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is it rude to ask for books?
Old 07-30-2006, 05:24 AM
 
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I wish there was some polite way to ask for books when parents are spending money on me in ways that I really wish they wouldn't!

I teach in an affluent district, although I'm not what you would call "affluent." :-) Teachers at our school do have a budget, and I can get some books with the money, but not as many as I need to build my library. Everytime I get a gift certificate from a parent for a place that I really will never use (like a spa), I feel like-- oh, if that were only $___ to spend on books!!

PLEASE don't think I'm ungrateful!! I really appreciate their kindness- I do. But it's just that I need books!

Do you think it's rude to like put a list of books on my website as kind of a wish list? How do I tell parents that I would rather books than other gifts? I'd put books on my list that were less than $5, so there could be something for all price ranges! Help!

Sincerely,
Not ungrateful, just in need :-)


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Asking for books
Old 07-30-2006, 05:40 AM
 
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Here is what a first grade teacher in our school does. She suggests that when children are celebrating their birthday in the class, an option either instead of or along with their birthday treat is to donate a book of their choice to the classroom library. She puts a special label inside the book with the child's name and year. I have also encouraged children in my classroom to donate books (with their parents' permission of course), that they might be done reading and do not wish to read again. I also teach in an affluent district, and it is amazing to me the amount of money these kids can drop at Borders and not use the library in town. (Of course, better there than the aracade). Another way is at our annual Book Fair, the librarian hosts a time before school when teachers are invited to browse the Book Fair with a list. We write our "wish list" of titles. Our Fair is generally before Christmas, and many parents opt to buy an item or two off the wish list for our holiday gift. The Book Fair also offers gift certificates. I got one this year, and that was even better because I got to choose how to spend it on the books. I also don't see anything wrong with listing books on your website. I would write something like "Many parents often ask me how they can contribute to our classroom's learning activities. Books are an integral part of our day in my classroom, and I am continually in the process of adding to our classroom library. Here are some titles that we would especially love to add." That way, there's no pressure, but for those who want to help, you are providing a specific way to do so. If you have room mothers, you could also slip them a hint or two throughout the year that you are in need of books. We generally get a gift from the class at the end of the year, so maybe they would then know to gear it to a bookstore.
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Not at all
Old 07-30-2006, 05:42 AM
 
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I put up a wish list every year. I place a variety of things on the list including books. If parent want to buy they can, but they don't feel obligated. In fact for Teacher Appreciation week our school has us fill out a favorites survey and they mail it to the parents. Parents want to buy you things and they would like to get you things you will use and are helpful to the class.
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Old 07-30-2006, 05:55 AM
 
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Thank you so much for your replies... I will definately think about "dropping hints" and putting that little message on my website.

The problem I have is that parents still are always trying to spend money on personal gifts to me... I actually had a parent ask me one time what my best teacher friend down the hall might like for an end of the year gift from the entire class. I thought it was so nice that she asked, and so (because my friend is just like me) I said that she would love a Barnes and Nobles gift card. The parent actually said, "Nah." I asked her why not, and she said because that's not actually FOR her, that's for her class.

I wish people would see that teachers are different like that!! I WANT things for my class more than for myself! Aagh!
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Old 07-30-2006, 06:12 AM
 
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Our our curriculum night, when I am telling the parents personal things about me, I always slip in that I love to shop at Target and I am a huge reader. Go figure, at gift time, I often get Target and Borders gift cards.

I don;t do it for the gifts obviously, but if a parent is going to spend their money on me, I would prefer it is on something i can use, rather than another bath and body set or candle. Of course, I am very thankful for anything I get, I just prefer those gift cards!


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The Giving Tree
Old 07-30-2006, 07:41 AM
 
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I've heard of teachers who make a big tree out of bulletin board paper outside of their rooms for open house and label it The Giving Tree. On it, they have pieces of paper (or leaves) that have different items on them that the the classroom could use. Then the parents can take a leaf and donate that item. This also would keep from acquiring duplicate items.

Also, I know that we don't like to spend our own money on things for the classroom, but I have a ton of books and this is how I got them. I do scholastic orders and save up my bonus points until the end of the year and order the classroom library. You get 100 books for $99 or 50 books for $49. I use my points though and it doesn't cost me anything! I also check the catalog each month month and use some of the points on books I really want! Check your local libraries and find out when they have their annual book sales. My mom has gotten great deals there for me. Books for 10 cents! I also have gone to Goodwill and The Salvation Army for books. Again, these books are very inexpensive. I think I got some Berenstain Bear books for 25 cents! These are slightly used, but I like that better because I don't get too upset if something happens to them!

