We don’t teach drama and direct shows to receive gifts, but it’s always a nice surprise to receive something in recognition of the effort we put into our work. At the end of the term, or on closing night of your virtual production, your students might just surprise you with a token of their appreciation. Gifts don’t need to be expensive; in fact, the most memorable gifts are usually the ones that are chosen or created with thought and care for the recipient. We had a think about what the best holiday gifts for a drama teacher are and put together a suggestion guide. Happy holidays!
(Spending time and effort, but not a lot of cash.)
- A heartfelt written note, a piece of artwork, or a handmade card created and signed by students.
- A video or digital slideshow of photos and/or memories from class or your virtual production.
- A recording of students performing their teacher’s favourite song, or a recitation of an original poem or spoken word piece about the teacher.
- A signed poster or cast photo from your most recent production, or if students are feeling ambitious, a scrapbook of photographs or handwritten letters and quotes from each cast and crew member.
- If you’ve just closed a production, a small memento that is themed from the show is always nice. For example, some of the memorable gifts I’ve received from various productions included a Rubik’s cube with pictures of the cast and crew members (The Wedding Singer), a vintage 80s rock record (Rock of Ages), a journal and a package of Corn Nuts (Heathers: The Musical), and a set of gorilla-print drink coasters (Tarzan).
(Students may wish to pool together a couple of dollars each and purchase a gift from everyone.)
- A set of pencils personalized with the teacher’s name (so when students borrow them, they know that they have to give them back!).
- A gift card to a local business that the teacher enjoys (many stores offer e-gift cards as well, for both convenience and keeping a safe distance).
- A gift card to a local spa for a massage to work out those aches and pains.
- A pair of blue lens glasses to protect teachers’ eyes from strain after staring at their computer screen all day long.
- Go traditional with a bouquet of flowers — most companies can do contactless delivery.
- A donation to a favourite charity in the teacher’s name.
(Wouldn’t it be awesome if students did these every day, even when it’s not the holidays?)
- For all students to submit all their assignments, on time, without having to be reminded or chased!
- For all students to show up (on time!) for all distance learning sessions, and to participate in every exercise.
- For all students to prepare themselves for class and rehearsals by reviewing the previous day’s material on their own time — without being asked.
- For all students to have their lines memorized on off-book day!
- For all students to approach each exercise with an open mind, a sense of curiosity, and the courage to try, fail, and try again.
- A clean, tidy classroom each and every day.
- An empty inbox over the winter break (in other words, let teachers have a restful holiday and don’t email them!).
- See below for a free printable checklist for your students: What You Can Give Your Drama Teacher Every Day, For No Cost (Yes, They’re Totally Free!)
Gifts to Avoid
(Well-meaning, but maybe not the best choices.)
- Food and beverage items are often lovely gifts, but approach with caution. Food allergies and dietary concerns aren’t always common knowledge shared between teachers and students. For example, it wouldn’t be good to give a gift card to a steakhouse to a teacher who is vegetarian.
- Alcohol-related gifts are not appropriate in a school setting.
- Mugs. Every teacher has about a hundred mugs already.
- Scented items (candles, essential oils, perfumes/colognes) are very nice, but may wreak havoc on a teacher who is sensitive to odors and fragrances.
- Live animals. This may sound out-there, but I have experienced it! My lovely and well-meaning cast of The Little Mermaid presented each member of the artistic staff with a live goldfish in a bowl. Giving someone the gift of a pet is challenging because they may not be prepared or wish to take on the responsibilities of pet ownership. They will have to purchase additional supplies for the pet (food, etc.), or they may have another pet at home already (I own a cat — maybe not the best environment for a fish!). If students have their hearts set on an animal-related gift, a piece of artwork or a plush toy version would be a better choice than a live animal.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
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