Practical Over Pretty

The end of the school year is approaching.  That means it is time for Teacher Appreciation Week and end of the year gifts.  While gifts are totally not necessary, my eighteen years of experience has taught me that practical beats pretty.

That “World’s Best Teacher” mug or chalkboard ornament?  While the thought is great, the functionality is lacking.  I only have so much room on my Christmas tree.  All those ornaments accumulated over the years have been cast aside as my children have filled up all of the green space.  There are a few ornaments that I have kept on the tree year after year, however.  Handmade ones from students hold a special place. This rule holds true with other gifts as well.  I would much rather get something that a child spent effort making than something their parent picked up quick at the store.  There is much more meaning in that instead of one of the hundreds of mugs on the shelf. (And I don’t even like coffee that much!)

Along with hand-made gifts, other practical treats are nice to receive.  Gift cards are the easiest way to give a practical gift.  It is nice to get something to my favorite stores and restaurants where I can treat my family.  Amazon, Target, and Starbucks are popular choices.  (Starbucks is my wife’s favorite since I give them right to her.)  I will always use those gift cards as a great excuse to splurge on something.  It beats having another mug sitting around the house.

I will state again that gifts are NEVER necessary.  A well-behaved, respectful student is the perfect present.  However, if you really feel the need to get a teacher something, my belief is to go for the practical.  Speaking from (18 years of) experience.

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