Wednesday, June 18, 2008

End of the Year Gifts

I received several lovely gifts on the last day of school yesterday. However, two of them amused me greatly. Not because the gifts themselves are amusing (something that is frequently true) but because of the stories that go with them.

I walked into my classroom today ready to tackle the chaos in the hopes of having it packed and well organized by the end of the week. I noticed a large bag in the coat closet area. I asked the intern I've worked with if he knew what it was. His response was that it appeared to be a gift someone had forgotten to give me. I had to agree that was how it appeared, but found the idea highly unlikely. Picking up the gift I was hoping there would be a tag with a name. Luckily there was and I should have guessed the name that would be there. It was from a young man who never ceased to make me smile and think, but who can't remained focused on the majority of tasks for longer than a moment or two. It is not hard to imagine him walking in yesterday morning, putting his backpack and the gift in the coat closet and getting involved in conversations with his friends about the upcoming promotion ceremony and other last day activities. It was a fitting final image of him.

Another child arrived on Monday telling me that he would be bringing me a gift on Tuesday from him and his parents. I told him that was so kind and unnecessary. He said, "I paid for most of it with my allowance." This was not said with joy. The next morning he arrived with some beautiful flowers. As I took them I thanked him and told him how beautiful they were. His response? "Good, they cost like $50." He clearly had better things to do with his allowance money (and really, who can blame him).


Julie Pippert said...

The teacher gifting is a big sore subject for me, LOL. I love showing my appreciation but it seems I must do so for a sum of $10 or more dollars every other week.

I learned early a note wouldn't do when I took a carefully hand-written on lovely stationary card to the last day of school and another mom said, "A CARD? That's it? A CARD? Do you know how hard this woman works for your child?" And I felt like a jackass, so I ran to a nursery, got a plant and ran back to school and was an hour late to work.

I do appreciate it, but I also paid for it and not to sound sour grapes but nobody gives me jack for how hard I work at my job and as a mom LOL.

I wished the card was enough---it was really all I could afford at the time. It expressed in words rather than a tangible object that cost money how much I did appreciate it.

But the other moms let me know that wasn't adequate and I'd get a reputation and well-oiled teachers work harder for kids, especially kids whose parent soil them well.


So now I join in with other similarly financially strapped parents and we chip in for a nice, big gift card and otherwise I duck and keep my head down and try to avoid other parents when they come at me with That Look and I know a gifting or luncheon or something is on the horizon.

Then the teachers did us one worse: they started sending the kids home with end of the year gift bags they bought and made and didn't that up the I Feel Like Heel factor.

It's all meant well and so sweet and everybody loves a present but oh my gosh I wish we could just use our words sometimes instead.

I was perfectly content with the note from my daughter's teacher that said she'd treasured teacher her. The sand bucket, shovel, set of sidewalk chalk and made me worry how a mom with a 6 yo and a newborn and low salary managed it all. Guilt guilt guilt.

And you wanted to hear all of that didn't you LOL!

I love the teachers, love what they gift us with: their talent for teaching.

I'm glad to recognize that but oy...the budget LOL.

Julie Pippert said...

Err whose parentS OIL them well, not parent soil them LOL!

Jenny said...

@julie I so much prefer cards from kids and parents to anything else. Both of the gifts I wrote about here came sans any sort of meaningful card (just a small one with my name and the child's name). Another student wrote me a long note thanking me and it will be kept forever. The flowers will die and the lotions will likely be regifted (shh!). My favorite gift from this school year is a small flower arrangement made by one of my students. It has a plastic bottle cap base with a few plastic leaves and flowers arranged beautifully. It's small and more sentimental than the gorgeous arrangement I got this week.