Teacher Appreciation Idea with a Twist

rosemary bread teacher gift

In my last post, I shared a banana bread recipe baked in mini loaf pans that I wrapped up to give as teacher appreciation gifts. Most people have a family banana bread recipe, so it is not that new and exciting. I was thinking it might be a nice twist to bake a breakfast bread recipe that may not be as widely recognized. I pulled out a recipe I have for Rosemary-Olive Oil Bread because I needed a few more teacher sirsees this week. This is a savory bread, and a slice tastes REALLY good toasted.

rosemary bread sliced

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pam or Crisco
  • standard loaf pan (8″x 4″) or 3 mini loaf pans (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray or grease the pan with Crisco.
  • In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, pine nuts, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and lemon zest.

rosemary bread dry ingredients

  • In another bowl, blend the eggs, apple juice, and olive oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

rosemary bread dry and wet ingredients

  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth the surface.

rosemary bread pan

  • Bake 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

rosemary bread baked

Notes

  • The pine nuts can be replaced with chopped walnuts or pecans. You can also use a combination of nuts if you only have a 1/4 cup of pine nuts and need to add a few pecans to make 1/2 cup. This combination has been tested and approved.
  • If using mini loaf pans, fill about halfway with batter. I get about 3 mini loaves per recipe. Reduce the cooking time for the mini size. After about 30 minutes, watch until the top is browned, then test the center to determine if the rosemary bread is baked through.
  • Wrap with parchment paper and have kids decorate with stickers to give as gifts.
  • These work well as a teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, or housewarming present.

rosemary bread cooling

Sick Day

missed work page

Just about every kid illness has swept my class this year. Since December, students missed school due to the flu, strep, a throw-up virus, fever virus, that unnamed “yuck” stuff where a child does not run a fever but can barely get his head up off the desk, and lice. I have also had absences for a variety of other reasons.

Student absences fall into two categories. Teachers are tolerant about the first group and get irritated about the other. Make-up work is hard on students and teachers. Students never perform as well completing work days after the rest of the class finished it. Logistically, teachers hate tracking the make-up work, and things get overlooked. Bottom line, if it is at all possible to have your kids at school, get them there.

Excused Absences: An excused absence is typically due to illness where a child is running a fever, and a doctor note can be provided. At my school, excused absences also include a close family member’s wedding (or funeral), religious holidays, and family emergencies.

  1. If parents let the school know about the absence first thing in the morning, most teachers have a MISSED WORK form. They can gather missed assignments and send it home with a sibling, a neighbor, or leave it at the school’s front desk where a parent can pick it up at the end of the day.
  2. Do not expect make-up work before the end of the day. It takes almost the same amount of time I spend teaching a lesson to gather books, make a list of assignments, and provide teacher notes.
  3. If a parent requests make-up work be left at the front office, the parent better PICK IT UP. I have arrived at school the day following a student absence to see the pile of books still sitting on the counter in the office. I’m pissed. Organizing sick assignments usually takes an entire planning period. When parents do not collect the work, it makes me feel like they do not have respect for my limited time during the day.
  4. If we send work home with a sibling or neighbor, ATTEMPT TO DO THE WORK (see #3). I have kids return from an absence all the time telling me they did not even look at the assignment sheet I carefully completed.
    • Sometimes there are situations where students aren’t able to complete any assignments that go home. Contact the teacher and make arrangements to complete any missed work when the child returns. Don’t make the teacher go through the trouble of creating the make-up work packet when you know it is not possible for the child to do any of the work.
  5. Finish missed work as soon as possible. Typically, students have one day for each day absent to complete any work. If a student was sick for two days, he can have two days when he returns to complete all missed work. The longer it takes to catch up, the more opportunity there is to get further behind.

Unexcused Absences: Unexcused absences are things like family vacations, checking out of school early for a long weekend, spending the day having a passport picture taken, or driving 100 miles for a Taylor Swift concert because it is your birthday.

  1. If the absence is planned ahead, and the teacher is notified, the student may have to complete any assignments or take any tests he will miss before leaving (if it is convenient for the teacher). Otherwise, the work will be made up the day the student returns. OR, the work will not be made up at all, and the student may receive a zero.
  2. Do not ask the teacher if a student will be missing anything important. YES, HE WILL. There is no way to replicate instruction when students are not in school. Even if teachers do give the page numbers from a textbook, it will never be the same as participating in the class discussion, listening to the explanation, or completing an activity with the group.
  3. Do not expect a list of assignments before you leave. If you want to take your family to Disney World at a non-peak time (which happens to be when school is in session), I am not responsible for making sure you have school materials before you leave. There is another reason too. I do not plan weeks ahead. I have a general idea of what will happen the next week in my class, but I never know for sure until the day before. I might give work to a student ahead of time, and by the time he returns, our class plans have changed based on student performance and interest. I may have replaced an activity with something different or decided to reorder lessons based on student responses. The classroom adjusts all the time.

Getting Sick at School

  1. In my experience, the students who are really sick and need to be sent home won’t say very much. They get very quiet, stop participating, want to wear a coat or big sweater in the classroom, and don’t move very much. When this happens, my antenna goes up, and I run a mom check for illness.
  2. Kids who complain a lot about not feeling well usually should have eaten more breakfast, need a drink of water, need lunch, have a missing assignment, did not prepare for a test, or want to get out of class and visit the school office.
  3. I am unlikely to let a kid go home unless they are running a fever, have (confirmed) vomiting, or I have a note from a parent about potential illness before they came to school that morning. Be warned– if a parent sends a my-kid-might-be-sick note, but it is a kid who is frequently absent and kind of a hypochondriac, I will employ my best water fountain diversion tactics to keep him at school.

missed work teacher notesWhat is the absence policy at your school, and how do you handle make up work with students at home?

Gift Card Wallet

Have you ever seen a teacher without a teacher bag? I haven’t. In my case, I have a giant teacher bag with a reinforced bottom. It can hold a grade book, file folders, sets of papers, and a binder or two. My big ‘ol teacher bag does not have room for my purse, and I do not want to lug around an extra piece of luggage to school every day. Instead, I keep my debit card, driver’s license, and maybe a few dollars in a small wallet that can be moved easily from my teacher bag to my regular purse as needed. Most teachers I know have a similar “mini wallet” system.

I needed a small birthday gift for a co-teacher at my school, so I decided to fill a mini wallet with a gift card. My birthday buddy can use this little sirsee as her “teacher bag wallet” after spending the gift card. If you are planning on giving a gift card to a teacher this year, step it up a little and enclose the gift card in a cute little wallet-y coin purse type bag. It will be the gift that keeps on giving! Plus, it meets the generic but personal criteria for teacher gifts.

The Wallet: I found these sewing cards by Valori Wells that have easy patterns. I used the Little Wallet pattern card. If you have two fat squares of coordinating fabric, you can make two to three wallets. I sewed a snap to the inside, but a button or other embellishment can be added to the outside of the flap for looks. The finished wallet has three pockets.

Uses:

  • Gift card holder
  • “Go” wallet that transfers between purses and work bags
  • Grocery (and all other stores) loyalty card holder
  • Sandwich and frozen yogurt shop punch card holder

Gift Card Ideas: Some gift cards work better in $5 or $10 increments. Here are my suggestions. What am I missing?

  • Starbuck’s (or other local coffee shop)
  • Barnes and Noble (or other book store)
  • Nail salon
  • Gas station or grocery store (not very sexy but useful)
  • Sandwich shop (particularly one that is close to the school)
  • Movie theatre (include enough $ to buy 2 tickets)