Coming Out on TpT

       Are you a closet TpTer? Do people at your school know that you create and sell teaching resources on the best teaching site the Internet has to offer? Are they happy for you? Does it cause problems?
       I saw a teacher's recent post in the TeachersPayTeachers forums that was sharing her experience of teachers (and principals) at her school finding out that she bought and sold on She was asking:

       Q: How do you keep normal relationships with people on your campus when they learn you have a 2nd job selling teaching resources?

       Our thoughts:
       The best way I've found is to give give give. I give all my stuff away at my school. I create all kinds of stuff for what we're studying/teaching and hand it out like candy.
       Some of them still end up buying some even though I tell them not to, that I'll give it to them.
       But I'm of a mind to think that this is the best way always. Give give give. It might seem weird and counter-intuitive because it's your hard worked stuff, but it's the best heart to have. And when it really is your heart, people think you're genuine and one of them...because you are.
       Our two cents.

       Your thoughts?

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Goldfish Minds

       On some days, it can be so hard to inspire our students. Or even get their attention. The latest research attention spans of humans might give a glimpse into why.
       For the first time in the history of keeping track of such things, humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
       So you had better believe it that I showed my student this nonfiction document and discussed what it means for them and their studies.
       And since we have talked about it, I have used it to refocus them every once in awhile. "Class, or should I say goldfish," I will start saying and regain their attention. And by lumping myself in with them, I've made sure to communicate that this isn't condescending ... just eye-opening and a reminder to be all that we can be...and a group recognition of what technology and the flow of society is making us. We must resist! We must swim against the flow!
       So what do you think about this research? These Ideas? Is this true for your students? What age are you teaching?

       Your thoughts?

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What Gifts Do Teachers Like to Receive? Teachers tell all the Best and Worst presents from students...
       The holiday season is upon us, and many families want to show the teachers of their children how grateful they are for all they do.  
       But what gifts do teachers like to receive? Gifts are not expected, and in reality the gift that is given out of a feeling of obligation is often just a waste . . . the teachers' lounges fill with sweets from teachers that know it would be soooooo unhealthy for them if they ate all of that (although some of us really like them ;-)).  
       We realize we risk seeming ungrateful, but the truth is teachers get some gifts that can be downright befuddling sometimes.  
       We asked fellow teachers what gift was the most memorable and what are some gifts they prefer not to receive.  
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports Hughes from Created by MrHughes
       He teaches 6th grade 1/2 day and is also the administrator of his school.
       "Just getting ANY gift is much appreciated - and rare in my school!
       "I love to receive gift cards to common stores - Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart. I use them to purchase items for my classroom. 
The most meaningful gift I received was a $5 bill from a student. I had given all my students a small package that had a couple of books, some office supplies, and a extra credit gift certificate. Afterwards, a student that had been a stinker all year approached me. I was certain he was going to give back my gift, or, worse, criticize it. instead he held out a $5 bill. I asked him what it was for. With tears in his eyes, he said, "Mr. Hughes, I didn't get you anything." I smiled and thanked him for this thoughtfulness, but told him I couldn't take it. Just knowing he wanted me to have it was enough. Now with tears running down his face, he again asked me to take it. I did take it, and I think it is still in my desk drawer as a reminder that kids are more amazing than we ever give them credit for."

Carrie Curry of Curry's Creations 
       6th grade Language Arts and Literature
       "The type of gifts I enjoy receiving are gift cards. I don't get out much but this forces me out of the house and to spend on me and not my kids or students.  I am appreciative of everything I receive. In middle school, we don't see many gifts so the fact that they thought of me makes me smile!" Phelps from A Learning Moment 
       Transitional Kindergarten
       "I received a coffee mug (I'm known for coffee) from a student last year that he decorated all by himself. He used foam stickers to spell his name, my name, and say Merry Christmas. Personalized gifts that are handmade are super meaningful to me." Mr. Educator - A Social Studies Professional
       7th and 8th grade Social Studies
       "I enjoy cards from my students where they write a simple thank you, note, or message.  I work in a high poverty school so monetary gifts typically are not common, and can create animosity toward students who cannot afford to do this too.  Many students also bring in baked goods which I think is neat since it is more heartfelt, however I typically refrain from eating anything they bring in :)"

