the end of the school year, I would have a gathering at my house where we would cook hotdogs and serve chips and cookies to my students and their parents. Before the gathering, I taught them how to play croquet and everyone had a good time playing this in my back yard. This was a great time for all of us to appreciate each other!
What makes you feel appreciated in your classroom? Do your students give you gifts? Do you give them gifts?
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'happy christmas everybody!' by: Luise

1 comment:

Sioux Roslawski said...

Usually for holidays like Christmas or Valentine's Day, I get some little gifts---things from the Dollar Store--but the gifts that mean the most are notes and letters (positive ones, of course) from the parents or the kids. Those are the gifts that I treasure...