Disappointed in my students :(

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    As a holiday gift, I got my students candy cane shaped tubes of M&Ms. I spent about $2 each - not a lot but I spend money on them all year long so, in my mind, it's enough. I didn't mention to them that I got anything for them. I just handed them out at the end of the day. I was floored at the reaction. One of my students looked at me with shock. "This is all I get?" he said in amazed disappointment. "I thought it was going to be something good, like a Nintendo DS. I don't even want this." Another girl started sobbing loudly and shoved it away from her. "I wanted a Barbie doll at least" she huffed at me. Only one of my students even bothered to thank me.

    I know it's indicative of a lack of maturity but I can't help feeling hurt. I can't understand their absurd sense of entitlement and don't know where it would come from. I can't imagine that their previous teachers lavished them with expensive gifts. And of course it occurred to neither of them that they gave me nothing. It's not that I expect anything of course! However, I do find it ironic.

    Anyone ever experienced a reaction like that before?

    ETA - I absolutely adore my students and it usually seems like they feel the same. That's why I'm hurt by this.
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I'd have taken the items back from those two. You don't like it? Ok, you don't get it.
     
  4. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    That's awful! I find it crazy they would even expect those kind of gifts from a teacher...really odd.

    I would have probably taken the gifts back the two and have a about their attitude.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    This. I'm sorry that they reacted this way.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I would have absolutely taken the gifts and placed them on my desk. Their attitudes are awful. Can you imagine what they expect on Christmas morning?

    I've never bought Christmas gifts for my students.
     
  7. newday

    newday Rookie

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    You sound like the kind of teacher who goes above and beyond. What a sad thing for those students to say. Maybe a lesson (or three) on gratitude after the new year is in order here?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  8. otterpop

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    :thumb:
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    That is terrible. Like yourself, I spent $2/student. (Two items from the dollar store and all got the same items.) My students were excited and several said thank you.

    I do get what you mean about being ungrateful. I have seen it too. I am use to children not saying thank you, but complaining when your teacher buys you candy? Wow, that is sad.
     
  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    You're really not supposed to give children candy.
     
  11. chemnerd19

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    Oh how awful! :( I'm so sorry this happened, Jerseygirlteach. I would have taken the gifts back from those who were being ungrateful as well.
     
  12. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Happened today

    I had one student unhappy because she didn't get the Go Fish card game.(hers was something else)....I said that she could give it back to me!! She kept it.(I gave them a book, a card game, and candy.) I like to give, but it is hard when they aren't grateful!!
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Your heart was in the right place and that's all that matters.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

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    That's ridiculous, I'm so sorry. :( I agree that they could use a few lessons on gratitude.

    My students were the exact opposite. I let them choose a Scholastic book, so they already knew what they were getting. Yesterday I told them that I was going to hand out their gifts, and they all cheered. They were even more excited when I told them they were also getting a candy cane. I have had years where kids were less than grateful, though, and have said things like, "Is this all we get?!"
     
  15. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    All I can say is, "WOW!"
     
  16. Special-t

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    I guess you don't have to buy gifts next year. I've never bought gifts for students. I personally think it's not necessary. More fun is a class party the day before the break, with snacks and a holiday or animated movie.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I gave them each a cookie. I do that periodically throughout the year though, (this time they were different though, those butter cookies you get in the tin). Most said thanks. I calculate that I probably only spend a few cents at most on each student since I have 180 students and only spend between 6 and 12 dollars. I've sometimes gotten a similar reaction you've gotten but only from like one student a year, and ironically, it's always the students who probably aren't getting enough to eat at home and who have major issues at home.

    I'm sorry that happened. I would have definitely taken it away, or maybe inform the parent what happened. I assume they're going on break next week and it's probably better that they get the lesson sooner than later.
     
  18. cindy lou

    cindy lou Rookie

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    Not a Christmas gift but...

    A few years ago I bought each student a memento from our class trip. It was just something small, but I wanted them to have something since they were not allowed to bring money and shop for themselves.

    I gave the students the items as a surprise when we returned to school and most of them were very appreciative. One little angel looked at me with a smirk and says, "How much did this cost?" I saw red. I let her have it. I told her how rude she was and that when someone gives you a gift you accept it graciously. Then I laid on the guilt. How awful for her to make someone feel bad about trying to do something nice for her, etc. etc.

    The best part? Her mother was a chaperone that day and was standing right there when all this happened-with a smirk to match her little angel. Maybe I taught them both a lesson that day but I doubt it. :(
     
  19. smurfette

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    While some students may forget to say thank you, I've never had that kind of reaction before. I don't know where they get off expecting those kinds of gifts from school. It' s not like you see teachers buying Nintendos and Barbies for their students. I agree with the posters who said you should have taken them back from those two and taught them how to accept a gift graciously. I think your gift idea was perfectly appropriate and very thoughtful of you.
     
