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#1 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ugh.  not really looking for any advice, i just want to vent!  feel free to add any advice anyway, or comments on how you've handled anything like this.

 

the room mother of my son's daycare (there are 3 infant rooms, each has a mom that is the voluntary "room mother") put a note in all our cubbies today saying she'd like to get together on a gift and how hard the teachers work every day caring for our children, blah blah blah (like i don't know this) and then suggested that we each give $15 + to get them nice gifts.

 

now, don't get me wrong, i don't necessarily think that $15 or even $20 is excessive to spend on each teacher since that's about what i'll spend on other gifts anyway. what really rubs me the wrong way is the, i don't know, commandment kind of tone in the letter. 

 

she's done this before, when two of the teachers left, asking us to give $ so she could get a nice gift.  for one of them, the day the $ was due i forgot about it and i only had $5 on me so i put it in the envelope.  for the other one, i told her that i had already gotten something for the teacher and wouldn't be participating in her combined gift.  both of these instances went over like a fart in church, judging by her reaction to me.

 

and i have 18 more years of this, huh?  bleck.


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#2 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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Wow, yuck. I notice a lot of this required extravagant gifting coming from people in the northeast, must be a social thing there. Really rubs me the wrong way, to the point I wouldn't want to live there. I have about 25 people to gift to outside my household and my average investment in each is $3 (a few get up to $12) plus 3-10 hours of work making something. I do feel required to give *something* to most of these people but it hardly matters what and how much it costs.

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#3 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post

ugh.  not really looking for any advice, i just want to vent!  feel free to add any advice anyway, or comments on how you've handled anything like this.

 

the room mother of my son's daycare (there are 3 infant rooms, each has a mom that is the voluntary "room mother") put a note in all our cubbies today saying she'd like to get together on a gift and how hard the teachers work every day caring for our children, blah blah blah (like i don't know this) and then suggested that we each give $15 + to get them nice gifts.

 

now, don't get me wrong, i don't necessarily think that $15 or even $20 is excessive to spend on each teacher since that's about what i'll spend on other gifts anyway. what really rubs me the wrong way is the, i don't know, commandment kind of tone in the letter. 

 

she's done this before, when two of the teachers left, asking us to give $ so she could get a nice gift.  for one of them, the day the $ was due i forgot about it and i only had $5 on me so i put it in the envelope.  for the other one, i told her that i had already gotten something for the teacher and wouldn't be participating in her combined gift.  both of these instances went over like a fart in church, judging by her reaction to me.

 

and i have 18 more years of this, huh?  bleck.


the good news is you don't really have 18 years.  there usually aren't room mothers after grade school (so beyond 5th grade :)

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#4 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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the good news is you don't really have 18 years.  there usually aren't room mothers after grade school (so beyond 5th grade :)



No, after that a perky teacher's pet (usually a girl or group of girls) does the organizing and YOUR CHILD will feel the pressure!


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#5 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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there does seem to be a vibe here in the northeast that it's more important to spend a lot of money (and make sure folks know you spent a lot of money) vs actually just getting a nice gift.

 

as for it ending ... i was thinking i'll still have this if he's on team sports or part of a club or whatever.


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#6 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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DH still gets this at work! Every time someone leaves, has a baby, has a family member die. It's not like we are cold and un-feeling, but as he says "some people weren't here long enough to miss." Besides, I prefer to do the gift buying & giving myself rather than give money over for someone else to pick out something.


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#7 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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Wow.  I have never gotten this.  $15 for a group gift seems excessive.  The most I have spent on a teacher is $15.  And thats because my dd had a great idea for a wedding gift (a mug from starbucks that she snuck around and had everyone sign.  we popped in a $5 gift card.  It was from the class but I didn't ask anyone to pitch in).

 

At work several times we have been asked to chip in for a gift but the suggested amount is $2 to $3.  And that was for funeral flowers and a christmas gift for our boss. 

 

If it makes you feel any better though I have three kids and have never ever been asked to chip in for a gift for a teacher so it is possible you won;t get this every year.  and we have had, in our short 2 1/2 years in school, two marriages, 6 babies, 30 teachers, 3 long term subs and have experienced school in grades k through 8.  and not once have we been asked to chip in.


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#8 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Well, I'll be the dissenter and say that I have organized plenty of these group gifts, and I am relieved when another mom does it. We always collect for gift cards. However, it does sound like her approach stinks. We often suggest an amount, but then say we welcome any donation. (And I am in the Los Angeles area.)

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#9 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 09:41 PM
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$15?!  That seems crazy high for a group gift.  Maybe I'm just poor but that would never work for me.  We recently did a group bday gift for my dd's kindergarten teacher and an email was sent out asking for $3-5 or whatever you could afford.


