Wednesday, December 11, 2013


End of Semester Gifts for students

I posted before about presents I suggest students bring for their teachers. In all fairness this blog talks about gifts I can give my students. I've seen this done a lot of different ways and I'll go over five of my favorites.

To start, why do I try to give students presents? Usually after a semester I really feel that I have bonded with my students. They've grown, I've grown. We've all grown. I feel like together we helped make each other better. It may also make them like English a little better, which is helpful for the next teacher they have.

1. Have an auction. Some teachers use a points system for participation. Other teachers give out these points (stickers or play money) but they don't use them for a grade. At the end of the semester, they hold an auction and auction off goodies to the students. It is a great chance to practice English for the EFL classes, but all classes get competitive as they bid on silly items. Go to your local dollar store and pick up frames, glasses, silly straws etc. I also know teachers that simply take this time to clean out their office / house and gift old puzzles, toys and other items. Students love this!

A local cafe I can take small classes
2. Take them out. Due to costs I can only do this with small classes, but I like to take them off campus. We grab a coffee (my treat) and just talk. In the end I thank them all for their time and effort in class and give them each a thank you letter from me detailing what I enjoyed most about having them in my class and including my e-mail to keep in touch should they need me in the future. I know other teachers who have dinners at their house. If your district allows this and your students are of the age where it is appropriate, then great! If you can have a small pizza party and invite parents even better.

3. Give a punny note. Sometimes I have too many students to take out, or I don't have the time to write them each heartfelt letters. In that case, I embrace the inner cheeseball that I am and give each student a small note attached to a pencil, eraser, or candy. They all groan at my corniness, but I usually get a few chuckles out of them. This works well for me even though I teach older students, but that's because I often use these puns for teaching pronunciation. If you are interested in doing something like this using your favorite search engine (or pimterest) should turn up lots of fun ideas! Even easier, to get a free pdf sheet of owls (like above) simply share this page with a tweet and you'll be taken to the file.             

Sample pages
The cover
(names covered)

4. Make it personal! I don't mean that you make them something (though that is an option!). Take something they have made. For example, before my students work on The Walrus and the Carpenter I give them each a stanza and have them illustrate it. Then we go through and discuss words they didn't know and what they think the poem will be about. We read the poem together and discussed the differences and made note of what the new vocabulary meant in context. Then I collected their drawings and never mentioned them again. At the end of the year I give them each a little photocopied book of the Walrus and the Carpenter illustrated by them! If your students have written a book, or a poem and did it well framing it and giving it back to them at the end of the year is a nice gift.

5. Make it yummy! These days of dietary restrictions (gluten free, peanut allergy, etc.) can be hard, but if you cook something that is permitted on campus go ahead and bring in some brownies or cookies. Even better! Keep it related to English by giving them the recipe. Then they will remember you every time they start to make a batch of your famous treacle. If you can combine this with number three, it makes it an affordable goodbye they'll always remember.

What did I miss? What do you do for your students at the end of your time together?

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