  20. Ms. I

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    That's a real shame how they acted! This kind of thing makes you want to smack them! I'm working with high schoolers at an alternative school for the first time & was surprised w/ how many said thank you. For a few I still had to say, "What do you say?" One new student who I had only worked with a couple times had the gall to ask me what I got him. I didn't have to get him anything being so new, but I did, but lectured him about how kids shouldn't expect anything because I don't have to get anything for them if I don't want to. I got them each an irridescent, silver pencil by the way...yes very simple, but these kids loved it.

    Sorry, but to me, this is no excuse. It's the crummy way parents are raising their kids today. I knew to say thank you in kindergarten...maybe pre-school. (I did a lot of good/polite things when I was a child that kids don't do these days.)

    Darn right! I would have done that too, then given the whole class a brief lecture on the importance of how one should NEVER expect anything from anyone because they sure don't have to do it. Also how we should be grateful for the nice things that are done for us. Obviously, this is a foriegn concept for them at home. Ungrateful kids really burn me up! :mad:
     
  21. Loveslabs

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    I did take a gift back once, and the parent called and complained. When I handed out treat bags (fun pencil, candy cane, pink eraser, homework bag, and chocolate kisses) the one child said, "I thought you would get us something cool. That's stupid." I didn't say a word. I just gently removed the bag from the desk and continued on my way.

    The student started complaining that he wanted the bag back. I ignored the child and finished up. As the children prepared to go home I privately and quietly explained to the child that the comment was rude, hurtful, etc.

    The child just stared at the bag on my desk and didn't respond. As the child walked away he tried to take the bag from my desk. I moved the bag and told him no.

    The child went straight home and told the parents he was the only child that didn't receive a treat bag. He told the parents I just didn't like him.
    They called and complained to the principal who directed them they needed to speak to me first.

    When I explained what happened they said I was lying. Then the mother changed tactics and said I was wrong because you don't give gifts because you expect a certain reaction from someone. She told me you give a gift out of the goodness of your heart, so I should have given the gift no matter what the reaction.

    Fortunately, my principal spoke up and defended me. She mentioned children need to be taught manners and sometimes they need to learn the hard way when they don't do the right thing. The mother then went into a rage over we were only there to educate her child, not teach manners. She felt manners were not one of the state standards, therefore we should not be teaching them. :dizzy:
     
  22. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oh.my.God! Unfortunately, there's probably a lot of other parents out there somewhere who'd do the same thing! Outrageous!!! :mad: How did people get to be so mean, unethical, immoral, & the whole 9 yards?!
     
  23. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I'm surprisingly encouraged reading this thread. Many of Ron Clark's Essential 55 deal with gratitude and comments made by students. His rule, and one that I follow with my 7th graders, is that if there is no thank you, I take the item back. I teach this to my kids day one with the understanding that it is not out of anger or disrespect to them but to teach them the importance of gratitude. It happens multiple times a year but I've never had a kid resent me for it, they are in fact quite apologetic because they know they blew the rule.

    The encouragement comes from how many teachers I've heard from who think this borders on child abuse (and I'm not exaggerating, I've heard that exact comment.) I'm amazed that there is anyone who would defend a lack of gratitude and respect in the face of giving.

    So, I'm with the rest here who wisely said take it back. Tell them it was never about the item itself but the act of giving and showing that you were thinking about them. By doing that you'll have given them a much larger gift than you could ever buy. It isn't about getting revenge - it is about teaching kids how to behave in society (which obviously many of their parents aren't doing.)

    Cheer up, you did a good thing.
     
  24. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I don't think it is about people being more mean, less ethical, less moral ... I think children have become so prized and cherished (hear me out here) that parents feel like they must fight every single battle for their child, the world must ALWAYS treat their child fairly, their child must NEVER feel hurt or sad.

    Instead of the child learning about gratitude, the child learned: my feelings get hurt, Mom will make it better. OR my feelings get hurt, the person who hurt them owns all the fault.

    I think I get the "Mama Bear" mentality (and it can be a good thing), but sometimes I think it goes waaaay too far. Parents go whack-a-doodle over things today that my parents would have said, "well, that's a shame, but suck it up, the world isn't fair." Or, in the case of having a gift taken away because I called the gift stupid, the response would have been, "well, what lesson did you learn? You say thank you. She didn't have to get you anything, but she cared enough to get you something and you blew it."

    I'm not a mom. Perhaps I don't "get" it.
     
  25. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, it's supposed to be about the thought, not the item.

    At our school, this is what we did our last day: every class period was 30 minutes (minimum day), and each class did something different. In one room they served home made breakfast made in the classroom (pancakes, sausages, juice), in others they watched movie, etc.
    In mine I passed out little gifts from the the principal. She had little cards printed out (about 2"x2") with the school logo saying "what I appreciate about you". She hand wrote something for each kid, (we only have about 70 students, so it's small) individualized about them, and attached a small candy cane.
    I passed them out, and told them if they wanted those blank cards, they can have some to write on and give to anyone (at school, at home, friends, etc). Because giving a gift is not about the item, but about the thought, and even if you have nothing to give, you can still make someone happy.