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#10 of 58 Old 12-01-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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$15 doesn't seem all that bad to me (sorry) but I'm from New York where gift giving is a big deal. When my daughter was in preschool each parent was asked to give a minimum of $25 for each of the two teachers. This was in a class of 18 kids at a private school. She was only there three mornings per week with another class there the other two days. So, now that I add it up, the gifts for both teachers was a total of $900 at a minimum (although some of the gifts were items for the classroom meaning my child benefited from the gifts of previous classes). But, as I said, this is common for the east coast/northeast. 

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#11 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 12:30 AM
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Last year ours was $5 each for my DD's preschool teacher. And it was more of "do you want to buy something together?" instead of a demand.

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#12 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 04:43 AM
 
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I'm not in the northeast, but we got the very same letter from our room mother-- right down to a not-so-subtle affirmation of a $15 minimum for each (teacher and teacher's aide) with the warm welcoming of any amount (which I read to mean, "Of course we'll accept larger amounts if that's what you want to do").

 

I was planning to spend that much on each of them, anyway, and I like the idea of a group gift, b/c if I were a teacher (or living on a teacher's salary) I'd prefer a gift card for $100 at Target or wherever over 20 $5 gifts of candles and crafts and bath salts. But the tone, and the pressure.... I feel for the families who aren't comfortable enough to give that much -- why do people have to place minimums on these things? Even if every kid only gave $2, the teacher could treat herself to a nice DVD or fancy bubble bath, or a good bottle of wine. Is that not enough??

 

PS - When I worked in Washington, DC, my coworkers threw me a bridal shower. I wasn't close to any of them (never went to lunch, etc. -- it was strictly a work relationship b/c they were my clients). It was a surprise potluck lunch that rivaled Hometown Buffet, and there were the requisite gag gifts and flowers. Super nice, right? Especially since none of these people really knew me all that well. Oh, and there was a nice card, signed by everyone. With over $200 cash in it.

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#13 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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OP - are you talking about $15 for all of the caregivers?   That's what I'm "reading" v. 15 dollars for one person.  Even so - the room mothers volunteer.   They've stepped up to try to help out and probably trying to make life easier for ALL of the families - so people don't have to scramble around for gifts for each teacher.  If it's a daycare - I'm gathering a lot are WOHM moms and could probably use a bit of a break re thinking of the perfect gift for everyone teacher.

 

Opting out is fine.  But I think your attitude is really ungrateful.  I've been in the "class mom" role and it involves a lot of very carefully trying to word every....single...communication so some mom out of the group doesn't get pissy.  It's not easy.  (and it's someone who is VOLUNTEERING to help - this bears repeating.) 


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#14 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 07:09 AM
 
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You should give the volunteers something - they are volunteers and do work hard.  You should give the teachers something.  It does not have to be part of the group gift - although it is often easier to let one person do the buying and get a nice gift versus getting a lot of dollar store or  homemade crafts items.  Not be snotty - but there it is.  You absolutely do not have to give 15$ - I dislike being told how much to put in for a gift.  A note saying the committee is purchasing a group gift for the teacher - would you like to donate?  would suffice.  Then give what you feel is appropriate.  No one should tell you how much to give.

 

 

 

 

 

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#15 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 07:26 AM
 
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The OP is not against a group gift, just vented about the tone of the message that went out. I would feel peeved, as well, particularly given the reponse in the past from the same person. I have been "the collector" for office gifts and never mentioned an amount, just that there was a group gift if they wanted to contribute. Some people like to do group gifts, some like to do their own, some don't do any gift at all. Gifts are not obligatory, after all. Nobody should feel pressured or put out either way. It is all about tone and messaging. I usually ignore any "suggested" amount and just give what I am comfortable giving or give my own. 


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#16 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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That does seem like a lot.

 

I have been room parent for kindy, and collected $15-20 per kid at the beginning of the year--and with that we funded all our parties, hired a bus for an extra field trip (district only pays for one), AND had a ton left over for a very generous gift card plus supplies for the kids to make a joint art project for the teacher at the end of the year.  Granted, there were 22 kids in the class.  If I'd thought about it I would have limited people to $10-15 (I asked people what they wanted to contribute at the beginning of the year, most were like, eh, how about $20).  I mean, I don't know how many people are in your class, but that can add up to a LOT of money!

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#17 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP - are you talking about $15 for all of the caregivers?   That's what I'm "reading" v. 15 dollars for one person.  Even so - the room mothers volunteer.   They've stepped up to try to help out and probably trying to make life easier for ALL of the families - so people don't have to scramble around for gifts for each teacher.  If it's a daycare - I'm gathering a lot are WOHM moms and could probably use a bit of a break re thinking of the perfect gift for everyone teacher.

