The Gift Horse Better Have A Gift Card In Its Mouth




Every year, my non-teacher friends (civilians) approach me to ask what they should get their kid’s teacher for Christmas.  My answer is always the same: booze and cash.  Now, because you can’t bring booze on campus, you can either throw that shit on a gift card, or try and creepily lure us to the parking lot for our “present”.  I suggest the gift card.  Also, pressing actual cash into our hands is something usually only done to maître d’s and grooms at mafia weddings, so, again, maybe the same amount of money, placed on a gift card.  By now, you should be sensing a theme.

Now, parents, anything you send us, we are thankful for, and we appreciate that you took time to think about us, but below are some ideas that I have nixed, when asked:

  1. Framed artwork from your child. Now, while I know that you think every pastoral scene, featuring V-shaped birds, that Sally spits out, is a SURE sign that she’ll be the next Renoir, but we see that shit er’ry damn day. We LOVE your kid, but 30 kids X 40 years of teaching produces more paper waste than Chris Christie’s butthole, so while we appreciate the gesture, your frame will soon be holding a picture of the entire Special Ed department, drunk as fuck, from the Applebee’s gift cards someone else’s parents sent.
  2. An entire basket of stuff you got at the dollar store.  Seriously, you thought we wouldn’t know?  We LIVE at that place, so we can spot something from “The General” from a hundred paces. Take the $5 you were going to spend and give us a gift card to the dollar store, and we’ll be pathetically thrilled.
  3. This one is a hard one…  The popcorn tin.  We have a love/hate relationship with these things.  When one student brings us one, we LOVE it.  When seven students do, we never want to see popcorn again for as long as we live.
  4. Flowers. Those are expensive, and they die. You know what doesn’t die? The same amount of money on a gift card.
  5. Homebaked goods.  Fun fact: most female teachers are horrible germophobes, so if we don’t know you REALLY well, we’re going to put your cookies in the break room, or pass them off to one of the male teachers, because they’ll eat anything.
  6. Gift certificates for massage that you bought on Groupon. Unless you KNOW the masseuse, and know that they have an actual practice NOT located in the back of a van…this is a no-go.  Remember, if we get murdered, your kid has a sub for the rest of the year, so you can kiss your test scores goodbye.

In summary, again, we are thankful for anything you send us…truly, but if you have the option…you know what to do.  Thank you.

47 thoughts on “The Gift Horse Better Have A Gift Card In Its Mouth

  1. L

    Are teachers allowed to accept gift cards in the USA? If so, what’s the usual amount that is given? Sorry if the question is insensitive, cos it’s not the practice in Singapore.

    • In Asian countries, it is not unusual for high monetary gifts to be given, even more than once a year: $50, $100, or even more. In the U.S., a teacher would be very surprised by this except at the most exclusive private school with a large Asian student body. But: If you can afford to give a gift like this, and you think the teacher has done an excellent job for your child, by all means, please give her or him such a gift. Most teachers spend much money of their own to help their students, and are not paid enough to have an easy living.

      • L

        I think that in the Asian countries where significant gifts of money are acceptable, there is an implied reciprocity (of more attention given to the student or better grades). In Singapore, we aren’t allowed monetary gifts, and if the gift is over a certain value, it has to be declared, otherwise it could be cause for a corruption investigation.

      • Thank you for correcting my outspoken ignorance
        That makes so much sense, actually. I am impressed. Is the effort against undue influence primarily devoted to the teaching profession (because of its interaction with children), or is Singapore a particular bribe-free corruption-free nation across all its professions–even, politics? That would set you apart, indeed!

  2. I have several teacher friends and I know without a doubt most things end up in the trash or a garage sale. The gift card is a great idea and much more accepted these days than when my daughter was in school. But yet, she always wanted to get her teacher something. I tried to give “consumable” things… candles etc. Great list btw! I don’t personally know of any masseuse with a practice in the back of a van, but I know to steer clear of it! LOL! Merry Christmas!! 😉

  3. I loved this! I know, I know…if I really loved it I’d send cash, gift card—or both! Funny, funny stuff. Oh, and thank you Meg for following my blog too. Since I’m a civilian, after having read this wonderfully educational post, I will now stop giving dollar store baskets to our son’s teachers. I’m reformed! 😀

      • Since you bring up the subject of booze, it all makes more sense now. I mean, for the life of us, we couldn’t understand why our son was so upset last year when we gave him an icebox for Christmas. So, it was an XBOX he was wanting, not an icebox. Well no wonder. I guess that explains why we couldn’t understand him. You see, he wasn’t enunciating properly and was slurring his words when he told us what he wanted for Christmas. It was probably because his teacher was teaching him while intoxicated. We gave his teacher a bottle of booze three day’s before school was out The old lush. Well…never again!!! From now on, it’s only $5.00 Starbucks cards for him. At least until he sobers up. 😀

  4. Nick Fox

    Thanks for the follow. This site is hilarious. The dead teacher/homicidal masseuse/subsitute who hates children angle was one I’d never considered. Learn something new every day.

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