    I didn't know how it would work out, knowing how ungrateful kids can be nowadays, and how unpredictable our students can be. But these kids were so appreciative! They were so happy to read the little messages, especially since they knew it wasn't just a mass produced item. Some kids taped their little card on their jackets and wore them all day.
    A lot of them asked for the little blank cards for to write, and gave us (I got a few, and I know some students wrote them for other teachers), but they also kept them to actually give to their families or girlfriends / boyfriends.

    It was really neat.
     
  26. Jerseygirlteach

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    Thank you for the responses. Of course, I agree with everyone that I should have taken the gifts back from those two. I was so surprised at the reactions that I didn't even think to do that, but now I'm mad at myself that I didn't. It wouldn't have been out of spite; they just need to learn how inappropriate their reactions were.

    As it was, I just said to the whole class (while looking directly at the two of them most of the time) that I'm sorry if I've disappointed anyone but they should know that no one owes them a gift so if they get one, the appropriate response is a thank you.

    Ku alum - I am a mom and if either of my kids reacted like that to a teacher gift, I would fully support the teacher taking it back. I'd also be very embarrassed that my child had acted that way.
     
  27. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    No, ku, I think you hit the nail on the head. I see this especially with my students who are special ed. My daughter is 9 and if she comes across a problem (recently the teacher marked a question wrong that I agreed with J and said was right), I make it her responsibility to address it with her teachers. I also reinforce that she say thank you when she is given something. She's normally good about doing it herself, but sometimes she forgets.
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    What a wonderful, thoughtful thing to do.
     
  29. Pencil Monkey

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    I would have smiled and said something to the effect of I don't have to give you anything. But I wouldn't have taken it back.



    I have only once ever given my class a present. I didn't do it ever again because I was so shocked at how they reacted. I gave my class of third graders a book. I bought them from those book club flyers and thought that the kids would really love that particular story. I even wrote a little note in the books for the kids. I attached a candy cane. After I handed them out I had several kids take the candy cane and then threw the book in the trash. One kid ripped the book up and threw a fit. :eek:
     
  30. MissScrimmage

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    I gave each of my students a book this year. They were SOOO excited and most didn't say thank you because 1. they thought it was from Santa 2. they didn't realize they got to keep the book. A few of my girls said thank you but the reactions of the entire class as they opened their presents was the best part.
     
  31. DHE

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    This is ridiculous. I would have handled the situation the same way. If one of my children had done that he/she would apologize because it is all about respect. Who thinks that it is not the school's responsibility to teach manners.

    A few days ago, my partner's little girl who is in Pre-K came in my room with her mom. I told her good morning three times and she did not respond. I told her, "If she couldn't tell me good morning, she would have to get out of my room." Her mother told her to stand in the hall. Manners are very important.
     
  32. 3Sons

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    My guess would be they'd already started trying to rip into you, and couldn't back out gracefully without losing face?

    Obviously it's ludicrous, and you're fully entitled to not give the gift if they're going to complain about it. The mom's right that you don't give a gift explicitly to get a reaction, but you certainly don't need to stand for a slap in the face!

    Incidentally, my kids are happy with pencils/erasers, and a candy cane, and we're in a fairly affluent area where a lot of the kids may feel entitled.
     
  33. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    That's terrible OP! Your gift and the gesture alone was sweet. :hugs:

    Another poster mentioned this, but maybe after you get back a class discussion/lesson about appreciation is in order? Great opportunity for a teachable moment.
     
  34. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I'm sorry you had to feel the pain after going the extra mile for your kiddos. Hopefully, they learned a lesson from your little talk.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    At least you now know where the students' lack of manners comes from especially if the mother doesn't feel that they're worth teaching.
     
  36. FarFromHome

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    I've had many who never said thank you in the past, but no comments like that. I also would have said something about taking it back, but I don't know if I would have actually taken it back.

    I gave the kids in one of my after school groups a small gift. Almost every one of them said thank you, and they seemed very excited about the small gift (picture of the group, small activity book, holiday stamp, holiday stickers, and 4 pieces of candy). I actually was surprised at how excited they seemed because my school is in kind of a wealthier area.

    I think you did something great for them and I'm sorry that you got that reaction.
     
  37. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think my reply would be: if you don't like it, give it back so I can give it someone who actually appreciates it.
     
  38. DHE

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    Good answer, Ling
     
  39. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I really can't believe they did this. You must teach in a very affluent school. I gave each of my middle school students $3.00 worth of gifts from the Dollar Tree. 2 of them were edible gifts, and the other one was either a football, or hair ties. They acted like they won the lottery.

    Gosh. Yours must be spoiled little brats.
     
  40. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    What's wrong with people? I would have been mad if you DIDN'T take it!!!
     
  41. Joy

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    You shouldn't feel bad about this. Out of all of your students there were only two that were rude. Honestly, their comments don't even make too much sense. Have they never been given a gift by a teacher? I'm sure there isn't a teacher in the world giving away Barbie dolls!

    Kids today are often not taught any manners and even poor kids can be spoiled. Your gift sounds wonderful and I cannot think of one kid in my whole school who wouldn't love to get that! Unfortunately, we can't give out candy.
     

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