10 holiday wishes for administrators, teachers, and students

"If I could give just one gift to my faculty, it would be renewal in the faith of our profession," said one reader.

Although the holidays are a time to show others how you appreciate them, the tough economy is giving administrators and teachers a challenge in showing their support for their peers and their students.

In a recent Question of the Week,” we asked our readers: “’Tis the season to be giving! If you could give just one thing to your students/faculty/peers/school or district, what would it be?”

And while the thought of receiving large cash bonuses no doubt crossed everyone’s minds, readers not only were very practical with their holiday wishes, but seem to understand exactly what their peers and students are going through in these tough times for education and the economy in general.

Here are 10 our readers’ best responses. To share your own gift ideas, leave them in the comments section below.

1.“If I could give my students anything, I would wave my magic wand over them and give them the gift of becoming life-long learners. It wouldn’t make any difference how technology would change; they would find a way to explore new and exciting topics.” —Faye E. Manyak, grade 5 social studies teacher

2.“If I could give just one thing to the children in my district, I would give them all a box of food.” —Lila Goodgame Udell, Florida

3.“If I could give my faculty one thing, it would be the gift of time. Time for professional development, time to reflect on their lessons, time to talk with their peers about best practices, time to make curricular ties to the arts, and time to pat each other on the back for a job well done.” —Laura Davis, Assistant Principal, North Pocono Middle School

“If I could give one gift overall to my teaching staff, it would be ‘time.’ I believe that this is what teachers wish for the most. A public education system that is designed to meet student needs via appropriate use of their teacher’s time to prepare outstanding units, lessons, and assessments while building caring relationships between teachers and students. Meaningful and engaging instructional planning takes time—time not just to grade papers but time to provide meaningful feedback; time to discuss with students ‘how to improve.’ Teachers need time to meet and collaborate in a professional manner, not over their lunch or hit-and-miss during their conference period. Creating a school calendar that has purposeful time scheduled in for teachers to put to use their professional talents to a higher level while working as a true [Professional Learning Community] is the gift I would give teachers.

“If I could give my students one gift, it would be an Apple iPad 2. This can be an amazing educational/learning tool. Remember the research concerning why students drop out of high school? The No. 1 answer was: I was bored. I believe utilizing the Apple iPad 2 would be a huge step in demonstrating to this generation of students that we are listening and we understand their needs.” —Paul K. Shepich, principal, Clarenceville High School, Livonia, Mich.

4.“I’d give all teachers the opportunity to engage in the dialogue related to changing the existing mandate of improved test scores to the mandate they were presumably educated to do: facilitate effective learning.” —John Bennett, Emeritus Professor/Associate Dean, University of Connecticut

5.“If I could give just one gift to my faculty, it would be a gift of 3 Rs: Renewal, Revitalize, and Rejuvenate. Renewal in the faith of our profession, Revitalize the passion in teaching, and Rejuvenate the desire to make a difference.” —Naomi C. Taitingfong, principal, AIJMS

6. Thanks for giving the opportunity to provide in spirit what I cannot provide in fact. If I were able, I would wish the following for our school: (1) Tablets to be used in the library so students could access eBooks. We only have 16 computers, which are mostly used by students throughout the day to complete assignments. The wireless tablets would enable my avid readers an opportunity to access many eBooks online and foster collaboration on many other projects. (2) The technology and opportunity to implement a program to improve our student’s competence in math through a Project K-Nect project, as in North Carolina. I have been impressed with the reported results and feel such a program would definitely benefit our students. (3) To provide more opportunities for teachers to collaborate and online instruction to learn about effectively using technology for instruction, including distance learning opportunities for staff and students. (4) To have the technology resources for staff and students that would enable improvement in instruction and learning. (5) Goodwill for all.” —Rob Zienta, library information specialist, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, Baltimore, Md.

7.“If I were able, I would give every student and teacher a tablet [computer]. The only issue would be security. All students and teachers much keep up or they will be left behind.” —Dr. Barbara Union-Van Leer, Treasure Island Elementary School, Miami Beach, Fla.

8.“To my students, I would give them fair but firm discipline. While this may seem harsh, discipline is the root for all learning to take place. To the faculty, I would give them the ability to engage their students. To the school district, I would give them a big hug for hiring teachers, administrators, and support staff that are consistently willing to go the extra mile to see their students succeed.” —Beverly J. Pacio, instructional technologist, Lewisville ISD 

9.“I would give the gift of motivation. We all need to become motivated in the correct manor to help not only ourselves reach our goals, but everyone we come into contact with: our family, students, and peers.” —Victoria Wren

10.“I would give my students the gift of loving to read, whether they read a traditional book, an eBook, or listen to an audio book.” —Linda Wallace, media specialist, Quarterfield Elementary

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