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Would It Feel Icky to You . . . Teachers' Gifts - Page 2

post #21 of 61
Last year at the end of the school year I was approached about something like this from a parent who already had a specific gift in mind. I didn't think the gift was very fitting for my dd's teacher who was leaving the school becasue she was having a baby and wanted to stay home next school year. I told the parent I already had something else in mind, and went and ordered her a subscription to mothering
post #22 of 61
I agree that you shouldn't feel obligated to participate at all. However, I definately wouldn't jump to the assumption that the organizer is trying to skim off the top either!
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Cat View Post
I received a letter from the room parent in my 3 y.o. twins preschool class. She asked for $10 to $15 per child per teacher for the 3 teachers in my children's class. (2 teachers and one aide). I'm the only one with twins and am on a very tight budget. That's an expected contribution of $60 by me. I buy many of my children's holiday gifts at rummage sales. $60 to $75 for their teachers just seems over-the-top. Where I really bristle is that we had envelopes placed in our box with instructions to return them to her box with our contribution. The envelopes have a specially designed sticker for us to fill in who our contribution is from.

I don't want to do it at all. My children consistently talk about how the teachers are so nice, but the aide, who works exclusively with one student, is mean. I have seen her be rather mean. She told a crying girl sitting on her lap that "Now it was time for her to act like a big girl" and put her off her lap. Frankly, I don't want to give the aide anything. I want to just get their two regular teachers something simple that the kids pick out, like a nice ornmanet or a mug filled with a hot chocolate mix or gourmet coffee.

Would that seems icky to you? Thoughts?
We've done something similar at some schools I have worked at and it was my favorite thing, but $10-15 per teacher per child? Are they sure they have the note right?

At the school, the parents put together $10 a child then that money was split between the teachers. It was also made very clear that this was not an obligation - the parents who put it together did not see it as such and there were many parents that did not contribute and gave us something separate. There might have even been parents that gave nothing, who knows? It was just something that the parents can do to make their lives of shopping a little easier and still give us something we loved.

But $60...that's not right. You give us a great gift by letting us work with your children. You really don't owe us anything else. The gifts are nice and I do enjoy them, but would feel really weird if it was obligated, either through a written expectation or an unwritten rule and social awkwardness for not participating, that a parent give me a gift. I would feel a little strange if one parent had to shell out $60 for a gift for me. I'd really rather they spend most of that big lump of money on their family for the holidays.

Just giving my 2 cents as a teacher.
post #24 of 61
I've been a "class parent" and have collected money like this for teachers' gifts a couple of times. Obviously, I have no problem with the concept in general. However, I do have a BIG problem with trying to make it mandatory and with keeping track of how much each family gives. That's way beyond icky in my mind.

What I did was suggest that each family give between $10 and $20, if they could, but made it clear that the gift would be from everyone and that no one but me would have any idea who had contributed or how much. Some families gave $20; one gave $5; another gave $0. I gave $10. For the 8 kids in the class, I collected $110, which covered a $100 Visa gift card (with fees) and a nice card.

The teacher was thrilled with the gift, and none of the parents seemed offended. I hope that none of them thought that I kept any of the money, like the one of the pp suggested. Maybe my method only worked well because it was a small school in which we all knew each other fairly well.
post #25 of 61
What a timely thread! I am a room parent and am trying to put together something to collect $ for gift cards for the 2 teachers - we are thinking of suggesting $5 per family, which would give each teacher a $50 gift card. I am trying to find a way to say that a contribution to the class gift is purely voluntary, and that families can donate whatever amount they are comfortable with. We've done this many times in the past and I personally find it much easier than having to go out and

