The Gifts Teachers REALLY Want This Holiday Season

Christmas is the most magical time of the year, and as a teacher, nothing warms the heart more than receiving a thoughtful gift from an administrator. As the holiday season approaches, I asked teachers to spill the tea on the Christmas gifts they’d like to receive from their principals. Here’s a list of their top preferences, and surprise – it’s not mugs or tote bags with school logos.

1. Time

Time is the number one response I received. Teachers aren’t asking for more hours in a day, but they crave opportunities to use their time efficiently without sacrificing nights and weekends.

  • First-Day Back Privileges: Grant teachers the first day back from the holidays to work in their classrooms or plan with their teams. Knowing they have time will allow them to relax during the season without the burden of grading or lesson planning.
  • Late In and Early Out Coupons: Provide coupons for one day to arrive when students do and one day to leave when students leave. Consider offering an extra hour or two for a later start or earlier departure, allowing teachers to schedule personal appointments or enjoy extra time with loved ones.

There are plenty of ways to give teachers the gift of time. Ask your teachers what the gift of time looks like to them, but do it in an email, not a meeting. 

2. Fewer Meetings

Simplify communication by minimizing meetings, especially those encroaching on planning time or requiring teachers to stay after school. Utilize emails or targeted group communications for effective information sharing.

3. Flexibility

  • Individualized Professional Development: Instead of planning “one size fits all” professional development for the days after the holiday break, provide an option board with three or four choices. Let teachers select areas they find most beneficial, based on a prior survey of their interests and needs.
  • Impromptu Walkthrough Pass: Introduce a one-time pass allowing teachers to delay an impromptu walkthrough for a more convenient time. This helps alleviate nerves and fosters a positive relationship between administrators and teachers.
  • Jeans Day Passes: Gift teachers passes for a casual day in jeans and their favorite shirt. This simple gesture allows for comfort on busy days, providing a break from the usual professional dress code.

4. Replenish Supplies

As the semester comes to an end, essential supplies like pens, dry erase markers, and notepads are often in short supply. Acknowledge teachers’ personal investment in their classrooms by opening the supply closet and letting them stock up for the new semester. Consider creating stockings with necessary items or offering gift cards to local office supply stores.

The ideal Christmas gift from an administrator is one that shows appreciation, personalization, and a commitment to teachers well-being. By meeting these expectations, administrators can leave a lasting positive impression and foster a supportive school community.

Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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