Give Teachers Supplies, Not Presents

I received an email a few months ago about this topic and I can’t find it anymore but I do still have the link that he sent me. The article is called Chalk not Tchotchkes. I definitely should have posted it before Christmas but now that the end of the school year is approaching, I think it’s appropriate now too. I don’t have sources for any of those numbers (see the article for that) or any hard data but I do completely agree that it’s not fair that teachers have to buy supplies themselves. Most of us are reimbursed when we buy things for our jobs! So instead of giving your kid’s favorite teacher a bottle of lotion or a plate of cookies, how about a box of colored pencils? Or maybe you could team up with other parents to give a basket full of supplies for the classroom!

Here’s why giving supplies is better than a traditional gift:

-There’s no need to worry about what the teacher likes and doesn’t like; they need this stuff
-It’s a gift that benefits the entire classroom, including your own kids
-Giving to the class rather than to the teacher avoids the muddled legal boundaries surrounding gifts and public employees
-Nothing better communicates that you respect and appreciate the work the teachers are doing than giving a gift that helps them do it better

And here are a few ways to find out what they need/what you should give:

-Ask his or her teacher which supplies are most needed
-Many PTAs coordinate teacher wish lists
-Consider volunteering a few hours of your time instead of spending money
-Donations of used books, electronics, art supplies and school supplies are generally appreciated

Now, let’s hear from the teachers. Do you want parents to give you supplies? Any tips on what to give?

  • Grace

    Thanks for your comment Drew!

  • Drew

    My mom is a teacher and I can remember her bringing home a bag of trinkets every winter and summer break and, not that she didn’t appreciate the sentiment, most of the time they ended up unopened and unused in her closet.

    She was always most appreciative when she classroom appropriate books. They get a lot of wear and tear over a year and she’s spent thousands of dollars over her career buying new copies when the old ones gave out.