This week I got a packet from the homeroom moms for my daughter’s class. Included is something called a Teacher Favorites Survey, a typed questionnaire that provides a list of all of the teacher’s favorite things. So I now know more about her than I do many of my own friends (or even myself).
As the packet reminds us of all the gifting opportunities coming up (Teacher Appreciation Day, birthday, Easter, Christmas, etc.), I suppose the point is to give the woman what she will actually enjoy. I like to think that all of the elementary teachers got together one day and said, “Take your apple paraphernalia elsewhere. We’re all stocked up.”
At first I was a little annoyed; no one asks college professors to complete a survey of their favorite things. But as I started thinking through my own answers, I realized why they don’t ask us. Some of us might not give appropriate answers. For example, my own:
Favorite Cake Flavor: Whatever cake is leftover from the last event and is sitting unguarded in the break room. Preferably nothing too messy as I plan to grab it with my bare hands and shove the entire piece in my mouth, hoping I will finish it by the time I sprint across campus to my 11 am class.
Favorite Restaurant: Wherever is open after 2 pm when I get out of class and remember I haven’t eaten during daylight in two days.
Favorite Snack: NOT microwave popcorn. Heaven help any of us if it gets burned in the break room microwave and the smell overwhelms even the dissection stink from the A&P labs. That stuff that is always the last to go in the vending machine, the Chex mix stuff? I can tolerate that.
Favorite Beverage: Coffee, Diet Coke, Coffee with expired creamer, vodka, coffee that has been sitting out all day
Favorite Color: Ummm . . . I don’t know. Black? It doesn’t show the coffee I splashed on myself during the discussion of Ancient Persia or the ink stains from when my pen exploded while grading Beowulf quizzes. So, yeah, black.
Favorite Flower/Plant: One that will not stink up my office when it dies from lack of sunlight and neglect.
Favorite Musical Artist: Weezer, Prince, Nine Inch Nails, Guns and Roses, Aerosmith, The White Stripes. All played at top volume to keep my adrenaline up through grading 90 essays.
Favorite Hobby/Way to Pamper Yourself: Not taking work home.
Favorite Place to Shop: Online during office hours when I cannot face another comma splice or thesis statement that begins, “The following essay is about . . .”
Favorite Candle Scent: Is this really a thing? Do people have favorite candle scents? Like, if I were to sign up for online dating, would my favorite candle smell help determine who might or might not be the right match for me? Is this a crucial part of my identity I have not yet addressed that might hold a clue to who I am as a person? Because this was never on a Cosmo quiz.
Favorite Team/Sport: Lakers. All others can SUCK. IT.
Favorite Author/Literature: So, I don’t want to be this guy, but asking someone’s favorite author (particularly an English major) for gift giving purposes isn’t maybe the best idea. Here’s why: my favorite author is Margaret Atwood. Because she is my favorite author, I own most everything she has written. Just picking up a Margaret Atwood book without knowing much about her, probably not a great plan. Unless you are able to find first editions or rare books of hers (or figure out a way to sneak a peak at that thing she’s writing that won’t be published for a hundred years), I’m set with Margaret Atwood. In terms of literature–that is a huge field. I write columns and articles about it. To be blunt: gift card this one.
No wonder college teachers don’t get gift baskets. I’m off to figure out who I am as a candle scent.
Read, Write, and Be Merry,