       4-5 Special Education
       "The most meaningful gifts are those the children make or select.  The most meaningful gift I ever received came from an extremely economically disadvantaged student.  He was so proud to give me the used card that looked like it had also been used as someone’s place mat!  Mom would bring him to school early during official time changes (daylight savings) since she said she didn’t know which way to turn the clock and she reported she had to fight with him to take a bath because they didn’t have hot water.  I know this was a precious gift in his heart! I kept it hung on my mirror at home for years."        
       She taught 7th and 8th grade math 
       "During my time in the classroom I enjoyed receiving any and all gifts from my students that had meaning behind them. When a student puts thought into a present for you based on things that you have learned about them or they have learned about you then it truly is meaningful. My most prized items are some owls that I added to my collection, handmade cards/posters and of course gift cards!" Perro 
       She taught Middle School Math
       "My favorite gifts were practical ones. I adored tumblers, coffee mugs... basically anything to drink from! Oh and coffee gift cards were great too! Can you sense a theme here? Coffee related gifts = favorite gifts!"
Bri McGriff from Knowledge Mobile
       She taught fifth grade in Arkansas. She now develops curriculum for an afterschool program.
       "During our biome unit, I mentioned that I loved penguins. The day before winter break, I found a little stuffed penguin from Dean on my desk. It was just cute, kind, and thoughtful."
The Teacher Team
       Carol teaches 6th this year     
       John teaches 11 & 12 Science

       "John has worked in a Title I School his entire career, and Carol has worked in a mix of Title I schools as well as school in more affluent neighborhoods. We would have to agree that the best teacher gifts ever have been the gift of homemade food given by children that come from families who were extremely poor, so these were true gifts from their hearts. 

       The homemade tamales freely given were not only the most amazing and delicious foods we’ve ever had, but so appreciated. Besides homemade tamales, homemade “posole or pozole” (a pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico) was given one year, in a big pot that the family sent home with me, with a paper plate with all of the different sliced, fresh vegetables that you put on the top of the soup as a garnish. Truly gifts of the heart!" W. from Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching        
       Second grade teacher
       "The best teacher gifts let the teacher know you value them. Two of my favorites are a beautiful Glass Apple, and a teacher plaque.  Another great idea is enclosing a gift card to or another universal easy to get to store and personalizing a hand or computer made card.  I keep those too." Means from Primary Flourish 
       Retired – second grade for last 5 years of teaching
       "The most meaningful gift I ever received as a Christmas gift was from my entire class of 2nd graders.  We had recently read Papa Panov's Christmas by Leo Tolstoy and discussing how we all had so much stuff and we were looking at ways to give at Christmas – not just focus on getting.  So they gave me a goat! - not for me, but given in my name to a poor family in Africa. (through World Vision)  That is really the only gift I ever remember when I think of gifts from my students."
Two Creative Teachers
       Grades One and Two 
       "We are so blessed to receive gifts. It is such a beautiful gesture of thanks that is always appreciated. We love personal, homemade gifts that kids and parents have put effort into. We also love bath products or things that help us relax."

KinderLit (there are two of us who own KinderLit)
       "We teach in a very poor area of Phoenix with immigrants from all over the world and rarely receive gifts.  But many years ago, I had a set of parents who knew I loved to play golf and gave me a gift certificate for a round!  With the high price of golf in Phoenix, it was very well appreciated.  My business partner still wears the naked Santa earrings that she received one year but only to our staff Christmas party! 
       One year we requested in advance that anyone who wanted to give us a present could buy something like a book for our classroom.  We sent home the Scholastic Book Club form and received several nice sets for our class library." Turtle Teacher
       "I enjoy receiving gift cards to my favorite stores inside a homemade card from the student." Sherri 
       Middle School English Language Arts 
       "The holiday gifts I have kept the longest and treasured the most are the hand-written notes of appreciation received from both students and parents that remind me why I chose to become a teacher! The 10-year-old holiday card from Brandon that says, “Thank you for introducing me to mysteries. Reading is my new favorite hobby!” still makes me all smiles and the card from Amanda’s mom that reads, “Thank you for caring enough about Amanda to help her improve her reading skills. For the first time in a long time, her confidence is growing and she is talking about becoming a teacher herself. The best thing is, she believes she can teach! Thank you for giving her that gift!” just melts my heart every year when I re-read it!"
Inline image 1Designed By MsD
       1/2 day 6th grade, 1/2 day Principal
       "The most meaningful gifts I have received are the homemade ones that have some thought put into them. One of my favorite gifts I received from a student was a name plate to put on my desk created from Scrabble tiles. Another one was a scarf and hat crocheted by a student and her mother. Perhaps the best gift of all? A simple Thank-You."

