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AIBU

about gifts for teachers?

(54 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 29-Jun-18 12:21:38

As we're coming to the end of the school year, many children (or their parents) are buying thank-you gifts for their class teachers. We've been asked to comment on radio about this. Is it a new phenomenon? Do you think they're unnecessary? Do people feel obliged to spend too much? Do your grandchildren enjoy giving thank you gifts/making thank you cards for their teachers? Are you a teacher yourself? How do you feel about it?
Be great to hear your views? Thank you.

wildswan16 Fri 29-Jun-18 12:35:39

If a child makes a card, or a home-made "something" for their teacher, then that is lovely. Bought gifts are totally unnecessary and quickly turn into oneupmanship (is that a word?).

If parents want to thank a teacher for particularly helping their child then a personal "thank-you" or letter should suffice.

Greenfinch Fri 29-Jun-18 12:40:51

I always received little gifts when I taught but only things like soap etc.I think now too much is spent on these gifts and many end up in charity shops.Health conscious teachers certainly do not appreciate a vast number of expensive chocolates.
The things I used to appreciate most were hand made cards with little messages of thanks inside.The greatest gift a child can give is their time.

stella1949 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:01:09

My daughter is a "learning enhancement" teacher at an exclusive girl's school. At Christmas, and often through the year , she receives incredibly expensive "thank you" gifts ! Last Christmas the parents of a group of girls got together and gave her a basket of Chanel products which would have topped £500 in value, plus vouchers for a massage and a facial at a ritzy spa.

What with everything else she gets each year, I'd say she easily tops a couple of thousand pounds worth . She gives 100% of her effort to every girl, whether a gift is given or not, but she does appreciate the fact that she never has to buy perfume or other toiletries !

sparkly1000 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:02:46

My next door neighbours are both primary school teachers, neither drink wine nor eat chocolate so these find their way to us as a thank you for the stuff we give them from our allotment.
Last year they gave us an expensive bouquet of flowers that a child had given, as on the first day of the holidays they were going away for a fortnight and would not be able to enjoy them.
What they do appreciate is homemade biscuits and cards.

Cabbie21 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:06:14

I still have many of the cards and letters written by my pupils at a secondary school. They are much appreciated. Gifts are not necessary, yet I have enjoyed flowers and plants and the occasional bottle of wine and even a fruit cake!
I still have and use a mug and a tray from two of my favourite ever pupils( no, I know one should not have favourites , but I never told them).
But if it one upmanship, then it is getting silly.

mcem Fri 29-Jun-18 13:09:04

As a retired teacher I really appreciated (and kept) the notes of thanks.
I'd have been thoroughly embarrassed by lavish gifts.
My DGCs have gone in today (their last day) with cards.

Brunette10 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:17:39

Not keen at all on this idea and like every other celebration we have in this country it is growing out of hand now. A simple hand-written thank you note from your child/children to teacher is all that is required. Itssays volumes. Buying Chanel gifts etc even in fee-paying schools to hand over I think is OTT and it's the parent's responsibility NOT to encourage this. There is always an element of who buys the most expensive present for teacher. Teachers are like anyone else and are paid to do a job of work, good or bad as there are some not so good teachers out there - (I know!). Where will it all end!

Maggiemaybe Fri 29-Jun-18 13:25:30

Small tokens of appreciation are lovely, but there was a recent thread on MN after one mum was ordered asked to hand over 20 pounds towards a class present for the teacher and was worrying because she really couldn't afford it. How ridiculous.

BlueBelle Fri 29-Jun-18 13:25:44

I find it abhorrent the oneupmanship that goes into children and present giving to teachers nowadays well not the children the parents We ve had this topic before and Ive said the same before It’s just like tipping it is so unfair A nurse can save your life but is not allowed to accept more than a card and a thank you and yet as illustrated above a teacher can get thousands spent on them It’s all about the parent trying to outdo others and win a teachers attention I also think it’s awful for a primary school child to take wine or alcohol
A card or letter with nice words and a homemade present should be enough anything more is just a sign of how far materialism has encroached society

grannyactivist Fri 29-Jun-18 13:42:03

Forty years ago I was the Deputy Head of a Nursery School and even then, at the end of term, I received hand-made cards from the children and occasionally I also received flowers or chocolates. One little girl had a very difficult situation at home and had needed a lot of help, so she and her mum gave me a very pretty egg coddler, which I still have.
My daughter in law teaches year 6 primary school children and is pregnant, so no guesses about what her 'haul' will be this year. At Christmas she received enough wine and chocolates to stock a small shop. She does however go the extra mile for 'her' children and, in her case, it is this that parents really want to acknowledge I think.

Eglantine21 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:42:51

I taught for nearly forty and agree that the thank you is the only thing I ever expected. And that really only when I’d gone “above veg and beyond” giving of my own time as different from the jobI was paid to do.

There were little presents that. I loved though.

The homemade ‘dish’ (I can’t think what else to call it!) - a much laboured over slab of clay with bits of pasta stuck in it.

The red biros ( because I never had one to hand at register time)

And the book of sums ( because that was obviously my favourite thing)

As ever it’s the personal thought that counts😀

Eglantine21 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:43:30

Forty years duh! The veg box came to the door as I was typing.....

