In my fourteen years as a teacher, I have received dozens of Starbucks gift cards from students, and let me say that I have loved each and every one of them. I never tire of coffee, especially coffee I do not have to pay for. I adore handmade Christmas presents, as well, and I can usually give a good home to cookies, candy, chocolate, and pumpkin bread. Once, for Christmas, a student gave me a banana-sized beanbag full of rice which could be warmed in a microwave, then hung around one’s neck for comfort and relaxation. It was an absolute delight. In truth, though, I am such a lover of Christmas that receiving any gift at all during the month of December genuinely lifts my spirit and restores my confidence that the West is not dead yet.
All that said, dearest parents, there is, in fact, something that teachers want very, very badly for Christmas. When a teacher opens this gift and sees what you have given, that teacher smiles and nods his head and perhaps closes his eyes with silent, though sublime contentment and satisfaction. The teacher who gets this gift brags to all the other teachers of having received it, and when other teachers hear one of their coworkers has received this gift, they moan, like petulant children, “No fair!”
Perhaps, as you read these words, you are thinking, “Whatever could inspire such happiness in a teacher must be quite expensive, and I do not have a lot of money to spend on Christmas gifts for teachers.” Worry not, for the gift I speak of is absolutely free to give, and yet received as though pure gold.
It is only fair for the giver of a gift to want their gift to be memorable, and so a parent might feel dismayed to give a gift of cookies at Christmas, and for the gifted cookies to sit on the teacher’s desk beside a dozen other tins of cookies. However, the gift which so many teachers desire so greatly will be memorable even after many years. The teacher will, in his memory, forever attach the student’s face to this gift and will think often of the gift when grading exams in January.
The gift I speak of is free babysitting.
If the teacher is married and has children under the age of 12 or 13, he dreams of free babysitting. I should note that, while I have little children, my parents moved to town earlier this year, and so I have all the free babysitting I need. Nonetheless, for the four years previous to their move to Richmond, my wife and I went out on dates but two or three times a year. When a paid babysitter is required, a fellow spends forty dollars on a date before he and the lady even leave the house. Most men I know who teach and have little children simply cannot swing that.
Coupons for free babysitting do not merely have a good cash value. Rather, they are incentives to go out. If you give a teacher cash for Christmas, God bless you, although the money might end up going to some material need, like snow tires or groceries. If you give a teacher free babysitting, though, you will give him back a kind of freedom which invigorates his soul. This year, consider giving your child’s 30-something teacher an evening off.