Last edited by Socks; 07-30-2006 at 08:01 AM..
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Bookfairs
Old 07-30-2006, 07:54 AM
 
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If your school does Scholastic bookfair, they can choose to take their profit in books (I just learned this last year). If they're not doing that, suggest they do and then divide the proceeds evenley between the classrooms. I always get at least a few books. This year, a parent in my class was running the bookfair and knew how much I love books (and someone had stolen my entire set of Spiderwick books). With everything "buy one get one free" I we got double the profit amount... in addition to what the profit would cover, this mother bought me everything else on my list! Also, we had a back order, and they sent serveral wrong titles. When she called them about shipping back the wrong ones, they told her just to keep them and donate them to the library. They were mostly paperbacks, and our librarian won't use paperbacks.. so, she got wnat hardbacks there were, and I got ALL the paperbacks... :-D

It's a great way to get a few books. Another thing PTO has done is give us a 25.00 gift certificate to spend, and we get $50.00 worth of books, since it's "buy one get one free".. :-D

Scholastic bookfairs are great! Check into it if your school isn't doing it.
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Request on website
Old 07-30-2006, 08:15 AM
 
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I'm going to follow NJ Teacher's advice by putting a request on my website (when it's up and running!!!!!!!!!).

We'll need to post after the year begins to say what we all did and how it worked for us.
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book request...
Old 07-30-2006, 08:35 AM
 
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My teaching partners and I have sent notes home around Christmas and when gifts would be an issue. You may say something like "In leiu (SP???) of gifts, please consider donating a book to our class library." That is what we have done in the past.

Amy
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:17 AM
 
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Thanks, Ilvtching! That sounds like a good solution! I'm assuming no one got offended by that?


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Wish Tree
Old 07-30-2006, 10:20 AM
 
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A teacher at our school made a tree outside her classroom door that had paper apples on it. She let parents know that the apples had items that would be useful for the classroom. Parents could come by and take an apple w/ the item that they would be able to donate to the classroom. The parents didn't even have to come into the classroom, they could just take an apple if they happened to be in the school.
As thee school year went on she would change the apples to leaves or snowflakes to match the season.
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books
Old 07-30-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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I have heard of teachers asking for the student to buy a gift for the class instead of the teacher for special occasions. I did not think that was rude at all.
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It depends on the age of the kids you teach
Old 07-30-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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but my fifth graders are always asking me questions about what I do on my off time, where I go and what restaurants I eat at. They think they are being sly. I always talk about Target, Walmart, The Bread Co., Borders, Barnes and Noble, Olive Garden and so on. Then it is amazing that I get several gift cards for those places for holidays and end of school and stuff.

THey also ask me where I got that book or supply because they want one too. It is a snaky way of getting what you want.
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I too would love classroom materials
Old 07-30-2006, 02:09 PM
 
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I've made the mistake of keeping a candle (for the great aroma) on my desk that I don't burn. The kids seem to think that I like candles which I do from my favorite local candle store and in my favorite scents. I end up getting all kinds of candles for Christmas that I would never be able to use. Instead I would love to get classroom materials or books. A gift certificate to the local teacher store would be the ultimate gift. I had one parent this year that was friends with a teacher freind of mine. She told her about a math board that I wanted that cost $80.00. She ordered it for me around November and told me that was my present for the year. I was so very grateful. I was going to have to spend my own money for it. I still feel a little guilty about posting a wish list on my website. One thing that another school in my district did was that the PTA gave the kids a booklet with the whole staff listed in it. It included some things that they would like personally and a wish list for their classroom. I wish someone would do that for us. That way it takes the burden off of you. Someone mentioned about the book fair. Our PTA gave all the money that they had to buy books to the librarian for the library. I know that way it is there for everyone. I just like to have everything that I need to teach a lesson or use in my classroom at my fingertips. I don't want to run to the school lobrary every time I need a book.
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Book gift certificates from the class
Old 07-30-2006, 04:31 PM
 
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The answer to the parent who seemed to think a Barnes and Noble gift certificate wouldn't be used for the teacher would be, "She wouldn't be limited to necessarily spend it all on the classroom. There are also adult books of all kinds, CDs and a Starbucks in there!" Seriously, I have been teaching a long time and I have many books in the classroom (storage becomes an issue). A boy in my class gave me a $30 Borders card at the end of the year. I used this one for a travel guide for my upcoming Disney trip and on a paperback book for the plane. I have also used parts of cards like these to purchase a hardback fiction bestseller I normally wouldn't spend the money on, but one I was dying to read. Of course, the majority of the gift most years goes right back into the classroom, but the parents who think it isn't enough of a personal "gift" don't need to know that.
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