Anything that makes this type of thing mandatory or excludes anyone, either because you cannot afford it or choose to do something else, is pretty icky.
post #26 of 61
The classroom parent sent home a note for my dd's first grade teacher suggesting a contribution towards classroom supplies and a gift card. It wasn't made out to be mandatory and, to be honest, it makes it easier on me to just be able to send in $20 and call it a day. I'm for that teacher and my little one's two preschool teachers, I'm also going to make some holiday simmer bag gifts. I put an orange, cinnamon sticks and cranberries together in a gift bag with instructions to cut up the orange, toss everything together in a pot and simmer it! Someone gave that to my dh a few years ago and I love the idea. I've also ordered some lovely homemade soaps off of etsy for each of the teachers -something different for them and a nice way to support the handmade movement.
post #27 of 61
Our preschool's class parent recently suggested $75 contribution per family for holiday gifts for the teachers. We chose not to participate, for a variety of reasons, including that we just moved and left the school. We gave the classroom a book when we left and I sent a thank you Edible Arrangement to the staff the following Friday. I think $75 is pretty high, but I feel confident that the class parent is not going to skim anything off; they just really give that much. And I don't feel badly about not participating. I think it is just fine to opt out entirely or to give a lower amount.

In the past, I've done thank you notes with a picture of DS on the front (shutterfly). Those have gotten the most gushing from teachers. (We recently moved back to a previous school, and a year and a half later the speech therapist made a point of telling me she still has this card on her desk.) I've also done typed letters to supervisors with a copy to the teacher, at year end, giving specifics on how good the teacher was with my kid. I've also done gift cards to Target or Barnes and Noble or a Visa gift card.

Catherine
post #28 of 61
I do think it's fishy that the gift wasn't specified. If it's a gift card, then it shouldn't matter how much each family gave...just get a gift card in that denomination. If it's something else, I would want to know what the gift was so that I knew what I was contributing towards.

Also, including the one-to-one aide in the gifts as an equal participant is bizarre.

I've organized many a gift money pool, and I have always made it very clear that 1) the amount of the gift was purely up to the discretion and means of each person and 2) participation was entirely voluntary.

Back when I used to work in preschools, I treasured the photos, pictures and letters that I received from my students. 5 years later and now living on the opposite coast, I STILL have them and look over them every so often.:
post #29 of 61
Wow, I have never heard of such a thing. I have a real problem with a group gift in this situation (actually in almost every situation. I would either completely ignore the request or send a note back saying that you appreciate her efforts but that you prefer to give a small homemade gift of your choosing.

I am dealing right now with a family group gift problem and I had to just be brutally upfront that we could not afford what they were planning.
post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
It's okay if someone wants to do it themself but to require other parents to donate so much money isn't right, regardless of how affluent the area is IMO. Not everyone wants to spend that much on one occasion for a gift. At my children's old school (private school) we bought gifts for their teachers for several occasions throughout the year and we never could have spent that much just for one gift at Cmas and I'm the type that loves to spend on people.
I agree with you, it's incredibly tacky to ask for a 'mandatory donation.' If it was my kids' school, I'd decline to participate. I was just pointing out that it's unfair to assume that the person collecting the donations is stealing money. In some situations or areas, large gifts are the norm.
post #31 of 61
What I think is icky is the suggestion that the parent organizing this is stealing some of the money. I'm really not sure where people get that assumption from!

I am the class convenor for our class and at the request of our teacher I have asked the parents for a donation to give to the classroom assistants who have been doing their jobs voluntarily for the past several months.

I did not ask for a specific amount and it is completely optional and the thought of keeping some of the money never even entered my mind.

There are all ranges of incomes in our class and I don't expect anyone to give more than they are completely comfortable with as I am sure is the case with your class so yes, a suggested amount was probably not well thought out.
post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I would return the envelope to her box, and write on the form:

"Thank you very much for including us, but the kids and I have a plan for gifts on our own."
Yep!

I think these kinds of things are really tacky. The moms at my dd's preschool want $30 from each kid (for gifts for three teachers). While I might have spent that much on my own, I don't like that it puts pressure on people to fork over cash.
post #33 of 61
To the OP....

You stated that you didn't want to do it. SO don't do it. You are free to do what you want as long as its not harming someone else and this isn't a scenario where your exercising your desire is going to harm anyone.

There is no need to assume the worst of anyone. If you don't want to do something that is reason enough.

