Teachers: to gift or not to gift?

So it’s Christmas season once again. Aside from my social calender making its annual revival (I seem to have something every week!) there are the additional school commitments.

Christmas fairs, donations for christmas fairs, Christmas parties, nativities, own clothes days carol concerts – a disorganised mother’s nightmare. And more recently there’s been addition to the list. Teachers gifts.

Ok I know this isn’t a new development. I remember giving a little Christmas gift to my teachers many decades ago. Be it a box of chocolates or a handmade card, it was simple.

But recently there have been reports of schools putting a price cap on gifts! Or another has banned gifts completely! Some schools have reported parents are putting £30 each into kitty (that’s a £900 gift for those of you still in shock). And in some schools teachers have been offered ski trips!!

It don’t know, it just feels like something that was once quite sweet and from the heart, has just gone too far. Something else to pit parents against each other, bragging rights for who bought the best gift.

I have no problem with buying teachers a gift out of appreciation for what they do. Let’s face it, I can just about cope with my two, let alone thirty kids. Every. Single. Day. But a simple gesture should suffice shouldn’t it?

I get that there’s only so many boxes of Thornton’s one person can take, but this culture of big showy gifts is just too much and adding additional pressure to parents.

What about the parent with three children? Even ten pounds per teacher could be a stretch donation, that means less for their own children. Isn’t it unfair for their name to be left out of a group gift?

What about the parent whose children might not have settled into class too well?

And those parents spending extortionate amounts on gifts, what do they expect in return? Are you hoping your child will get special treatment in the next term? And do you really want your child to be taught by someone who’s head is so easily turned?! And it still won’t do anything to impact their exam results, so you’re probably creating a false sense of entitlement anyway.

But what about authenticity? Just giving something from the heart that the teacher will truly appreciate. Or even just a card.

Thankfully we’ve not experienced this at Boy 1’s school. We’ll often just contribute upto a fiver to a kitty and split it between the teacher and TAs to get vouchers. So if they want to stock up on booze to get them through the season, they can. Or if they are struggling on a teacher’s wage it can always cover the cost of a few gifts. Who knows?

Or for those who know have a particular hobby or passion project, we can contribute with something to support that. But it’s really about the thought and intention, not the price tag.

But aside from the debates about how much to spend, if anything, its still good to encourage children to show personal appreciation. Let’s just try to bring it back down to earth and be fair, realistic and genuine with our generosity.


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