Monday 19 December 2011

Christmas Presents

It's difficult to escape the topic at this time of year - teachers all over the world must be comparing their Christmas presents from the students. For a couple of years I watched as my colleagues got bottles of wine, chocolate, "best teacher" mugs and even £200 (!). And though I know there is not a vastly well supported correlation between "number of presents" and "quality of teacher", it nagged at me.

This year, however, my students went to town. A2 students bought me spirits - a litre of Baileys and a litre of tequila (they know me very well...). One gave me a necklace she'd asked to be sent over from Kenya. There's a nice little box of Ferrero Rocher too. I took part in my BTEC students' Secret Santa, and received a gorgeous perfume set from one lad who managed to keep his identity secret for about half a millisecond. And then I had this:

This had me in tears in the staffroom. Hand-drawn and painted by one of my AS students. It's hanging up at home now.

As sickly sweet and sacchariney it is, of course the thing I've found most touching has been what has accompanied each present - "thank you for all your help". In a line right out of Hallmark, the knowledge that I have helped these students in some way, through proof-reading personal statements, writing UCAS references, advising on university choices, counselling through personal grief, and spending one-to-one time with them on biology, chemistry and physics work, is the best Christmas present of all.

Though the booze definitely helps.

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