Recommended Wine for Today’s Entry: A Peachy Canyon 2006 Malbec, called “Ms. Behave.” I’m going to confess that I haven’t had this wine, but it was the top-rated Malbec at http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?page=0 with a score of 94. I chose it because the name describes my own high school behavior and it’s number one in its class (OK, that part’s not quite as reminiscent of me…)
Do any other parents of high-schoolers still give teacher appreciation gifts or am I the only dork still participating? At a party recently, I asked my cluster of Cosmo-slurping friends what they were planning to do for teacher appreciation week. The reactions? Mostly disbelief and a little disgust. “What? You still do teacher gifts?” one of them finally sputtered, a little ruby-tinted spew accompanying her words. “In high school?”
Well, uh, yeah, I do. But, as I explained to them, my kids sometimes need … I don’t know, maybe a little goodwill boost to make that 89.3 into a 90.
Let’s look at it this way. We tip our hairdressers, our nail techs, even virtual strangers who drive us, at about 100 miles an hour, through crowded city streets while talking on their cell phones in foreign languages with angry tones. Why not the teachers? I mean, personally, I’d rather submerge my hands in bleach and hair dye, or even scrape dead, crusty skin off of a stranger’s foot than spend eight hours a day in front of 24 surly teenagers. So personally, I think they deserve some gratitude.
But what to give them? Since my cocktail pals were no help, I decided to provide you readers with some of the stellar ideas I’ve used in the past. In elementary school, I astutely took note of the clutter of dusty coffee cups sporting clever school-related sayings (Teacher, you’re the apple of my eye; Teachers rule!; Teachers have a lot of class … I could go on, but I made my own gorge rise) that adorned the teachers’ windowsills, and I vowed never to go the cliched route.
So one year, I decided to hand paint terra cotta flower pots for each teacher and fill them with lovely flowering plants. Do I recommend this? Oh, for God’s sake, of course not. What was I thinking? Hmm… besides being time-consuming and, er, the last thing a teacher would want, there were a couple other snags. One — and this was a big one — I’m not artistic. At all. Two, the paint I chose wasn’t designed for terra cotta, so it only stayed there for a limited amount of time (in some cases, not long enough to get them to the teachers’ desks.) And three, I’m not a gardener, resulting in an unfortunate incident involving really smelly root rot.
So the next year, I painted cute little sundae cups. (I don’t know what my thing was with paint. It has, fortunately, passed.) This time, I used the right kind of paint. They were – well, we’ll give them presentable. And I packaged them with toppings like nuts, chocolate sprinkles, those little silver pellets that my mother called kooky loo-loo balls, a jar of cherries. Cute huh? Except for the dog eating all the kooky loo-loo balls the night before delivery, this one worked pretty well.
By the fourth grade – be forewarned – your child will refuse to carry anything into the school that doesn’t fit in her backpack. And just about anything multiplied by six teachers won’t fit in a backpack. Unless you want to give them toothbrushes or something. So now you must think small. Gift certificate small.
I did the Starbucks thing for a couple years. That worked well until one teacher (and I’ll maintain, to this day, that she was a bit high strung before the coffee card) got all hopped up one morning and laid into the class about absolutely nothing. Somehow, according to my daughter, I was to blame for her over-caffeinated outburst. I tried movie theater cards, restaurant cards – but have finally settled on book store cards. I can tell by the very nice thank you notes that these are truly a hit. Done. Popular and easy, like the tramp who took my eighth-grade boyfriend. But I digress.
So I contend that we need to continue showing teachers our appreciation through the high school years. Who cares if the staff all gathers in the lounge and sets up a swap meet, mocking the terra cotta pot with the peeling paint and dead peonies?
They have my kids for eight hours a day. As far as I’m concerned, that gives me the last laugh.