Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mr.Literature, May 30, 2018.
May 30, 2018
I feel like there’s always a lot of pressure to give.
We do take it money for things during they year. We had two babies born this year. We also had two teachers lose parents the same week, and we have had other things like a student losing a parent. DH teaches at another district. He had two baby showers and two retirements last week, We also have two graduates to send cards/money.
If I have the money, I contribute. When I don't have it, I don't contribute.
Adding: We have a flower fund that we contribute $20 to at the first of the year. It is for funerals when we send flowers from the school.
And sometimes I don't contribute because I'm doing something on my own. For example, I did not contribute for the extra items we sent to teammates when each had a parent die because my DH and I contributed money to each of them on our own,
We have a staff fund - we all put in $30 at the beginning of the year and it covers most of these events. For babies, if we throw a shower, we simply leave a basket it a communal space and if you want to put an item in the gift basket, you can. But there is no obligation to contribute/attend. Ever.
We also have a "social fund" that covers most of the basics. For first babies, retirements, or staff moving to other locations, there is an envelope in the office for contributions. Sometimes I contribute, sometimes I don't. When I do contribute, sometimes it's $5 and sometimes it's $20. There is never any pressure; I do what feels right for me at the time.
We also have a social fund that we optionally put money towards ($25), and they organize the gifts, the cards, the flowers, the fun, etc...
There's no shame if you don't put any money towards it, and you're always welcome to put more towards it. Ends up working out perfectly.
Thus, I don't feel obligated.
I don't feel pressured to give -- I generally do, because I want to. I do think our staff parties are way too expensive for what they are -- $20 for generic catered food (pasta, BBQ) and stuff I can't eat.
I'm with you - there was always a lot of pressure to "give" at my last school. Every year everyone was expected to contribute $25 to the Sunshine Fund that was used for cards and gifts throughout the year. Some social butterfly would always volunteer to collect the money and would actively pester those who didn't pay. We would receive regular emails showing who contributed and special recognition was given to those on the list at staff meetings. A student monitor would also be sent with a collection envelope to the teachers who didn't respond. As a last resort, I received a personal visit from the social butterfly reminding me to participate. Unfortunately, this kind of pressure has the opposite effect on me!
I especially hated seeing the student monitor being sent around to collect money for special events: raising money for needy students to go to camp, baby showers, retirement gifts (for teachers I didn't know), funerals for families that could not afford one (families I didn't know) - of course, attached to the large envelope was a sheet for contributors to write their names and dollar amounts. Whether it be the social committee, school secretary or principal asking for money, there seemed to be no end to opportunities for one to give. I should mention that this was at a dysfunctional school that the principal herself once described as being a "toxic workplace" where no one trusted anyone else!
Invariably, the Sunshine Fund would be depleted mid-year, prompting a second campaign of giving. After a few years, I decided not to participate in the "Feel Good Fund" - this was after my parents passed away and I was hospitalized for surgery and never received a sympathy or get-well card.
I often forget to give, because I so rarely have cash. I always feel awful, as I received a lovely gift from my staff last year during a difficult time. I always TRY to give though.
I feel sometimes they tap us out at my school too! But ultimately it is important to celebrate births, weddings, etc. As well as it is to support people who have lost a loved one, decided to retire, or have surgery. I think my school does stuff for the people who pay into the fund. So I am sorry that happened to you Been There.
I do feel pressure to give because I know there are comments made about those who don't. It can get to be a lot at times. I've also benefited from those collections, so I also feel pressure to return the favor, so to speak.
I don't feel a lot of pressure in my current school, but I definitely have at other schools. My former school social committee had a fund similar to what has been described by others. They were vocal about only providing cards and flowers for people who contributed. I didn't agree with that viewpoint, and I didn't feel that I had enough money, so I didn't contribute. Personally, I think that, if the point of the fund is to help out colleagues, you should provide cards and flowers to everyone, regardless of their contribution. I'd rather keep my $25 and use it on myself rather than give my $25 to someone else and let them spend it on me later, if I even happen to have an occasion where it's warranted. I also don't like the specific fee that is set and required in order to participate. I would much prefer a "contribute what you feel you can" system.
I wish my school was set up like some of yours. It's expected that each team gets a gift for showers. My team does $10 each, which doesn't seem like much, but we have a large staff. There are typically 8-10 baby or wedding showers each year.
