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Happy Holidays Teacher, Here's A Toe Ring

little girl with surprised expression on her face
Miracle on 34th Street movie

Update 12/17/13, 10:00 a.m.:

In recent days we've asked teachers to tell us about unusual gifts they've received from students. The stories keep coming in.

Sue Edelberg is an ESL teacher at Clayton Middle School. She writes:

I'm a first year teacher so I've yet to receive a strange gift, but last week I received a very unique and creative gift: it was a little box made out of notebook paper, from a 6th grader who loves origami and magic tricks. It had an X on it, so he said it was supposed to be an X Box. I was very impressed that despite being made out of notebook paper it was functional box! He said his other idea was to get an apple, take a bite, and put it on top of my laptop and say it was an Apple computer. But we agreed that would be more appropriate for April Fools than Christmas.

Jennifer wrote to say:

I like many teachers have received lots of gift cards, flowers, and hand made goodies. My most memorable gift however was a rusted, used toe ring. I gave [the student] a hug and thanked her repeatedly for thinking of me. It's amazing to me that during the hustle and bustle of holidays students think of us and give us a gift no matter what their financial situation.

And this from Sheryl:

My kids have been sweet over the years, even those who could not afford to buy new things. I have received candles, coffee mugs, flowers and plants, socks, Christmas ornaments, nail polish, tote bags, candy, a homemade spaghetti dinner basket with wine glasses, cookies, cakes, restaurant and music gift certificates, cards, rubber band bracelets, used bracelets, earrings, statues, a music box, books, pictures of students, hot chocolate and marshmallows, and scarves. I am sure there are more things, but I am always appreciative of how much my students care about me Here's to another holiday season of thoughtful and special gifts from my kiddos!!

And from Miles:

For the last several years, my classroom has been "gift-free" - no food, gift cards, etc. This came about when the face of a particular child was so crest-fallen because the child had nothing to give while many children did bring in gifts

Our favorite, though, continues to be the story of Diane Brown of Cape Hatteras. We quoted her in our initial post, but here's the full story:

One year, a student of mine gave me a beautiful boxed Christmas ornament. I never opened the box to look inside as the picture on the box was enough to describe it in a thank you note. When I got ready to put it on the tree, I opened it. Tucked inside was a hand-written note wishing "Mrs. !!!!! [the child's mother, another teacher] a very merry Christmas. I slipped the note in [the other teacher's] box the next morning and kept the re-gifted ornament. I put it on my tree every year with a smile.

What's the most unusual gift you received from a student? Comment below.

Original story 12/12/2013:

With the holiday season approaching, many teachers can expect to find a long line of gifts placed carefully on their desks. They’re likely to find candy assortments, Christmas mugs, hand-written cards, neatly-wrapped chocolate boxes and probably more mugs.

But every now then, a teacher will have an amusing story.

Carol Dukes, a teacher with Wake County Public Schools, said an exchange student once pulled a bottle of French wine from her backpack and offered it as a gift.

Diane Brown from Cape Hatteras Elementary School got a Christmas ornament – with a note in it addressing the gift to another teacher.

And these stories make us wonder. What is the most unusual gift you’ve ever received from a student?

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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