Are teachers' presents a waste of money?
Do you buy gifts as a show of gratitude for a job well done?
Walk into any gift shop now and you are faced with a wall of special gifts for teacher.
A bookmark for the “best teacher in the world”; a teddy; a mouse mat; keyring.
Do you like buying a gift at the end of the year for your child’s teacher? Or do you feel you are under pressure to buy that box of chocolates or bottle of wine because you see other parents doing the same?
A change of opinion
I admit I was one of those who slavishly bought an end-of-year gift when I saw parents striding onto the playground, armed with bouquets and lavishly wrapped gifts, despite not agreeing with it.
But my attitude changed a few years ago when I spotted, as I helped the PTA to wrap tombola prizes, that a small gift that I’d bought for one teacher had been “regifted”. There were also discarded gifts to staff that still had the gift label on them.
I know teachers aren’t being ungrateful, but it proved what a waste of money it is.
Last year, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers even urged parents not to feel obliged to buy gifts, citing over-the-top Tiffany bracelets and a Mulberry handbag among teachers’ hauls.
Michelle, a primary school teacher, agreed that gift buying at the end of the school year was unnecessary.
It's the thought that counts
As nice as it is to receive gifts, I always feel really bad for those children who haven't had the opportunity to provide a gift even though you can see that they really wanted to,” she says.
Another teacher, who asked not to be named, also admitted that he often donates gifts to the charity shop.
"A bottle of wine was always nice, but the bunnies with ‘best teacher ever’ are meant well but they just feel like a waste of money,” he says. “The occasional gift from certain children is valued if you can sense the thought that has gone into it. It’s not the same for the tenth packet of Tesco Value Walnut Whips.”
Lucy’s mother has been a teacher for 40 years and while she loves receiving handmade cards, often gives away the soap, wine, chocolates and mugs.
One parent said she complained to her school when it was suggested that each donated £15 per child for gifts so that gifts for all staff could be purchased.
Another parent, Ali, said parents should not feel obliged to buy. "If you feel like they have done a great job and so do your children, great get them a present but if they haven't hit the mark or your child can't stand them then really I don't think you should feel you have to buy them anything,” she adds.
And Melanie says: "I find that a lot of parents go over the top. It is better if it is a joint gift from all parents.”
What do you think?
Post a comment
You must be signed in to post to Ready for Ten.
Haven’t registered? It’s really quick and simple.