For many years, we also had a "social committee" that we were expected to contribute $40 to, which made NO sense to me. Why would individual teams and the social committee do something for showers? Many of the older teachers wouldn't back down on this because "it's always been done this way." They insisted that they cherished whatever trinket the social committee gave for showers. They also used some of the money for potlucks on PD days. Again, if you want to participate in the potluck, you should just bring a dish to share.
This year, we had enough turnover that those who wanted to continue doing the social committee fund were finally outvoted. Even so, I probably contributed close to $100 for baby/wedding showers this year.
This sounds like my old school. We did these monthly Friday breakfast potluck things. Every year, the principal's secretary would literally assign every single staff member one of Fridays and place the assignments in the official staff handbook. As such, you were responsible for collaborating with the other people who got assigned the same day to coordinate a breakfast for the staff. There was no reimbursement.
Eventually, with turnover, younger and newer staff - like me - thought that this didn't seem to make sense as a "requirement" in the staff handbook. To us, it seemed like something better left as voluntary. I was a "union" (association) rep at the time, and, in one of our union meetings, we brought it up with the principals. They scoffed at us and couldn't believe that some people didn't want to participate. Apparently, that's the way it's always been done, so that's the way it had to continue... We were told that it's not required and that you didn't have to participate if you'd rather not, but we were also told how sad they thought it was that some staff had that perspective.
I get approached by former students quite regularly for sponsorship. I normally don't hesitate to contribute.
I begrudgingly donate to the Sunshine Club. I'm always dishing out money to pay for monthly (working) lunches for our Curriculum Leadership Team meetings and buying treats for our bi-monthly staff meetings. It all adds up fast!
Perhaps a new thread might be started to share how different schools pay for staff lunches and treats. I know some receive monetary support from their PTA - principal receives a monthly stipend. Others actually embed such expenses in the school budget!
May 31, 2018
The sunshine committee will come around every so often and ask for donations for some event. I don't carry money with me so I usually don't have anything to contribute. If they will accept a few dollars the next day sometimes I will bring it in. If not then I don't worry about it.
If I have money to give at the moment, I'll put it in the collection envelope as it passes around. Often, a pair of elementary school-aged kids walk around with this envelope. How can you say no to them when they tell you it's for someone's parent who just passed away.
We have a big high school. The Sunshine Club sends out mass emails, which I promptly delete. No one ever questions me on it. When we have department celebrations, I will put money in the envelope if it comes around though.
Can you please elaborate on what you are mean. I think money from the PTA is pretty atypical. Are you saying that putting it in the budget shouldn't be done? Where I am our P isn't allowed to use the school budget - which doesn't seem reasonable to me - there should be a line for food for staff events. I don't think it's reasonable that YTG is paying for all the food provided to teachers during meetings out of his own pocket.
I agree with you. Even as a student teacher I was being pressured to contribute. It started out small where I would buy cookies for the staff lounge. It escalated to the point where I was putting money in student accounts in order for them to buy Christmas presents in the school store. The worst part is that I was working for free, had no income of my own, and was accumulating more debt.
You're right, money from the PTA is rather atypical. However, I did work at one school in which the principal was given a "donation" every year from the parent booster club (maybe it wasn't actually the PTA) which could be used at his discretion - I think it may have been around $200. As you probably know, public institutions (from federal to local levels) are notorious for establishing budgets with questionable line items - obtuse, vague wording is a dead giveaway. Unbeknownst to many people who work in schools, is that many principals have discretionary funds available (not always part of the school budget) to use however they wish.
Many years ago when I was studying to become a school administrator, I expressed my observation to the professor that their was no straightforward process for developing school budgets. I was flatly told that if I expected to learn an understandable, common sense approach to school finance, I should probably consider a different profession.
I can only speculate on the reasons some administrators so willingly pay for food provided to teachers with their own money: a) hefty salaries, b) school culture/tradition (don't rock the boat), c) belief that doing so will earn loyalty and cooperation from teachers, d) erroneously think they can write off the entire amount on their taxes, e) hefty salaries, f) love their staff What are your thoughts?
I don't think my P has a hefty salary. They make marginally more than teachers in Canada and work far more hours. I think they do it for the same reason that teachers buy stuff for their classroom - because they care/ want to be a positive influence. I think that Ps should have a budget line for food for staff events.
