In my working experience, I have found that giving gifts to teachers and staff go a long way in helping maintain cordial and placid relationships. When I was teaching in the public school system, I was racking up favors like crazy for people, and this subconsciously primed the community to give back. And I like to get as good as I give.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can get for teachers. Anything that teachers can hold in the palm of their hands is usually a good barometer for assessing whether something would be a good gift or not. All you need is a little creativity and a touch of uniqueness. Personalize them. Be crafty with your gift and you can craft better relationships.
I have actually found Etsy to be a great place to buy gifts for colleagues, especially colleagues of the female persuasion. I have found many little arts and crafts and trinkets, the ones my Jewish-acting godmother used to call “Tchotchkes,” from little mural paintings to sewn things. My colleagues have very much appreciated this. I give out plants, coffee, porcelain plates, and fruits. I allowed some teachers to share my stapler without even asking, and I even shared my candies, which I usually only give to students.
Sometimes I go to local stores and would be surprised to see things that seem expensive but actually cost the least amount of money, like incense, candles, or chocolates. Food, in general, is always great, but even better when you consider the other teacher’s habits or personal needs. For instance, some teachers might be on a diet, so rather than getting them some kind of chocolate fudge brownie, you can get them some carrots or grapes, or something where the most nutrition can be had. This shows thought, consideration, and being listened to and the teachers appreciate it.
Consider your gifts like bonuses and upsells to your customers, from you to the community, to further incentivize and remind people why they are your customers. Doing this will pre-program your colleagues, and even some of your students to like you. They might perhaps even feel responsible for ensuring your own well-being as the days, weeks, and months progress, ultimately restoring order and tranquility in an otherwise unpredictable and nerve-frying environment.
And trust me, there will be days where a little gift from someone will keep you from cracking and ending up in a mental institution, so think of it as preventative maintenance. You don’t want to meet Nurse Ratchet, do you?
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