Monday, June 12, 2006



I didn't mean to open a can of worms here (well I suppose I did or I wouldn't have posted what I did) but really, I stand by my belief that $10 is excessive. I'm going to put $2 in an envelope and just quietly put it in the cubby of the child whose mother is collecting this. (Yes, it was she who suggested the amount, not the teacher or the school.)

And whether or not the teacher spends a lot of her own money on supplies has no bearing on this gift. Neither does the fact that she's taken a lot of sick time, been to at least one if not two conferences, went on an illegal strike for two weeks in the fall and is prepared to strike again this fall if she doesn't get a 24% wage increase. (Health care workers took a 15% DEcrease last year and only got 10 or 11% of it back, spread over four years, in April of this year).

The endless nickel-and-diming of the school shouldn't have a bearing on this either, but I really feel like I already gave at the office, you know?

We're in difficult financial circumstances a lot of the time, and we can't be the only ones (several single parents in the school). There was a $20 fee per kid for school supplies at the beginning of the year (and with comings and goings of new kids that has to have been about $500 for the class for the school). We also had a "sports day" (you remember, where I got all bitter about not getting a ribbon for the hula hoop contest?) where we had to pay about $6 or 7 for the kids' lunches, and then last week there were "tea towels" on sale by the PAC for $12 each. There is another sports day tomorrow, for which we are expected to collect sponsors for our child, with one day's notice. The kids will run around the field and all monies collected go to the school.

It would be a lot easier, for me at least, if the two issues were separate and at the beginning of the year the school just said "dude, we're gonna need $150 per kid for supplies. Figure out how to get it."

And if, at the end of the year, everyone pitched in $2-5 for a Chapters gift certificate.

I'm with YOU!
$5.00 seems reasonable to me. That means that our teacher would get a $100.00 gift. Bit $10.00 is outragous.

We won't discuss what she spends on our kids, or how much I spend on PTA stuff and other school things, or the fund raisers...

I too wish they'd be honest with us about what they'll need at the begnning of the year and keep things to that. I paid $300! in supplies etc costs AND bought a bunch of stuff, some of which was never used, and still got periodic "we need $X.00 for this field trip" announcements.
I particularly resent the school supplies lists that include stuff the kids never touch all year. Like 2 pads of graph paper?? Why not say "we may use graph paper - we'll let you know when we need it"
Seems like the schools provide less and less each year, and the teachers and the parents provide more and more, while still being expected to extort money from all our relatives. A friend of mine subbed at a school recently where the teachers had to use microphones in their 25-child-per-class rooms, because the speech teacher convinced the principal that was the best way to spend a $35,000 grant they'd received. Gah.
I think, too, that it's a little much to expect a gift at the end of the year - I work all year long too, and no one gives me any gifts for doing so. I give gifts because I mean them, not because someone guilted me into it.
Is it any wonder that our young people don't know the value of a dollar? Everything they come into contact with has a price tag attached. Stand your ground and set an example for your daughter. Two dollars is plenty for the gift. Bravo for you!
I don't give teacher gifts at all,mainly because they never say thank you in my experience. The thing that made me come to a screeching and grinding halt with my generosity was being told by the head teacher [patronising little git] that I wasn't grateful enough for the jobs people did for Oliver. The jobs they are paid for,for fucks sake ! A simple thank you will just have to do !
When did it become an obligation for parents to give a gift to the teacher anyway? I'm not a parent but my partner is and he says his daughter has never given a gift to a teacher and that it's just some kind of crappy suburban status thing. While I think a gift for the teacher is a really nice gesture, I'm sort of appalled at how much some people spend. What's WRONG with a nice green dishcloth, or a jar of whatever preserves you put up last week, or some homemade bread?

That said, I'm equally appalled at how much money teachers seem to be obligated to spend on supplies that should be provided by the school. Offloading the cost of consumables like scribblers and pencils onto the kids is one thing, but readers and curriculum materials bought by the teacher? What the FUCK? And this is in Canada. If schools can't afford to provide this stuff then we should be paying more taxes (yes, I have no kids and I WANT to pay more taxes so your kid can have classroom supplies. Teachers shouldn't have to pay for that and neither should parents).

Jeez, that's what happens when you get on a good rant, eh? It encourages others to rant back.
I was involved with schools and PAC's for years (I had five kids!) and I don't recall if we ever did a class gift - unless htere was something special like the teacher had a baby and then it was usually organized by the kids - you know they brought a $1 and got flowers or a sleeper. My husband taught for years (and coached - I was a single parent during basketball season) and the most memorable "gifts" were the few times a parent wrote a letter thanking him for his time. As a new teacher myself (yes, I went back and got an education) the best appreciation and thanks is when the students (I teach high school) say "thanks for doing that Ms.M. that was great". So, say thanks and give that green dishcloth.
Cindy in BC
Very rarely do I leave comments but this subject got me out of the shadows. I have 4 children, all school aged. I can't afford to give $5 here, $10 there x 4 kids.......I'd go broke. I respectfully decline when asked for these types of donations. If a notice was sent home with an envelope attached, I stick $1 in it. Don't get me wrong, I give to my children's schools and teachers. I just give my time as opposed to my money. We have a huge list at the beginning of school of all the supplies each child must bring in. Most of these are for the classroom (rolls of paper towels, boxes of tissues, ziploc baggies etc.). I feel I've donated enough to the classroom. As for a gift for the teachers, I give a gift during the holidays only. A small token gift, for him or herself ($5 gift card to coffee shop). And at the end of the school year I write a heart felt thank you note. The teachers have told me over the years how the notes have touched them and meant more to them than any obligatory group gift. And don't get me started on the cost of field the last 2 weeks I have shelled out over $70!
I am so glad my daughter is graduating!