Jun 1, 2018
I like the "social fund" idea. I've worked at schools that have that. $25 or $30 once a year, and you're all set!
Personally, I don't like gift-giving in a work environment, especially for baby showers, wedding-related stuff, or retirement. Buy your own freakin' stuff!
If there is a social fund, I give to that, but I won't give individually unless you are my friend. The key, however, is that I don't expect gifts in return.
When I got married, no one in my whole school knew. None of their business. Because with that comes a whole slew of social norms that I'm not comfortable with and don't agree with. And once someone does it for you, they'll expect reciprocity.
Now, if someone passes away or has a miscarriage, that's a different sorry. I absolutely have no problem with that. Those are unexpected, tragic events that I like to contribute to in order to help the receiver heal.
Other stuff, I'll pass. Maybe one day I'll change my mind.
Oh, and I don't feel bad about it! Unless the person wants to replenish my bank account, they can have several seats!
Oh yes. We have a fund that gives to employees when a loved one passes away or they face a hardship, $30 a year.
On top of that, there are constant fundraisers by adults and student alike. And they always come around just before or right after payday!
Jun 2, 2018
I guess it depends on what you would consider to be a "hefty" salary. For me, a 6-figure salary is quite hefty. This is what I found after conducting a cursory check online - admin. salaries in Toronto. Although teacher salaries vary throughout Canada, in some provinces teachers seem to be quite well-paid, according to this article.
My school has a social committee and everyone is asked to contribute $40. per year. We also collect extra for big events such as retirements, weddings, and first babies.
Our principal has a budget and can spend it how she wishes. Very occasionally she will purchase food for the staff.
Jun 3, 2018
I can’t speak for all site administrators, but this is how I feel! Thank you for understanding!
Yes, and no. I constantly have student asking me to buy things for fundraisers. I always buy from the first who asks.
We have a social fund, which gives flowers for a death in the family, birth, etc. It is mostly funded from the money from the vending machines in the lounge. When it gets low, we may all be asked to throw in $5-10.
We have a big event on campus each year, hosted by one of our service organizations, that gives money to a member of our school/community that is experiencing a hardship. We are expected to support that event with our time and/or money.
Other that that, we are lucky. Our service organizations provide: cookies in the lounge once a week, random breakfasts throughout the year. Our PTSA provides: a birthday meal each semester, breakfast on professional development days, teacher appreciation week, etc. Our holiday party is hosted at a retiree's house and is potluck, and our end of year celebration is catered and you are only expected to pay if you go. We all know how lucky we are to work at a school that is so well funded and supported by our organizations, so we usually don't mind giving when students ask.
In the past, however, we were expected to make an annual donation to a local charity. With new administration, the expectation was much reduced. Our new P realized that no one really wanted to give, and we felt pressured by admin so that they could go to a luncheon and get a trophy based on percentage of faculty and staff who gave. Now, instead of assigning a deputy on each floor to compel and nag about donations, it's one person's job. He distributes the forms, and we choose if we want to give, and if so how much. There's no nagging or constant reminders. We are all much happier that way!
Some admin do have bloated salaries, but some teacher salaries — and quite a few in California — quickly match those of P’s and VP’s. For example, I will make $60,000 next year just from my teaching salary and max out at $100,000 in year 13. Plus, with tutoring I will make a little over $90k next year and at least $130k in year 13, which is on par with a lot of VP salaries and most P’s.
That was too bad. Sorry for your loss...I have been there...It is good to know you are healthy now. When things like that happen, you almost want to stay home and give yourself time to heal. (And make everyone else deal with your class!!!)
And when Suzy Snowflake comes around with the dreaded envelope tell her: “I don’t have any $. I’m still recovering from my parents’ funeral expenses and my hospital bills. Then turn around. You don’t have to be rude, but be clear. You deserve support and care just as much as everyone else.
As is the case with some respondents, I believe you're the rare exception to the rule, even for those teaching at the high school level. Most elementary and middle school salary schedules in California don't reach six figures. If I recall correctly, you teach at an exclusive private school which can afford to pay high salaries - your personal situation may therefore not be applicable to those who work in the public school system. Consider yourself to be one of the fortunate few.
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