Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Holidays Mrs. T!

As I was putting away my Christmas decorations this year I was reminded of some of my former kiddos because I was carefully packing away items that were gifts from my days as a preschool teacher.  I still keep in touch with some of the kids from days gone by...mainly through friendships on Facebook...I have former children who are planning to graduate from high school, who are in college, who just graduated from college, and a few who are now parents themselves...making me a "grand-preschool teacher".  Anyways...back to the gifts...I have had my favorites over the years...pre-Pinterest crayon monograms.  Here are some of the good...the bad...and the ugly (you determine the categories) from 18 years of working with little ones:

  1. Coffee mugs--I don't drink coffee but these mugs have served a decorations and pencil cups throughout the years.  I always write the child's name and date on the bottom of the mug.  One time a coworker of mine enjoyed mugs of hot cocoa with her entire class using real mugs that were gifts from families--the kids thought they were so cool with their heavy breakable fancy mugs.  
  2. Soaps & Lotions--After a day of smelling playground dust and dirty pants a hint of citrus, plumeria, and freesia never hurts.  Better yet...a gift card to Bath and Body Works!
  3. Candles--I received many candles that I took home because we couldn't use them at school...after a while one runs out of room to store candles and the competing scents can be overwhelming.  
  4. Ornaments--This insures that a former teacher thinks of you each year while decorating her tree...again...mark with name and year. 
  5. Framed photos of child or group of children!
  6. Restaurant Gift Cards--Always a nice choice for a teacher who is exhausted at the end of the day...preferably to a restaurant where one orders from a table and the bonus would be real table cloths.  
  7. Photo albums or scrapbooks to document the events and activities of the coming year.  To this day, I keep albums accessible in my office and flip through them on occasion when thinking of particular activities or children.  One time I had a former student visiting our college and she stopped by my office to say "hello".  I pulled an album off the shelf and we reminisced while flipping through the pages.  
  8. Personalized tote bags, pencils, note pads and classroom door decorations.
  9. Classroom items--children's books, bean bag chair, puzzle, or a new nap-time CD.
  10. Live scorpion.  Yes, this is a real item brought to me by a child...I bet you can guess which category it belongs in.  
  11. Many items that represented the school I worked for...paperweights, pens, mouse pads, sweatshirts, more mugs...
  12. Thematic wooden/plastic jewelry--While I do not dress much like Ms. Frizzle anymore, I used to totally rock the theme look from socks to earrings...every holiday and thematic unit had its own look.  I have a cool Santa necklace made from Legos!  
  13. Movie Night Gift Basket--I have received this item twice!  Both times consisted of large bowls for popcorn, microwave popcorn, movie candy, pop, and gift certificates for movie rentals.  
  14. Candy--This may seem like an easy fix for any teacher...and I do like candy...but I am kind of a candy snob...meaning not just any candy will do.  I prefer Candy House English Toffee to a Snickers...I prefer Brach's Candy Corn to Mallowcreme pumpkins...I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate...and I typically choose not to each off brand Dollar Store candy (ever hear of cocoa moths?) or anything homemade.  

    Things I never received as gifts...but would be awesome:  

    1. Tervis Cups with Lids--This is my go-to item for my kid's teachers because you can use with hot or cold drinks and there are many designs to fit the style of the teacher.  
    2. iTunes Cards--Today, if I were in a preschool classroom, I would love to be able to add some new apps to my iPad to use with the kids...or to be able to expand our music repertoire.  
    3. Subscription to an appropriate magazine to use either for the classroom--Ranger Rick, Highlights, or for the teacher like Mailbox.  
    4. Drink Gift Cards--Again, not a coffee drinker but if I were...I would love Starbucks.  But, gift cards to Sonic or other places where a teacher can grab an icy beverage before or after work is much appreciated.

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