 

Opting out is fine.  But I think your attitude is really ungrateful.  I've been in the "class mom" role and it involves a lot of very carefully trying to word every....single...communication so some mom out of the group doesn't get pissy.  It's not easy.  (and it's someone who is VOLUNTEERING to help - this bears repeating.) 



 no, it's $15 per teacher, per child.  there are two teachers in each classroom, with 8 children in a classroom.  that means each teacher would be getting a $120 gift.

 

and, yes, sorry i get ungrateful when i'm getting shakendown by someone.


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#18 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You should give the volunteers something - they are volunteers and do work hard.  

 

 

I'm a little confused - are you saying I should be buying the room mother a Christmas gift?


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#19 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 09:31 AM
 
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15 dollars seems exessive to me as well.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post



 

Quote:
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You should give the volunteers something - they are volunteers and do work hard.  

 

 

I'm a little confused - are you saying I should be buying the room mother a Christmas gift?

 

I would. I guess I should not have used the words "you should" as it is imposing what I would do on you.  Do what you feel is best.  
 

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#21 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

You should give the volunteers something - they are volunteers and do work hard.  

 

 

I'm a little confused - are you saying I should be buying the room mother a Christmas gift?

 

I would. I guess I should not have used the words "you should" as it is imposing what I would do on you.  Do what you feel is best.  
 



this is going to be really snarky, but here it is ...

 

her "responsibilities" as room mom consist of her going to a once a month meeting in the evening as part of a parent-center advisory committee (i am also welcome to go to these meetings, but i don't).  she was already going because she has two older children at the center.  since we started there in June, we've had three communications from her - all three were asking for money for the teachers. 

 

she's not volunteering in the room itself, and she doesn't report back on what was discussed/decided upon at the parent-center meeting, or do anything else specific for the infant rooms, so i'm not clear on what she's done to deserve a gift from my son.

 

if we were talking about a teacher's aide or a person who volunteered in the room on a regular basis, say teaching music or whatever, i'm on board with you.  but, not for this instance.


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#22 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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This is OT to the gift issue (which would annoy me, too), but what on earth is a "room mother"?


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#23 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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I would be brutally honest, then. Because that's how I am. :)

 

I would email the teacher in charge of the collection and say something like:

 

"Considering the fact that the only communication I have ever had from the room mother was in the form of three emails soliciting money, and considering the fact that she does not spend any time in the room with my son, and therefore does not even know my son, exactly why am I being asked to give her a gift? What exactly does she do for us that warrants getting a gift from us?

 

Please let me know, and I will be happy to think things over. In the meantime, my answer is no.

 

Cordially, Catubodua."

 


 

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Quote:
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

You should give the volunteers something - they are volunteers and do work hard.  

 

 

I'm a little confused - are you saying I should be buying the room mother a Christmas gift?

 

I would. I guess I should not have used the words "you should" as it is imposing what I would do on you.  Do what you feel is best.  
 



this is going to be really snarky, but here it is ...

 

her "responsibilities" as room mom consist of her going to a once a month meeting in the evening as part of a parent-center advisory committee (i am also welcome to go to these meetings, but i don't).  she was already going because she has two older children at the center.  since we started there in June, we've had three communications from her - all three were asking for money for the teachers. 

 

she's not volunteering in the room itself, and she doesn't report back on what was discussed/decided upon at the parent-center meeting, or do anything else specific for the infant rooms, so i'm not clear on what she's done to deserve a gift from my son.

 

if we were talking about a teacher's aide or a person who volunteered in the room on a regular basis, say teaching music or whatever, i'm on board with you.  but, not for this instance.



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#24 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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$15 doesn't seem outrageous to me. I usually budget $10 to $20 for a gift for a teacher or coach. Having said that, I think a parent ought to feel comfortable contributing whatever amount they want - or opt out entirely.  I've never been unhappy about contributing to a group gift. It's easier for me and generally I think one gift is probably more welcome than 20 "world's best teacher" mugs and scented soaps.  

 

Without the actual note from the room parent, it's impossible to know whether it reads as "commanding" or simply as straightforward and to the point. Personally, I prefer notes like that. I tend to get aggravated with unnecessarily long-winded letters that come home. Just give me the facts and I can make up my own mind whether to participate. 

