Here in the US it’s the end of the school year in many areas and many parents are trying to decide if they are going to organize a pool to combine their money with that from other parents for a class gift for the teacher or if they’re going to give an individual gift.
I haven’t figured out the whole teacher’s gift thing. I’ve heard that teachers really just want gift cards for buying supplies but if there are twenty-some kids in the class and everyone gives gift cards, isn’t that an awful lot of gift cards? Our daughter is in a Spanish-immersion program at our local public school so at Christmas we made loans in the teacher’s honor through Kiva to a number of cooperatives in Spanish-speaking countries, which she seemed to truly appreciate, but I want to do something more personal for her at the year-end.
It’s a hard call. I don’t want to make something that she doesn’t want or need but somehow giving her a plastic-version of cash is somehow a downer to me. I think the reason that I’m so resistant to the gift-card thing is that I want to give her something that will help sustain her enthusiasm for teaching. Teaching can be an exhausting profession and I want her to hold onto her patience and dedication. I know that it’s not realistic to expect that my little year-end gift has that kind of power but I do think that there is something very sincere about a handmade gift.
So this year I started thinking about a tote bag. I’m so hoping that this isn’t in the coffee mug category of gifts that teachers most hate to receive but I think it’s hard to have too many tote bags. (Let the record reflect that my husband does not agree with this statement.) Anyway, a tote bag it is.
To make it special I asked our daughter to draw a portrait of her teacher on paper. Then we scanned it and printed it out on photo transfer fabric sheets and started sewing. I chose a tan canvas for the main part of the bag because I was envisioning this tote bag getting a lot of wear and tear and thought the color would be fine in all seasons. (Let the record also reflect that my daughter wishes it were hot pink.)
My end-of-school-year gift to you is a free download of the pattern for the bag because I’m hoping that you too had a teacher worthy of your creative efforts.