Would It Feel Icky to You . . . Teachers' Gifts - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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Wow, that seems really inappropriate to me. I would guess that you aren't the only one who isn't too happy with this situation. With the holidays coming up quick, it should probably be nipped in the bud quickly too. Unless this is something that was previously discussed and agreed upon by all the parents, I don't think that it's normal for the entire class to be expected to participate in a group gift that someone else is making the decisions on.
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#3 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 05:55 PM
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That sounds excessive to me too. I'd get a small token for the teachers who work with your children, and write a lovely note about what wonderful things they've done with my children so far this year. CC the teacher's supervisor on the note, because then it goes in the teacher's employment record, and supervisors will usually look for opportunities to share nice things parents have said at staff development meetings and stuff, so it's a gift that keeps on giving for a little while.
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#4 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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That would really tick me off. : Icky doesn't cover it.

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#5 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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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."

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#6 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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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."
I agree with this.

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#7 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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This happened in my dd's playschool, EXCEPT it was whatever amount you wanted & it was optional so it didn't matter if someone didn't want to.

If the aide is there exclusively for 1 child then there's no reason why the entire class needs to give her anything.

I'd send the note mentioned & do what you were planning on doing.
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#8 of 61 Old 12-07-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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I once actually organized what CarrieMF describes (but it was for end-of-the year). We said it was optional, we said it was what you could afford (and we suggested between $5 and $30 from each family- not per child, not per teacher) and we didn't keep track or anything. I figured it was a way to give the teachers something much larger than most parents could afford on their own. I know a few parents (one the SAHM wife of a surgeon... not a grad student like me!) gave the teachers their own big presents.

I think you can easily return the envelope either with a note saying you will do your own thing, or you can contribute what you like (and feel free to say its not for the aide, for example, its not as if though the room parent will share this). The last thing I would do is stress out about it. I am SURE you won't be the only person who doesn't participate or who participates at the level that is different from suggested.

I am the daughter of a teacher (early ed then elementary) and used to be the roommate of an early ed teacher as well. After watching them try to deal with the slew of things they got at holiday and end of year on the home front, I learned that the presents teachers get are pretty crazy and run the gamut. I think they most appreciate 1) something made or personalized by the kids, 2) money or gift cards for something they enjoy, or 3) some kind of nice little treat, if they don't want to eat it, they can pass it along to someone who will (like daughter, roommate, hehe). I do think they also appreciate a simple note of thanks or appreciation from the parents. Teachers don't rake in the big bucks, they understand about being frugal/sensible.

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#9 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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My kids teacher's have said they don't really want personal gifts, but wouldn't mind getting books or a game for the classroom, or a gift certficate (like $5 or so) to a bookstore or craft store so they can buy supplies for the kids. Most times, teacher's have limited budgets for their classrooms, so they appreciate what they can get for the classroom versus personal gifts.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your idea either. Don't feel guilty about it.

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#10 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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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 would donate what I feel is a good amount and leave it at that. This mother is likely trying to get a little extra for herself and for her work of finding an appropriate gift for each teacher. That's wrong. There is no way she is spending "that" much on 3 teachers, or at least I find it hard to believe she would spend that much, especially with the economy the way it has been. I'd ask her what she plans to purchase and give you a price on the gifts first before offering any $$. But that's just me.

I've personally never heard of someone telling the other parents to give money to them like this. I've always purchased gifts for preschool/school teachers when and IF I wanted to get them a gift. If she were planning to do a class party and needed the funds to buy the food and plates/cup then that would be more understandable - but to tell you she is doing the gift purchases for the whole class to the teachers, eh...I don't like it.

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#11 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Seriously, I've done the math and if the class has 15 students then asking parents to donate this amount of money would mean she is purchasing a gift valued at atleast $200 for EACH teacher. There's no way I believe that. She's likely buying something around $20 and keeping the rest. I'd have serious issues with it and would bring it up with the teacher or head of the school.

I would think even $2-$5 donation per teacher for a class of 15-20 kids would be very appropriate.

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#12 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I think $60 is a lot to ask a family to give. I would send a note like someone posted above stating that you will send a gift of your own.


$60 for some families is money that covers essentials.....not a teachers gift.
I thought I got a good gift and I spent $15.
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#13 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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Wow! When I was teaching, I'd be tickled pink over $2 boxes of candy and darling handmade cards. I was touched that the parents thought of me at all during the holiday season. I wonder why this woman thinks such an expensive gift is necessary?