http://theclasscouple.weebly.comBecky from Wim's Winners TPT Store/The Class Couple Blog
       First Grade
       "Although I never expect gifts from my students, I do appreciate the fact that my students have thought of me during the holiday season.  I enjoy gifts that I can use in the classroom like new/gently used books for our classroom library, stickers, fun pencils and erasers, glue, etc."'s Synonyms
       Grade 2
       "Are you like me? When you're reading a book to your class do you use random pieces of paper to hold your spot? Sticky notes, scrap papers.. you name it and I will use it as a 'book mark'. 
       "When I received this gift 10 years ago, it was shiny, sparkly and just gorgeous (it still is beautiful, even with the missing stones!). But this isn't why I love it so much... I love it because this gift wasn't a parent's idea of what to get me.  This gift idea came straight from my student’s heart. Observant and ever so thoughtful, this 6 yr old child knew the true spirit of giving. It really isn’t about the ‘thing’’s the thought that goes behind it!" Lisa from Created for Learning 
       Taught 1st and 2nd grade
       "I guess the most meaningful gifts from students are the things I actually kept.  I've kept a canvas bag that had pictures on it from the first class I was a teacher aide in and that bag is filled with all the thoughtful handwritten cards, pictures, and letters from students and parents from my years teaching. I also kept a silver plated hippopotamus paper weight that was given to me by a super smart and funny first grade student from the class I student taught in. I didn't keep it for what it was but for what he said when he gave it to me . . . there were three teachers in his class that year and he picked a hippo for me because I am "so silly and fun." I also loved gift cards for Starbucks, ice cream stores, or restaurants."

Gifts that some teachers do not appreciate receiving:

  • Boxed Chocolate Candy
  • The traditional "teacher gift" meaning anything apple themed, ABC 123, etc. UGH!
  • Chocolate cherries. Blech!
  • Mugs
  • Chocolate
  • Shortbread 
  • Wine
  • Lotions
  • Handmade gadgets
  • Coffee mugs
  • Candles
  • Shelf trinkets 
  • Perfumes
  • Mugs and candles. Candles are nice, but with little ones at home, they do not get used.
  • Lotions or scents that I probably will never wear because I didn't pick them
  • Store bought chocolates, because I really receive more than I can eat
  • Half-eaten boxes of chocolates and open bottles of cologne!  Maybe the kids found these around the house and gave them without their parents' knowledge. 
  • Clothes - Please don't try to guess my size.
  • Food. I have special eating requirements due to illnesses and receiving food breaks my heart because 99% of the time I can't eat it and I don't want to offend anyone by giving gifts back.  
  • I do not enjoy receiving monetary gifts or gift cards.  Once I had a student give me a $50 gift card to Outback Steakhouse -- while this was certainly a nice gesture, and other students did not know about this -- word soon traveled among the staff members about what I received and this caused hurt feelings since other teachers who had the same student didn't receiving anything.
So what should you give your kid's teacher?

You may have noticed that some gifts that were the most memorable for a teacher are also on the list for gifts some teachers do not enjoy getting.  

If you want to get a teacher a gift . . . think of the teacher and what they like. 
Teachers often feel like they go a long time without positive feedback about what they are doing and how much thoughtfulness and care they are putting towards their job.  What does your specific teacher enjoy?  Get creative.  Have fun.  It doesn't need to be anything extravagant to be memorable.  A gift out of obligation can sometimes be nice but usually the most meaningful to a teacher are the ones given from the heart and thoughtfulness of the student.    

Thanks to all the teachers who shared their thoughts and stories!

What gifts would you add to our lists of best and worst?!?! Tell us in the comments.
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports
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