Hold tight, teachers. The blissful freefall of summer holidays is only just around the corner. Only a few weeks until it’s the season of late nights, lie-ins and low-key lounging.
But for many, this time of year can be a little bittersweet. Because cometh the end of the year, cometh a parting of ways for many students and their teachers. Sometimes, they may never see each other again – teachers leave for pastures anew, year 11’s bid farewell to the adults who have shepherded them through adolescence thus far. Even in the more mundane cases of students ascending year groups, it can often feel like quite a profound relationship is passing into memory.
It comes as no surprise then that students quite often want to get gifts for their teachers. But finding the perfect gift for characters as elusive and opaque as teachers can be quite the challenge. After all, what do teachers really want? Teacher Booker decided to investigate this question by surveying our legion of amazing educators to find out what their ideal gifts would be. Read on if you’d like to find out the best gift for the special teacher in your life.
Ideal Teacher Gifts
A MarkBot 3000
Ah students, if only you knew the tedious infinity of hours teachers have spent marking your work. Siloed in front of the TV, accompanied by a few slugs of coffee, they diligently and meticulously correct your spellings and redirect your scholarly efforts late into the night. If you have a heart, surely you’d like to help spare them this endless triage?
Introducing the MarkBot 3000. Engineered and assembled by a crack team of roboticists and disgruntled teachers, it can triple-mark a whole set of books in an average time of 4.5 minutes. Other settings allow it to generate bespoke feedback questions, implement your school’s colour-coded SPAG scheme, detect copying and scribble out inane doodles in margins. Plus it comes in five different colours, including metallic green.
Available at all good bot stores near you.
Bottomless Coffee Cup
Before we praise Markbot too heartily, let’s remember the original marking machine: your teacher. A device for converting coffee into your educational success, your teacher is quite literally powered by this dark, exotic nectar. But that 20 a day habit comes at a cost – having to lug down to the staffroom every 45 minutes to reload on black ambrosia.
So save your teacher the effort with this bottomless coffee cup. As soon as the last sip is drained, it automatically replenishes using a process scientists refer to as ‘spontaneous caffeination’. And if coffee isn’t your teacher’s bag, don’t worry – the bottomless green tea and bottomless lemon zinger are just a few weeks away from market!
Eyes in the back of their head
Teachers do have an eerie extra-sensory awareness about what goes on in their classroom. But they can’t see everything. That’s why these reverse ocular implants are what your teacher needs to give them full mastery of their domain. Plus, for a small fee, a zoom function can be added allowing them to read the contents of notes being passed from up to 20 metres away.
More hours in the day
Teachers secretly envy the people of Mercury – their days last 1,407 hours. Even Martians are treated to a day just under 25. Meanwhile, the impoverished teacher of earth is stuck with a feeble 24-hour day. That’s just not enough time to do all that you need to get done.
That’s why a giftcard for extra hours in the day is the perfect present for teachers. They can reclaim these hours as and when they need allowing them to tailor their space-time bending to their personal needs. Plus, if they don’t use all their hours up by the end of the year, then the year can just be extended for a few more days!
All great gifts for a teacher.
But the astute reader may have noticed something…
Spoiler alert, but none of these ideal teacher gifts really exist. Which, of course, begs the question – what is the ideal gift for a teacher?
Ideal Teacher Gifts – Take 2
We started out on the right track when answering this question by asking a more profound one – What do teachers really want? I’m fortunate enough to have spoken to hundreds of teachers over the years, all from a vast range of backgrounds. In spite of how different they’ve all been, one motivation has stretched over all of them: a deep but humble desire to make a difference. By simple inference we discover what teachers really want: to know they have made a difference.
If a teacher has made a difference to you, what’s the best way to express it? Is it in the form of tacky trinkets or mass-produced mugs etched with sassy slogans? Is it supermarket vino or generic toiletries? Is it in metaphysically-nonsensical ‘ideal’ gifts? The answer should be perfectly obvious.
Here are some real gifts you can give your teacher to show them the difference that they’ve made to you:
Thank you notes and cards
Every teacher has a secret stash of thank-you notes, cards, pieces of work addressed to them and assorted memoranda from students. Hoarded away, these little shots of bromide are used to pick teachers up when they feel down and inspire them through the long blak droughts of affirmation that reign through teaching. Just telling teachers that they have made a difference to you and that you’ll remember them is more potent a gift than anything to be found on Amazon.
Something truly personal
That said, if you do want to give your teacher something a little more tangible then it had best be highly personalised to them. Some of the best teachers suffuse their practice with their personality. Their passions and interests are widely known, used as educational tools or just for a bit of banter. There’s no better way students can acknowledge that such a teacher made a difference to them than by showing that, all this time, they really were listening and remembering what that teacher said.
A small gesture
Finding the right words to thank someone for a deed as effervescent as education can be challenging. Fortunately, deeds can often speak a lot louder than words. Thanking your teacher with a round of applause at the end of a last lesson, smiling and shaking their hand as you leave their lesson and just giving them a warm farewell generally can forge a memory that will do just the same as the contents of their secret stash.
In the end, it turns out the best teacher gifts are often the simplest. So do yourself a favour before you head off shopping for another round of trinkets and toiletries – just take a moment to consider, what does your teacher really want? The answer is surprisingly simple and surprisingly cheap!
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