By Teachers, For Teachers
As this time of year rolls around, I have to admit to getting a little excited about some of the gifts that students and their families give in appreciation for a year as their science teacher.
Usually, I receive a smorgasbord of edible treats, gift cards, and some unique items. Equally diverse, however, is the abundance of gifts that may come from the heart but will likely end up in a dumpster.
In no particular order, and with appreciation for the effort and expense that goes into giving teacher gifts, here is my top five list of gifts that I would rather never receive again.
1. Any “For Dummies” Book. This one is a little ego-centric, but I can’t help but be a little insulted when someone gives me one of this books. I picture the student or parent walking through the bookstore and stopping in front of this section and saying out loud, “You know who could use one of these books? My science teacher.”
2. Candles. Yes, I know that in a vocation dominated by women, we male teachers have to be patient with families that are not accustomed to our interests. But, really? I have never, and will never, burn scented candles recreationally. Aside from the occasional power outage or birthday cake, I do not have any need for candles.
3. Bath/Body products. See #1. Unless you know of a skin condition that I am not aware of, lotions are not even close to my “most wanted” list.
4. Intelligent Design “literature”. Any gift that could be considered propaganda is probably not a good idea for any recipient whom you respect, but Creationism’s favorite back door into the Science classroom is the worst kind of pseudo-science. Count me out.
5. Self-help products. No one really likes being told that others view them as needing improvement, but the brand that is sometimes given to me include weight-loss tools, baldness remedies, and advice on how to attract women (Note: I am a happily married man).
It is a sad fact that I have received examples from each of these categories as year-end gifts at least once over the past five years. Hopefully, publishing this list will prevent torture like this from being administered to other Science teachers in the future. But, let’s not call it “Teacher Gifts for Dummies”.