It’s nearly that time of year again. The summer is looming on the horizon and parents may be debating whether to get a gift for the person who has steered their little poppet through another school year.
What gift is enough?
How much should you spend?
Should you even bother when they are simply doing the job they’re paid to do?
Over the years I’ve had lots of gifts. They have all been gratefully received. Even the mugs emblazoned with ‘World’s Best Teacher’ (that get consigned to the back of the cupboard and only come out when every other mug is dirty! Sorry!).
There is even debate on daytime TV about this subject.
Can I let you into a secret?
We don’t need a gift at the end of term. We love them, don’t get me wrong. But I’ll tell you what we could use more of…
Never underestimate the power of a few words of thanks during the year.
Have you noticed that little poppet couldn’t spell a particular word, read clearly, speak clearly, was unhappy about something at some point during the year? And who is it that helps with the spelling, the reading, the improved speech? Who spots when something is niggling a small person? Who gives them a cuddle when they fall over? Who wipes away their tears and helps them to negotiate concepts as vast as social interaction and managing friendships?
Do me a favour would you? Instead of a lovely gift at the end of the year, why not say ‘thank-you’ when you notice these seemingly little things, at the time they happen?
Life is busy, it’s easy to forget these little things. But they build into one really big thing… your child feeling valued, listened to, appreciated, cared for and happy that school is a good place to be.
Never underestimate how much thought, care and energy goes into ensuring this happens for each little person who walks into the classroom every day.
Of course, if you’re stuck for gift ideas, a bottle of wine is a safe bet…!
But a small word of thanks every now and then can make the difference between a teacher who feels that they are making a difference, and that it really is worth carrying on when it sometimes seems like a thankless task, and one who is on the verge of leaving the profession for good… If your child’s teacher is a good one, let them know. They can’t always see it for themselves…
P.S. the image is a portrait of me, painted by one of my children, over 10 years ago. It still hangs on the wall of the study…