Eglantine21 Fri 29-Jun-18 13:45:44

And where on earth did the” veg” come in the middle of that.
I think I need a snooze...

janeainsworth Fri 29-Jun-18 13:54:02

I wasn’t a teacher but I helped at the village school, teaching Netball to the junior girls and taking them to their first ever matches against other local schools.
When we moved away they gave me a lovely little Cumbrian Crystal jam pot.
I keep nuts and seeds in it to sprinkle on my porridge in the mornings, so I use it every day and think of them all.

jenpax Fri 29-Jun-18 13:57:43

Presents for the teacher we’re given when my children were small in the 90’s but nowhere near as lavish as now! I recall giving some Body Shop Bath bits as like others I guessed that teachers were likely to be inundated with chocolates and flowers💐🤦🏼‍♀️ I thought at least with Body Shop gifts they could recycle discretely if needed🤣
Until last summer, I was taking eldest DGS to and from school while he was in Infants, and there the class (parent) rep used to collect a “contribution” of £10!! Per child for teachers gift, which was spent on spa vouchers etc!
It was assumed that everyone could easily afford this, I think as the demographic of the school (from the leafy suburbs) suggested that it was so But if anyone was struggling, I doubt they would have felt OK to say so!
My eldest DD in a different (also south coast town) has been asked to provide £20!! for DGD2. She was saying yesterday that again, assumptions were made that all the parents could afford this! and we wondered how a parent who did not have a spare £20!! would cope!
I dread to think what the bar is at a fee paying prep school if this is now state school typical!

notanan2 Fri 29-Jun-18 14:17:54

It has never been too bad at my kids school. The only big gifts were the chip in for one group present to reduce tat type ones.

Sadly these days when everything is measured & audited, the most useful gift is a positive feedback letter to go in the teachers file/portfolio, so I do that!

Cabbie21 Fri 29-Jun-18 14:29:33

Aside from gifts and cards, our pupils were always great at saying thank you at the end of a lesson!
What was galling was, on returning from a school trip, whether it be one day or several, and if the latter, giving up our holiday time, how few parents actually thanked the staff, when we had looked after their darling daughters. Some even dared to complain at having to turn out to pick them up. The girls always said thank you though.
There was one occasion when one girl’s mum did not turn up. No message, couldn’t be contacted by mobile. The Deputy, who had met us off the coach, gamely stepped up to the plate, sorting it out, knowing that the staff who had accompanied the trip were exhausted.
So thanks are appreciated, especially a letter.

Melanieeastanglia Fri 29-Jun-18 14:31:54

My children are adults now but I think it is nice to give a card or appreciative letter. Perhaps something very small and inexpensive as a gift or preferably something the child has itself made. I am sure a teacher would appreciate a drawing by the child. They don't necessarily have to keep it forever! It is unnecessary to give expensive gifts and not everybody is in a position to afford it.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 29-Jun-18 15:17:01

My DD is a primary teacher. When they broke up earlier this week she was given the usual cards and small gifts (it's not a rich area and they don't go OTT, fortunately). She always appreciates the thought behind these, I know. She also got a note from the real problem girl in the class - the one who has driven her distracted for most of the year (until she was taken into care and suddenly improved a lot). The note said thank you, good luck for next year with a new class, and "I wish you were still going to be my teacher"!! That is one note which I'm sure she will keep. smile

Iam64 Fri 29-Jun-18 15:22:28

One of my daughters works in a school at the opposite end of the spectrum described by Stella1949. The majority of children come from chaotic or asylum seeking backgrounds. The children often come into school not having eaten since their school dinner the previous day. She received a gift from a 7 year old, who had moved from the other end of the country for complicated reasons. She and her mother knew no one. The child's background had been 'difficult'. At the end of term, the child and her mother gave my daughter a cheap wooden frame, inside which was a poem they'd written to thank her. The mum told my daughter her child had been excluded from two previous schools for disruptive behaviour. The way she'd responded to her teacher had mum asking how best to respond to tantrums etc.
That gift is now several years old and still sits in pride of place at home.

Iam64 Fri 29-Jun-18 15:24:48

We need an edit button LaraGransnet. I want to add that if I ruled the world, end of term gifts would be put on the banned list. It's a nightmare for parents who can barely feed their children, whose children stand out even in deprived areas, as having even less than their classmates. Teachers don't need gifts. A thank you or a hand made card, drawing - that's fine but preferably just a verbal thank you at the end of term

Maggiemaybe Fri 29-Jun-18 15:29:47

I so agree, Iam, having worked in schools like your daughter's.

trisher Fri 29-Jun-18 16:36:19

I wish someone would ban giving gifts to teachers. Yes it was lovely to be thanked and cards, especially home made ones were always appreciated, but I still remember trying to ensure that the children who hadn't brought a gift didn't feel they were somehow failing, whilst trying to say a thank you that was enthusiastic enough to the children who had bought something. It was so difficult and you knew that some of the mums would meet their child and demand -"Did she like it?" "What did she say?" as soon as they saw them. It was so difficult.

Teetime Fri 29-Jun-18 16:46:17

My nurses were not allowed under Health Authority policy to accept gifts over £5 and each one had to be declared.