When a friend asked about start-of-school teacher gifts on Facebook this week I was surprised. I mean, is this even a thing? Well, I Googled it and unfortunately, yes, first-day teacher gifts are a thing. A big thing (if you don’t believe me, check Pinterest).
I’m not sure what the purpose of a first-day gift would be.
As if getting ready for school to start again wasn’t stressful enough on us all, now we have to worry about getting a teacher gift for our child(ren) to bring on the first day? I don’t know about you, but as for me and my friends, we’ll give ourselves a hearty pat on the back (and pour ourselves a celebratory drink) if our children have clean clothes, school supplies and a lunch on the first day. (New haircuts and gym shoes preferred, but certainly not guaranteed.)
But alas, we are the slackers and thankfully the Pinterest-ers are here to shame us for our laziness and show us the error of our ways. Because, not only are first-day teacher gifts a thing, but you can even pick between 40 different beribboned mason-jar designs with which to impress Teacher on the first day.
Although I will admit there is a kind of gallows humour in this one that I can appreciate.
image courtesy: classroomfreebies.com
But before you ask yourself “what colour of ribbon should I tie around this mason jar full of homemade cookies?” maybe you should step away from the glue gun, take a deep breath and ask this question instead:
It is quite common to give teachers a gift on the last day of school. And most teachers would say that a gift or card is a welcome token of thanks for a year spent together with your child in the business of learning. Fair enough.
I wasn’t sure what the purpose of a first-day gift would be, though, so I conducted a highly unscientific survey of some fellow moms and teachers I know (survey results not accurate to within 99% of anything).
Step away from the glue gun, take a deep breath and ask: why?
A vague and unspecified number of survey respondents felt that a small gift might set the tone for a good year, generally expressing a sense of, “we’re in this together” or “I’ve got your back (and your coffee)”. Others thought it verged on brown-nosing or bribery (and besides, nobody wants to be labeled as “that mom” on the very first day). The general consensus, however, is that moms and dads have way too much other stuff going on in the last week of August to be stressing about a gift for a teacher that they and their children most likely know nothing about.
Next I asked the teachers how they would react to a first day gift, and while none of us have ever received one, we all agreed: we would be flattered and happy and we definitely wouldn’t say no to it, but a first-day gift isn’t going to make us feel differently about your child, either. (In other words, we can’t be bought, except with a case of wine… Kidding! Or am I?)
There’s enough pressure on parents to kit our kids out for school without worrying about a first-day gift, and plenty of reasons to feel inadequate (to wit: these bento box lunch suggestions).
image courtesy: being creative to keep my sanity
I say we all cut ourselves some slack (and take some time away from Pinterest) and forget we ever even heard about start-of-school teacher gifts (and cute-creepy animal-themed bento box lunches), mmkaay?