Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gifts for Teachers - Good or Not so Good?

School is out for the small humans tomorrow. I can't wait. One thing that has always really bothered me about the end of school is gifts for teachers. Some school districts have outlawed gifts for teachers. Our region has not. It seems to me that I am asked to pay for more and more at school as it is. There are more field trips than ever. On top of that I'm supposed to send in tissues, sanitizing wipes and hand gel. I just received the list of supplies that I am supposed to send in with my son for 3rd Grade in the Fall. I was astounded. More and more items that should be supplied by the schools are now being supplied by the parents. This is not a new trend in my school district.

Which brings me back to the teacher's gift. I taught religious school and made it clear that I did not want anything at the end of the year. I was paid to teach. I was there to teach. I wanted to teach. I did not teach to get an end of the year gift. My students' learning was present enough for me. Watching them grasp ideas and be able to discuss them was enough for me. But that's me. I'm sure if we asked the teachers if they wanted end of the year gifts, they would probably say no while perhaps thinking yes! I don't know.

Apparently my son's teacher wanted gardening things and cash! Yes, cash. I find this particularly annoying because teachers in our district are well paid. In addition because of the economy, the unions for the teacher's aides and the school maintenance crews voted to not take pay raises this year. The teacher's union would not even consider or allow a vote on it. So did I make a cash contribution? Yes, I did. I also got her a separate gift of Godiva chocolates and a B&N gift card. We did not always get along, but she was a good teacher for my son. I don't like the end of the year gift giving, but while it is allowed I will participate.

I also sent in a gift for the School Nurse because she is leaving. She took very good care of my small humans over the years. She's a wonderful person. I also have gifts for the bus drivers. I appreciate that they safely transport my small humans.

Qwill's Qwestion: Does your school or school district allow you to give end of the year gifts to teachers? What's your experience with end of the year teacher gifts?


  1. Well, since we homeschool now, I haven't had to personally participate in end of the year gifts for a few years now.
    I did help friends this year getting things together for teachers (candles, etc) and they were happy to do it.
    I did actively participate in end of the year gifts during preschool and even when the older boys were in private school. They put up with my kids during the day and most were very good teachers.
    I don't remember end of the year gifts to teachers when I was young.. maybe I was just oblivious to what my mother was doing? It's possible, I'll have to ask her.
    I have one friend who was room mom for both of her sons' classes and didn't get much participation on a group gift from the students.

    I wonder though, did your son's teacher ASK for cash? That seems a bit off to me. Of course, I have only ever asked family for the gift of cash and that was usually to go toward something, like a trip.

    Most of the people I know give Barnes and Noble gift cards. Pretty generic and can be used to further the classroom or for personal use.

  2. I don't have kids, but growing up in Norway and Switzerland I know teachers didn't get gifts at the end of the year. It just wasn't done there and was frowned on if someone did give a teacher a gift.

  3. From a conversation that I had with one of the Room Mom's it did sound like the teacher asked for cash. I can't independently verify that so could it could not be the case. Considering some of the presents that have been given to teachers, giving them cash is not a bad idea. At least they will then get something that they would really like! I like to give B&N gift cards for the reasons you mention.

  4. Thanks, Anne-Katherine. Some schools do prohibit gifts for teachers.

  5. Our district allows it and I participate mainly because my kids WANT to give their teacher a gift (they always ask) to say thank you. We give Target, Michael's and B&N gift cards (or PetSmart if they have a class pet). Something useful. And luckily, my kids have had good, honest teachers who'd probably say no and mean it. Our school is #1 in our district, so I know our teachers are there for the kids, which really, is what matters. :)

  6. I haven't a clue if my district allows teacher gifts or not. When my children were in elementary school I gave gifts for various occasions because I wanted to, not because I felt obligated! At meet the teacher night I would try to look and see what the teacher had in her room and do something along those lines.

    I have given gifts to teachers who my children had, but didn't currently have because they were retiring, and my kids asked can we get a gift because they're leaving.

    I also gave a gift ot the principal and the assistant principal when my youngest graduated elementary school.

    If there was a bookfair and the teacher had a wishlist I would give books from that. Again, not because I felt obligated, but because either one of the boys thought they wanted to, or I thought I wanted to.

    When I was in the classroom a g.c. was a great gift, but if I got a teacher like object d'art I loved those too, and still have them packed away.

    I would never have asked my parents for a specific gift unless they were asking me directly what I would like, and I more often than not had more parents who didn't give me a gift, because as you say you teach not to get rich but because you have a calling and want to be in that classroom with those little darlings experiencing their adventures for that school year.

    Sorry for rambling...guess this pushed a button!

  7. Our district allows gifts. I think it is done more in the elementary schools. We give B&N gifts cards because we want to do it. There have been times we did not have extra mony to give gifts. My husband teaches in a high school and doesn't get gifts and also doesn't think teachers need to receive gifts.