Ever since large boy started school and I discovered the joys of making my own fruit gin (coincidentally the same year, or was it a coincidence?), I’ve made gifts for teachers and TAs for Christmas and the end of the summer term.
I love giving them something we’ve made at home – if I’ve put 100th the effort into making these things compared to what they do every day, that’s the best acknowledgement I can share.
At Christmas I do jam and sometimes mincemeat, in the past I’ve done homemade chocolates but they didn’t turn out brilliantly.
Anyway, here’s a round up of our “end of school year” appreciation presents for the boys’ teachers and TAs.
I happen to know that the teachers of both boys this year love their gin. So it’s not just an easy choice but one I know they’ll enjoy too.
Here’s some of last year’s batch decanted into the little bottles I’ve been collecting all year. I didn’t have quite enough little ones so one teacher is getting a bigger bottle.
You can find out more about how I made the gin in my production and bottling post from 2020. I raided the collection of empty bottles in the cupboard, sterilising them and then filling them with a selection of the fruit gins I made last autumn. Each TA will get a medium bottle of bullace gin, small boy’s teacher the big bottle of elderberry and large boy’s teacher gets a selection to try (I know she loves gin so I want her to have some choices).
Years and years ago a colleague gave me a little money tree. It’s now a couple of feet tall and has donated countless branches to pot on and give to other friends and family. This year, large boy and I went to B&M and chose some pretty cups (I love a plant in a tea cup), then we broke off some branches and set them to sprout in some compost. Looking pretty good:
Small boy tells me that one of his TAs loves giraffes so we picked a cup that we knew she’d really appreciated. Large boy has been learning about the rainforest this term so the leafy ones will go to the staff in his class. I think its a great exercise for the boys to think about the likes and dislikes of the people they’re giving gifts to, it helps them plan things that will be appreciated – rather than getting them chocolate and nerf guns because that’s what the boys themselves would like to receive!
Jars of good stuff
Lastly, we’re adding a couple jar or two of goodies. Everyone’s getting some marmalade and, because I didn’t have enough little bottles for the gin, there’s chutney for the TAs too. I hope these will make for some tasty treats over the summer for the teaching staff.
We’ve got a shed load of paper bags (from when school announced and then changed their mind over disposable packed lunches) and some stencils. So we’re also decorating some bags to give the teachers on the last day in a few weeks. Some stencils hastily ordered from Amazon and a bunch of sharpies and we had a nice quiet hour designing messages.
Nearer the end of term, we’ll make some cards. Maybe like these again, maybe something different. I’ll be turning to Pinterest for inspiration. I’d really like the boys to write little poems out for their teachers too, but I’m not sure whether that’ll be a step too far. They’re tired and it’s been a long haul since Christmas, so if they aren’t fancying extra writing duties, I won’t force them.
Does this all seem like we’re making a lot of fuss? It might seem like a lot of effort, but honestly I spread it all out over the year and one batch of marmalade might last me three years of gifts depending on how much I make and what jars I have. For me, it’s really worth it too. My parents were teachers and my mum got thoroughly overwhelmed by chocolates every year, I think she would have loved something a bit different.
Do you do anything special for teachers? Or are you a teacher with dozens of matching “world’s best teacher” mugs and tea towels?