It was a dilemma several years ago, when my own children were in school, and it continues to be: what, if any, gift to give teachers for the holidays.
A friend of mine recently mentioned that in her children’s school, buying the “perfect” gift for teachers has become somewhat of a competition among parents. Students love to see the look of appreciation on the faces of their favorite teachers. But has it become more than that for parents? Are families giving gifts to keep up with the Joneses and perhaps buying a little favor for our kids? Or are we doing it for the right reason: to show true appreciation for the hard-working professionals who have such a tremendous responsibility for our children?
Assuming the best intentions for everyone, here are a few suggestions to avoid a competition:
- Take up a class $$$ collection and buy a gift card for teachers at an education-supply store or book store. I would suggest that no specific amount of money be requested from parents.
- Ask the teacher if he/she has a specific need for the classroom.
- Ask each child to write a personalized note to the teacher to be included with the class gift.
- Include all the students’ names regardless of their family’s ability to chip in for the gift.
- Don’t buy religious or holiday-specific gifts. Keep in mind that teachers come from different cultural and religious backgrounds, and thus celebrate different holidays. Make it just a gift of appreciation.
And here is another dilemma my friend raises. For how many teachers and school personnel do you buy? Students have several teachers, some of whom may be forgotten. What about the art, music and gym teachers, bus drivers, lunchroom helpers and classroom aides?
What do you do? Let’s use this opportunity to discuss your ideas.
The Indiana Partnerships Center encourages and enables parents to engage with their child’s school, to the mutual benefit of the child and the school. The center, which serves all of Indiana, is one of 62 Parental Information Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.