Why Letters From Students are Sweeter Than Homemade Treats

Please Don’t Give Me Homemade Treats: A Teacher’s Plea

Before I begin, I feel the need to provide a disclaimer of sorts. I am a high school teacher, and, in case you didn’t know, gift giving goes way WAY down by the time a child hits middle school and high school. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I am now one of seven teachers, and seven gifts is a lot. It’s also not as cool to publicly like or appreciate your teacher when you’re a teen. I also recognize the fact that I teach at a public school, and the demographic of my students varies. Not all of my students are able to purchase a gift for their teachers. With that said, I am grateful for anything I receive, but please please please try to make it a non-food gift. Here’s why:

I am a stress eater. I will sit at my desk while grading papers and eat an entire bag of fudge by the end of the day. That leads to more stress because now I’ve eaten an entire bag of fudge and I feel like garbage.

I can’t trust every student who brings me a homemade treat. It’s a harsh reality I live in. For some students, I graciously say “thank you!” as they hand me a bag of homemade cookies, and then I throw them out when I get home. You just never know.

I cannot bring another bag of sweets home to my five-year-old. He doesn’t need them. In general, I try to keep -mostly- healthy food in my house. And, if you ask anyone with a small child, the influx of sugar doesn’t help with this already chaotic season.

I realize homemade treats are usually more affordable. Also, I understand that a lot of love goes into making them. Yes, I get that the thought counts. However, this year, instead of sending a tin of cookies or a banana loaf or homemade fudge, how about you try something else?

Have your child write their teacher(s) a brief note.

Did I mention I have a bundle of letters from students tucked away in my desk? After my semester of student teaching, several students wrote me notes, telling me how much they enjoyed their time with me. My mentor teacher told me, “Don’t throw them out! Keep them in a folder in your desk and read them whenever you’re having a rough day or week. You’ll be glad to have kept them.” The minimalist that I am, I would have thrown them out without a second thought, but I kept her advice.

After nine years, I have many letters from students who have shared how I impacted their life or how much they enjoyed my class. Some of them were from my most challenging students. And my mentor teacher was right–I am so grateful to have kept every single one of them. They remind me why I decided to go into teaching in the first place.

So, before you preheat your oven and bust out a bag of chocolate chips, please consider my suggestion.

A note from a student doesn’t cost a thing, but it means so much to a teacher.

Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


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