I have to wonder with all we do for our students, is it really necessary to buy them each an end of year gift?
From the before first day of school until the very last, there is so much we do for our students. We fill our classroom with supplies and spend hours working to make it a warm and inviting space for learning. We work tirelessly to create lessons that engage and challenge our learners. Each day we comfort and nurture our students as our own.
I certainly don’t remember receiving gifts from my teachers! Maybe I was given an end-of-year award (?), but definitely nothing material.
It seems times have changed.
These days my social media accounts are flooded with images of teacher created cute, personalized gifts for each child in their class that teachers have spent their time and money making! You don’t have to look far to find a teacher filling a sand pail with summer goodies, attaching a cute note to a box of crayons or bubbles, or filling a personalized water-bottle with candy – just to name a few!
If you are a teacher who really wants to do this and it gives you joy to see your students receive a gift, then I respect you for that. Go for it! If it’s your love language then you should not be made to feel bad about doing what feels good and right to YOU.
My concern is for those teachers who feel pressured by others in their building or by the images of these gifts that pop up on their Facebook feed or Pinterest accounts. Please know that you do not have to give your students a gift!
When my students leave the classroom at the end of the year, I know they are leaving with something much more important than a box of sidewalk chalk. As the years pass and my students move on, I know they will remember the way they felt in my classroom.
My students will remember that they were a valued and integral member of our classroom community. They will remember our classroom as a place where it was safe and necessary to take risks in order to succeed. A place where it was okay to fail. They will remember how proud I was of them for their hard work. They will remember that I loved them.
To remind my students of these feelings I do give each student a little something special. I give them this poem, along with a personal note from me. It’s simple and it’s easy, but it’s also meaningful and true.
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We all know this last month of school is already wildly hectic time for teachers. With all we have on our plates, I hope you won’t put added pressure on yourself to do something you don’t really want to do. Be confident in knowing that you’ve already given your students an amazing gift- all of the hard work, thoughtfulness and love you put into each day. There’s nothing more lasting than that!
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