I hope it goes well when you decline the invitation to participate. Keep us posted.
post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
Back when I used to work in preschools, I treasured the photos, pictures and letters that I received from my students. 5 years later and now living on the opposite coast, I STILL have them and look over them every so often.:
I had a parent that was actually fantastic at organizing these things. She gave us two gifts that I took with me to Taiwan and I love. The gifts were given at the end of the year.

One was a book of children's drawings with a picture of the child. Some of the children wrote a small note as well.

The other one was when I was leaving the school. The parent came in with a MPEG camera and took video of me with the children. There was a month I was sick that year and she took the opportunity to get the kids one at a time to say what they like about me. She clipped it all together onto a video with the song, "That's what I like about you" and put it onto a DVD.

It was obvious what the basic idea of the presents were the whole time. She'd laugh as she would say, "I just want to video tape you." We'd laugh as we got mysterious envelopes from the children. But we never imagined how well done these things ended up being and it was still one of the best feelings to look through those pictures or watch the DVD.

I'll never forget that.
post #35 of 61
My nephew came home with a list detailing his teacher's hobbies, faviorite resteraunts, and places to shop so that if you wanted to you could purchase them something. This seemed much more appropriate than what the OP received.

There are lots of ways to show apreciation for teachers at the holidays. Bake them something, have the kids make ornaments, volunteer once a month for the rest of the year in their classroom,etc.

At a time when many are trying to figure out how to provide even a few gifts for their kids it is ridiculous to expect someone to spend a chunk of money on a gift for someone outside their families.
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine21 View Post
I obviously had not known, but her call was the best holiday gift I could have gotten. It was a beautiful moment. www.seva.org

: What a wonderful holiday story. I also give donations instead of gifts but so far none have been as apt as yours, hehe.

OP, ITA with previous posters. This is plain wierd and I would politely opt out, at the same time subtly asking any parent/friends in the class how they felt about this. $60 seems like a large TOTAL amount to spend on a teacher (if it's not going towards class supplies), much less for one family!
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I would return the envelope to her box, and write on the form:

"Thank you very much for including us, but the kids and I have a plan for gifts on our own."
That's what I would do too.
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by nannymom View Post
My nephew came home with a list detailing his teacher's hobbies, faviorite resteraunts, and places to shop so that if you wanted to you could purchase them something. This seemed much more appropriate than what the OP received.
The last school that I taught at before becoming a SAHM did this and I felt sooo uncomfortable filling out that form knowing it was to be sent to all the parents. Many parents asked for it and said it helped, but it felt wrong to me to be 'ordering' gifts so to speak.

As a teacher I can honestly say that for the most part the group gifts were more preferable. The ornaments and note pads and plaques just end up being clutter and collecting dust. Edible gifts were always a big hit, especially at the holidays when they were put to good use, and photos of the kids are keepsakes. A group gift does not need to be large or expensive. A $25 gift certificate, meaning just $2 per child, to a bookstore is hugely appreciated. I did work in some affluent areas and the year I was given a $200 gift certificate to a clothing store was soooo helpful with building my teacher wardrobe since I was right out of college. However, I still have and treasure a platter from another school that the Moms painted each child's hand prints onto from a paint your own pottery place, and I know that it cost less than $30 - again, less than $3 per child.

All the schools I worked at had policies that group gifts could not be mandatory in amount or participation. In one school the gift was voted on first by the room parents and then the director would keep an envelope for each teacher in her office and parents could drop off a contribution if they wanted to. On a predetermined date the organizer would pick-up the funds from the director and make the agreed upon purchases. All of this happened only if the parents wanted to do a group gift that year.
post #39 of 61
Purple Cat, what did you end up doing?
post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
It's okay if someone wants to do it themself but to require other parents to donate so much money isn't right, regardless of how affluent the area is IMO. Not everyone wants to spend that much on one occasion for a gift. At my children's old school (private school) we bought gifts for their teachers for several occasions throughout the year and we never could have spent that much just for one gift at Cmas and I'm the type that loves to spend on people.
I live in a pretty affluent area (although we're less affluent than the average family at our school), but when classes seek donations for gifts, they're always voluntary. Families can generally opt out or donate more or less without any guilt involved.
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