 

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#25 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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IDK if "room mother" is the right term for the person who is organizing the holiday gift for the teachers in our case, but the woman has essentially the identical role to what the OP described in her post just above your question. (Looks like you may have x-posted...) Here a "room mother" is the mom of one of the students in the class who volunteers her time. That could be as little as arranging holiday gifts for the teachers and as much as spending time in the classroom every day, helping herd the kids around or helping to clean up or lead projects and activities.

 

So far, all I've seen of ours is the letter requesting money for holiday gifts. Since I have no idea what her other duties/roles might be, and have never met her (I'd think if she were more of an active volunteer I'd see her at pickup or dropoff and be introduced). I am not planning to get her a gift. I appreciate that she took it upon herself to organize the money collection and the purchasing of whatever gifts for the teachers, but to me that doesn't warrant much more than a spoken "thank you."

 

Maybe I'm a scrooge, but I consider gifts to be pretty personal, and reserve them for people who are close to me or whom I want to thank for some effort or attention (whether it was one huge instance or just ongoing care for my son through the year). A gift for someone who asked me for money so I wouldn't have to buy one more gift card didn't do me much of a favor. It was a nice gesture, but does every nice gesture warrant a GIFT? I don't even buy my family (siblings/parents/inlaws) gifts for the holidays. It's TOO MUCH. We do the kids. Sometimes DH and get small gifts for each other. That's it. This year, however, we have 2 teachers, 3 coaches, 2 amazing librarians, 2 babysitters, 3 families, and 1 volunteer to buy for. Most of that is b/c of DS. (Before him, it was 1 volunteer and 1 family who invites us to Christmas every year.) I know most people start shopping early and plan ahead and handle way more than this PLUS 19 kids and the bus driver, etc. I don't have that kind of money. We are not poor by any means, but my gosh it adds up! And I don't have that kind of time to be baking for everyone I'd want to bake for (b/c now we're including several different doctors' offices who've been great to us throughout the year.....) Where does it end? I love holiday cheer. And $15 isn't too much for a teacher's gift. But $15 for each and every one of these people on my list is becoming overwhelming. I don't know how people do it. It has to stop somewhere, and I think it's fine to stop at the money-collector of the classroom.

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#26 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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That's about what I typically spend on teachers, but the room mom should have left the amount vague. The one time I sent out an e-mail like that (to collect money for a gift for our room mom, funnily enough, but she was awesome and went way above and beyond all the time), I intentionally included language saying stuff like, "If you'd like to contribute," "any amount is fine," and "please don't feel obligated." I think it's rude to assume that everyone can/will donate a particular amount, and I totally understand your frustration about that, OP. 


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#27 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would be brutally honest, then. Because that's how I am. :)

 

I would email the teacher in charge of the collection and say something like:

 


 

just want to clear this up - there is no teacher making a collection for the room mom.  another MDC'er suggested that i should give a gift to the room mom for her volunteer time.  i disagree for the reasons stated above :)
 


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#28 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post

That's about what I typically spend on teachers, but the room mom should have left the amount vague. The one time I sent out an e-mail like that (to collect money for a gift for our room mom, funnily enough, but she was awesome and went way above and beyond all the time), I intentionally included language saying stuff like, "If you'd like to contribute," "any amount is fine," and "please don't feel obligated." I think it's rude to assume that everyone can/will donate a particular amount, and I totally understand your frustration about that, OP. 


This is the good approach. At our preschool an email went out for teacher appreciation days where we basically bought the teachers lunch and delivered it. Usually on days the preschool was closed but the teachers were working on whatever it was they worked on during breaks. The email always stated "if you'd like" to contribute to the envelope "around $5" or so. There were definitely some high income earners at the school, and there were definitely people utilizing a scholarship program, and there would never be a presumption that a family could give $15 per teacher, especially during the holidays.

 

My husband is homeroom parent for my son's kinder. I hope he's not going to have to do the soliciting. I say leave it up to each family. He already organizes teacher appreciation days, which involve food not gifts.

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#29 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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Gotcha! :)
 

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Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post

just want to clear this up - there is no teacher making a collection for the room mom.  another MDC'er suggested that i should give a gift to the room mom for her volunteer time.  i disagree for the reasons stated above :)
 



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#30 of 58 Old 12-02-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I have to say as a child care worker I would have been very upset if someone was going around trying to get money from parents for a gift for me. I know how many people just can not afford to buy people outside their family a gift. I would never expect one.

 

I give my kids teachers gift cards, or even better donate to hospitals on their behalf.

 

Often a teacher will send a note home saying in lieu of a gift this is a charity they support. You can donate or not and no one else knows.

 

I like that alot better then giving $900 to staff. Wow.

 

But I'm in Canada.....we dont do big gift giving up here it seems. We give to our families and then we bake...a LOT of baking.

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