I like the suggestion to let her know you'll be taking care of buying your own gift for the teachers.

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#14 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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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."
I'm in favor of this option as well.

And to the OP: yes, I think it's icky. This would be my reaction to the letter: :

FYI, at DD's school, the room parents ask for money at the beginning of the fall term (in relative terms, about $20-30) per student to cover costs for the ENTIRE YEAR, including the parties, teacher gifts and such. I think the person asking for $10 per kid per teacher for just Christmas is excessive and highly suspect.
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#15 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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I would donate what I feel is a good amount and leave it at that. This mother is likely trying to get a little extra for herself and for her work of finding an appropriate gift for each teacher. That's wrong. There is no way she is spending "that" much on 3 teachers, or at least I find it hard to believe she would spend that much, especially with the economy the way it has been. I'd ask her what she plans to purchase and give you a price on the gifts first before offering any $$. But that's just me.
I don't think I'd jump to that conclusion. When I lived in a more affluent area, teachers and other people who work with children WERE given large gifts like that. When my DH was a volunteer soccer coach, the parents organized an end-of-the year thank you gift and ended up giving him $50 gift cards for 3 different restraunts. So $150 in gift cards, just for vounteering to be a soccer coach for 2 months.

That said, I think I'd just send a little note saying that you won't be participating, and leave it at that.

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#16 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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Seriously, I've done the math and if the class has 15 students then asking parents to donate this amount of money would mean she is purchasing a gift valued at atleast $200 for EACH teacher. There's no way I believe that. She's likely buying something around $20 and keeping the rest. I'd have serious issues with it and would bring it up with the teacher or head of the school.

I would think even $2-$5 donation per teacher for a class of 15-20 kids would be very appropriate.
Well that's a pretty big assumption that I wouldn't go to. It would be pretty darn easy to figure that out and I doubt many people in her situation would have the gall to do something like that.

I would just guess that money isn't much of an issue for her and that she was being rather careless in not thinking about other people's budgets.
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#17 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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This happened in my dd's playschool, EXCEPT it was whatever amount you wanted & it was optional so it didn't matter if someone didn't want to.
Exact same thing here, and I was glad someone was organizing it as I wanted to do something but had no clue what. If this person didn't say it was optional and give leeway in amounts she needs to get a clue.

OP--what you are planning is fine.

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#18 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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Several years ago, when dd was in second grade, I decided that I didn't want to give gifts to teachers and would make donations instead. I donated to an organization called SEVA that amongst other things, does operations to restore people's sight around the world. I had email cards sent to all of the teachers notifying them of the donations. I couldn't imagine what was wrong when dd's main classrrom teacher called me crying in the middle of the day. I was initially scared that something had happened to dd, when she asked me, "How did you know that my mother is blind?" 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
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#19 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't think I'd jump to that conclusion. When I lived in a more affluent area, teachers and other people who work with children WERE given large gifts like that. When my DH was a volunteer soccer coach, the parents organized an end-of-the year thank you gift and ended up giving him $50 gift cards for 3 different restraunts. So $150 in gift cards, just for vounteering to be a soccer coach for 2 months.

That said, I think I'd just send a little note saying that you won't be participating, and leave it at that.
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.

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#20 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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I am so glad to read the responses here! I've been wondering about similar situations in my childrens' schools, where the 'class mom' requests 'contributions' at a mandatory level for a class gift. I find that beyond tacky (like, if I can give less than the 'mandatory contribution' amount, it isn't worth including my contribution with the total???) but no one else seems to bat an eye -- or at least no one else says anything. Last year I opted out and my kids made their teachers cards and I bought them v. small gift cards from a cafe, which made us all much happier. It is happening again this year, even with different 'class moms' and in a different school! So I guess it is more and more common -- ?? We won't be participating this year, either. (I looked at the holidays/events like birthdays and the contributions 'required' for each one and realized it would be well over $200 for both classes over the course of the year. I think that is nuts.)

Anyway, hugs to you for dealing with this as well. Like I said, I'm glad to hear sane responses here, I was afraid there was something wrong with me!!

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#21 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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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
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#22 of 61 Old 12-08-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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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!
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#23 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 07:21 AM
 
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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.
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#24 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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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.
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#25 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 11:32 AM
 
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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.
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#26 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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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.

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#27 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 08:47 PM
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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.

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#28 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 09:07 PM
 
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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.:
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#29 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 09:57 PM
 
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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.

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#30 of 61 Old 12-09-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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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.

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