Did the woman even say what she was going to buy for that $200???

That is a little crazy, and with all of the stuff happening with the teachers here in BC, no way.
I agree that a $200 gift for a teacher in ANY form is ridiculous (and my family has two teachers in it!) End of year gift --sorry... that is what they get a paycheck for. At Christmas I made the third grade teacher a scarf. With nice yarn no less.....
that was PLENTY.
I'm with you 100%! That said, I'll probably give my daughters teachers gifts this year on my own - but only because I feel that my daughters have really gotten help above and beyond the call of duty and I want to express gratitude beyond all words.(one daughter was dealing with a newly diagnosed learning disability)

In the past I have felt nickel and dimed and resentful. Also, there are often too damn many teachers for each kid to be able to be generous with them all. The teacher, the teacher's aide, blah, blah, blah. Rather than try to figure out where to draw the line I elected not to give to anyone at all.
Teachers here don`t get gifts. They don`t look for them either. I find all this a bit shocking. Does the kid whose mother give the biggest gift get tne best grades? All a bit suspect.
In more than a few school districts here in the lower 48, teacher gifts are discouraged or forbidden.

Elaborate and lavish gifts are never appropriate.

Can you say "bribe?" (I was pretty sure you could.)
Sometimes the gift-giving goes crazy.

As a teacher's child, holidays were good in our family for the extra chocolates & candy, but they also expanded the useless "Teacher" mug/ornament/kitsch collections.

While we're griping, as a relatively new working parent I get a resentful feeling when I pick up my child & find a gift included (for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc.). I find myself thinking that I'd rather pay less for daycare than have them spend my money on gifts for my child that are of limited value/use.
I'm with you that a $200 gift is excessive (for a teacher from a class, that is. Personally I feel that a $200 gift is just fine - especially if it's a gift certificate for fiber...just saying).

Not only did I get to pay for supplies this year but I had the honor of coughing up $500 for a band trip to VA. So I got to worry about my kid for four days and pay for the priveledge. Yippee.
It really sucks that teachers spend as much as they do. I mean that. It's wrong. With all of the parents spending what they spend and grant money being pissed away on BS that the teachers should still need to spend money to adequately teach is obscene.

That, however, has no bearing whatsoever on gift giving. Giving gifts should be something that is heartfelt and exceptional. We degrade the act of gifting when we demand it, expect it or are offended when we are not *adequately* gifted. Even when we are deeply grateful, a sincere gesture of our thanks is rarely demonstrated in the form of mandatory group gifts. The entire situation is beyond tacky. You are handling it perfectly, by refusing to be dragged into any drama by not giving at all, yet refusing to give in to the apalling demand by giving what you feel is right and adequate. If everyone had your courage, things like this would cease to be an issue.
Oh, for fuck's sake. I agree with you and the majority of other commenters. When did everything get so extravagant? All my daughter's elementary school years, I used to dig up and pot an iris from my garden to send to the teacher, if I even bothered with that. Many other people around here didn't even give gifts. I suppose it's probably different now. Who knows. I listen and watch about the extravagance of such things as bridal shower gifts, as well, these days....a woman who was going to be someone's maid of honor was telling me the story that all the other bridesmaids wanted to (and were forcing her to, though she objected) contribute for a SPA DAY for the bride-to-be in New York City. This costs probably a thousand bucks or more. The maid of honor said she couldn't afford it, she didn't believe in it, but all the other needing-to-impress types were shaming her into going along with it. Ridiculous. And how much you wanna bet that couple is divorced within five years, anyway? Obscene.

Sorry, that was a rant off on a tangent. Not on topic. Will you sue me? :D
ok i know i'm late here. but i have a few comments.

i don't think there's anything wrong with giving a teacher a gift. it's a thankless job and hard. your little angels aren't always very well behaved (not yours rabbitch) and from what i hear from friends who are teachers, neither are you (again, not you rabbitch).

giving a gift to the teacher is also not all that unusual. i (or rather my mother) would give a gift to my teacher every year when i was growing up -- 30+ years ago.

however, i do think it sucks that you've been pressured into giving $10.
and think it's great that you are giving what you feel is right.

now don't get me wrong here. i believe it's for the good of society and all that, and we need to educate the kids, yadda yadda yadda, but i have no kids, and yet i pay taxes to send other people's children to school. so if you think you're getting shafted, just imagine if you didn't have any kids and still had to pay.
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