We've just been through the Christmas holidays and with that comes the inevitable teacher gift season. At least if you work in an elementary school. Once you get to the middle school level the gift-giving is usually not of the good kind.
I was lucky? enough over the course of years when I substituted to have been on some long-term assignments right before the holidays and received some gifts myself. I have a few teacher mugs, tree ornaments, candles, boxes of candy, etc. The last year that I actually worked in the classroom as an aide with a SPED teacher and a 3rd grade teacher, we all were privileged to get a lovely gift of a framed pink flamingo - complete with feathers, in a white lattice frame.
Of course when you open up these gifts in front of the students you give them the look of awe and say that it's beautiful. Because you never really know if the child has done the shopping or the parent. I've found the prouder the child is of the gift, the more likely they were the one who picked it out. Then you put it aside and think to yourself "what in the world were they thinking?" or "what the hell am I going to do with that?"
A teacher once told me she calls those kind of gifts "gosunders" - the ones that go under the bed until you find someone else to regift it too. You never want to put them up for sale in a garage sale you're having if you live in the town you teach in. And you don't want to put them in the holiday gift collection box around the holidays just in case the parents are on the wrapping committee. So you save them for donations to white elephant or penny sales that your mother, or grandmother or great aunt's "club" is having. Of course, you're doomed to keep it if it has your name on it.
Now not all gifts are worthy of regifting. There are those that you just have to keep as a gag gift for someone (the pink flamingo worked well in this category), or as a conversation piece. And usually, it's pretty tacky to try to pass off baked goods to someone else as something you've baked yourself. Boxed candy is okay though - that is, unopened boxed candy.
In our district parents are encouraged to make a donation to the education foundation in the teacher's name and the donations go to assembly programs and school grants. It's a nice idea and keeps the chocki's off your desk. But I've gotten off track.
What I wanted to share was a story of a regifting incident from this week.
I was approached by one of our teachers with an inquisitive look and the question
"You collect birds don't you?"
"I have a bird, and I like birds, but I don't collect them. Why do you ask?"
"Well, I got this gift from a student. It's really cute, but I just don't have a place for it and I thought you might like it. Would you like to see it?"
And she ran back to her classroom to get it. It was really quite nice. A little ceramic bird in a cushioned box. As I took it out I said
"It's nice. It looks like a lovebird. What kind of bird is it?"
"Well, that's the funny part. The students asked the same thing. Turn it over."
"It's a Blue" and I burst out laughing.
"Yes, that's exactly what I said. It's a Blue"
"Oh my God, it's a Blue Tit."
What were they thinking!