Thursday, May 3, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Questionnaire

A Little Backstory:
As you may remember, Alexander is 3 and this past year (2011-2012) was his first year of school. He has Autism and is in the special needs pre-school program in our county. Putting him in school this young was a pretty scary step for me, so his teachers being as awesome as they are wasn't just a nice lucky surprise but a fantastically wonderful relief! 

After realizing just this past Monday that Teacher Appreciation week would shortly be upon us (next week!), I immediately set to Googling and browsing Pinterest for some great creative gift ideas. I spent about 30 minutes (ok, maybe it was an hour, Pinterest time never quite equals reality time) pulling together a few things on my newly created Teacher Appreciation week board. I found a lot of really cute, inexpensive ideas that I'd love to try. I feel like I owe a particular debt of gratitude to the team that made his first year so pleasant (for both of us) though so I found it difficult to make up my mind on what I would like to give. I did more research and found several surveys, a helpful slide show and one particularly interesting infographic --->
(Right click and open in new tab to view full size)

The general consensus I discovered from my research showed that teachers most often prefer fairly practical gifts (gift cards and school supplies) to cutesy personalized mugs and apple oriented crafts. It was also pointed out that the best way to know what a teacher will really to ask her! (or him.) Quite the novel concept, I know, but I decided to run with it. 

I now knew that I was going to get Alexander's school teachers (he has 3: 1 teacher, 1 parapro, 1 speech therapist) gift cards and I was going to ask them flat out what they would like the gift cards to be for. Of course, I also knew that if I just asked them a generic "what would you like for a gift" question, they would probably say something to the effect of, "oh, you don't have to get us anything," or "oh, anything is fine." I figured it would be easiest to write something up and have them make selections versus asking them individually in person. And so the Alexander's Teachers Questionnaire was born!

Alexander’s Teachers Questionnaire 

Teacher’s Name: _________________________________________________

Favorite Restaurants: (Circle Top Two)

On the Border
Red Robin
Olive Garden
Macaroni Grill
Longhorn Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse
Red Lobster
P.F. Changs
Dunkin Donuts
Other: (Please list) ________________

Favorite School Supply Store: (Circle One)
Office Depot
Barnes and Noble

How would you rate Getting a Manicure/Pedicure or Massage on a scale of 1-10? (1 = Hurts and I hate it / 10 = Heaven on earth) _______

Please rate going out to eat, shopping for school supplies, and getting a mani/pedi in order of “Most Interested/Preferred Activity.” ______________________________________________________________________________

Anything else Alexander should know about you as Teacher Appreciation Week approaches?

I added the Mani/Pedi option after really giving some thought to what I (as a woman and mother) would most like to receive as a gift. Both Alexander's teacher and his parapro rated the mani/pedi as their most preferred activity so I figure I had a good idea. I shot them an email this morning asking if either of them had a favorite nail salon. They came back saying that yes they did and also how much they appreciated my kindness! I'm so glad I went with asking instead of continuing my desperate brain wracking trying to guess which things they would like best!

Due to the success of my little experiment, here is a similar questionnaire for those of you out there who find yourself wondering what to get for those hard working teachers we love so much! (Click here for a google doc version)
(jpeg format)

(I know the mani/pedi part probably wouldn't work for a man teacher but hey you never know!)

Don't be embarrassed to ask a teacher to fill this out! Unless you're the exception to the rule and see your child's teacher outside of school on a regular basis, you probably haven't really had the opportunity to become best friends. This means there's no reason in the world why you should have the first clue what his/her favorite restaurant would be, etc. I think offering them an opportunity to tell you what they would like most is really the most considerate way to go about this, and the teachers in your life will probably agree and appreciate that gesture in and of itself.

I'm sooo happy to have the chance to give these wonderful ladies a hint at how much their work has meant to our family this year! I hope they already know how wonderful I think they are!

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