Recently there have been a number of posts on social media about christmas gifts for teachers. There are questions galore! Should people buy chocolates, give hand made gifts, buy vouchers or contribute to a bigger gift. It feels like such a minefield. However, it really isn’t that difficult at all. As a former teacher I can assure you of the following:
- Absolutely no teacher expects a gift! It is always lovely to be appreciated and, of course, it is always lovely to receive a gift, but there is definitely no expectation – ever!
- No teacher would moan about/be disappointed with a gift – no matter what it is. We are always so delighted that anyone has taken time out to buy us something, and it is always hugely appreciated!
- Teachers love any gift, whether it is a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, a gift card or a handmade card/gift – it really is the thought that counts!
At the moment there appears to be a trend for groups of parents to get together and contribute an amount of money into a collection, which is then turned into vouchers for the teachers and teaching assistants. While this is very lovely, and would be a great thing to receive, it can put a lot of pressure onto parents. Handing over a monetary contribution can be a minefield – how much is expected? How much will seem too little, or too extravagant? What can make it feel worse is that it is normally another parent collecting the money, and the pressure to give the ‘correct’ amount can be huge. For some parents, £5 is a large amount for them, and to give this type of money may leave them short. Teachers would feel awful if they felt that any family was going short of money just to give them a gift!
So my suggestions are:
- If you want to go into a collection, and are happy to contribute, then £5 will be more than enough to contribute. Of course you can contribute more if you wish, but it certainly wouldn’t be needed.
- If you don’t have the money to spare, then something homemade is always wonderful to receive. Perhaps a handmade card, or even some biscuits or cakes will go down well.
- Some people would prefer to buy their own present but worry about what to buy. Someone once said to me ‘surely no teacher wants to receive 30 boxes of chocolate!’. Well, they are wrong! Any teacher would love to receive several boxes of chocolate. Mine used to last me well into Easter!
- But please don’t feel the ‘need’ to buy a gift for the teacher. It is not expected and there are loads of other ways to show your thanks if you wish too.
It can become very easy to get into a competition with other parents about the type of gift or value of gift given to the teacher. But teachers really don’t pay attention to the value of a gift. While it is lovely to receive a gift, and will be very appreciated, it is not the be all and end all! What they do notice is the thoughtful message in the card, or the quiet word at the end of the day, or just the smile and thanks at the end of the term!