That time of year when the school year finishes (here in Australia it usually finishes for about 5 weeks for public schools – longer for private schools; where you pay more for less time….hardly seems fair to me!) But yes, the school year winds to a close; with exams, with reports to be written; and read; with plays, class presentations, awards ceremonies, and cleaning of the classrooms. As the school year ends I’m sure teachers look at our little darlings and think they are sorry to see some move on; ready to see others move on; and wondering what next years class will bring! In my job as a midwife, I rarely know who will be through the door next, or in a room next….but my clients rarely stick around for a whole year either. It must be a funny feeling knowing – for better or worse till December we do not part! Some schools don’t finalise classes and appoint teachers till the 2nd or 3rd week of the new school year – causing some anxiety over the holiday break. Other schools allocate their staff and classes and give this information out prior to the end of the previous school year. That can be good or bad – for the kids and parents if they feel the teacher and their child are not a good mix – can’t be a good feeling for the teachers either. I don’t know which I really prefer – Uncertain Anxiety for the holiday break. Or Certain Anxiety for some and Great Relief for others.
The really major thing of the school year in Infants and Primary School is Do you get a little something for the teacher (for sheer persistence in making it to years end) and if you do – buy or make? How do you decide? I’ve never been much of a ‘maker’ of xmas presents. We did try to make bath bombs one year but the wick kept falling out…oh no sorry – bath bombs….poor things kept crumbling to a silty mountain. I labelled them ‘Bath Sands’ and went with it anyway, because…well you know, it was nearly the 2nd last day that we got around to making them. We did make some ‘Suntanned Christmas’ one year and plated that up. It’s know as ‘White Christmas by most people but when you put some milk chocolate chips in it before the gelatine has cooled it becomes lightly tanned. I have bought many a pen. I love the post office. They have so many things that I think a teacher might need….or put up with until I’ve left the classroom anyway. They have some quite nice pens for reasonable prices. I just realised today though that all those pens were blue or black. And what I mostly see of teachers is their red ticks and crosses and even some red comments. So maybe I should lobby the post office to start selling ‘Teachers End of Year Pens’ with red ink. So what else do you buy for teachers. And do you buy a present for a teacher who seemed to have had difficulty disguising their dislike of your child? We only had that problem one year. I asked the child if he wanted to buy something for his teacher. We looked at each other for a while and then he decided – Probably not, mum. I felt the same way. But do some people buy something they think the teacher won’t like so they are giving something – but with the intent to annoy? Like chocolates to a teacher who is known to be on a diet? And if you like that teacher do you give them a voucher for weightloss milkshakes? or one of the weighloss programs instead? If you know the teacher has had an incredibly high maintenance class do you buy them a gift voucher for the bottle shop? Or 6 months at AA? Can you show your appreciation or your unappreciation by the type of present you give? It’s really much worse than a Kris Kringle present thing at work!
And do teachers sit down at the end of the school term with their presents and psycho-analyse what sort of a year they had by the type of presents? You can really make a mountain out of this molehill if you try! Buying the end of year present can bring a parent to tears. It’s not enough with all the Christmas advertising, the holidays to be sorted. The presents/cards for classmates; the bring-a-plate activities. You also have to come up with something, or several somethings, depending on how many children you have and how many teachers they have. There really should be a little paragraph in the school rules and regulations – somewhere between ‘Acceptable Excuses for Being Absent From School’ and ‘Uniform Regulations.’ They could call it……Acceptable Gifts for Sheer Persistence and Endurance By Your Child’s Teacher.’ At least you’d know where you stood before you start. If they listed the teachers personal preferences that would be even better. Mrs X – Cash only please. Ms D – subscriptions to Gym. Teachers A,B&C – Alcohol Only – preferably with straw already inserted (those of you who are spending the next 5 weeks with their classes will understand why at the end of the holidays.)
So very glad we are in High School where they have so many teachers you don’t really have to worry about it. The teachers just look on a break from the hormone ridden masses as a special present to themselves! Win/Win situation really.