Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude and Support for Our Teachers

Gifts of Gratitude and Support for Our Teachers
By Daphne Muse
As the holiday season emerges and families, friends, colleagues and community members come together to celebrate let’s support our teachers and what they bring to the table.  There are some very creative and practical gifts people can share that may well take a bit of a load off your professional lives.  With budgets diminishing on an almost daily basis and the need for supplies and other resources growing exponentially, what teacher would not appreciate a gift certificate from a retail or second-hand outlet to bring more books, equipment or art supplies into the classroom?  Along with major outlets, non-profits including Goodwill, American Cancer Society Thrift Stores and Salvation Army are good places to find every kind of supply imaginable for the classroom or resource center from books to art supplies and furniture. As you purge your garages, homes and storage units invite the teachers in your community to select what might work in their classrooms or resource centers.
Almost every family has someone who is retired and whose skill set would be a great match for some of your classroom needs, including serving as a volunteer for a field trip, assisting with the re-organization of your class or providing research to assist you with ideas for teaching the curriculum.  There are numerous organizations that you can tap into, if you don’t have a family member or neighbor who can assist including AARP, your local senior citizens community center, fraternal organization or sorority.  There are also reputable people who have to do community service.  You can contact the court in your local jurisdiction to find out how to access people from that pool to access their expertise.  College interns are often in search of interesting and creative projects and your classroom could prove to be one.  Through the division of student services at your local college or university, you may be able to connect a teacher with an intern.  While serving as an editor for Children's Advocate News Magazine, I was able to secure the services of two members of the Junior League who totally redesign of the publication.  Other gifts that might prove to be welcomed include:
·        Gel pads for shoes and gel cushions to make the feet and chair more comfortable
·        Working recycled technology including cameras, computers and DVD players
·        A Gift Certificate of a designated amount of time from a retiree or working professional whose message and skills can connect with young people
·        Donation of healthy fruits and snacks at designated for special classroom occasions
·        A First Aid Kit, board games, books and software
·        Funds to underwrite a classroom field trip
As brilliant and creative as our children may be, remember often they are taught into their callings by teachers.  Cherish the gifts they bring to the table and the work you do in guiding them onto and along their paths.

Links:  The Junior League of Oakland/East Bay
East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse
Oakland Cancer Society Thrift Store

Daphne Muse is a writer, social commentator and consultant who blogs for the Alameda County Office of Education.  You also can read her blog at

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