Holiday Gifts from parents...anything like this?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by McKennaL, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    I was just about to sit down and write a few holiday thank yous to deliver around school tomorrow.... when I begain to think about holiday gifts from school in the past.

    * One district I worked in had a charity (providing for Christmas for struggling - anonymous - families in the district) and asked that no gifts be given to the teachers, but instead a contribution be given to the charity in the teacher's name. This went over fairly well, but then some families ignored the request - or gave both to the charity and to the teacher as well. And you would see THESE children be embarrassed when they didn't give a gift to the teacher as a number of their classmates.

    * a girlfriend of mine ... probably the greatest teacher I have had the pleasure to know personally ... was given so many gifts. WOW! There was a HUGE gift certificate from the entire class.. about $175.00 which is very large, yes! But this was back in the mid-80's so it was unbelievable then. But THEN every student ALSO gave a gift of their own. Sadly, a few years later, her husband divorced her - in a WHIRLWIND affair-laden divorce. One weekend when she was on a religious retreat, she returned to find that he had cleared out her house, except for her bed and her clothes. There was NOTHING left for her and her toddler. Within a week the current class, the faculty and staff, and those families who had had her in the past furnished her ENTIRE home - and she had such a surplus she gave things away to charity. That Christmas her toddler was given anonymous gifts that reached the ceiling of her living room. Talk about being a beloved teacher. She is amazing - and my hero. But even *I* was stunned by the response.

    *One school I worked at.... one Christmas (my first one at this Catholic School), one student gave me a medium-sized sauce pan. It was a nice sauce pan, but, well....no one had given me a pot before. Rather surprised - I brought it with me to lunch that day, and the teachers oooed and ahhhed over it. hehehe, really? "NO! You don't understand!" said my mentor teacher. "This family SELLS those pots (probably door to door or at home parties- since this was before the internet really took off). And you can tell how much they admire the particular teacher by how big the pot or pan is. We haven't seen one THAT big yet! you should have seen the one they gave to Mrs. *P*. I've never seen a pot that small. We thought it was one for a barbie doll."

    * This year, one of the teachers at my current school was grimacing (after school hours) about a small token gift from a student with whom she spent most of her energy and a large gift from a student who she liked but didn't need to spend a lot of time with. She said, "isn't that just the way it goes... parents have no clue the time you spend. And it's my experience that the more effort you give towards a student - the smaller the appreciation gift will be."

    ***
    As a previous music teacher and now a one on one aide (vs a classroom teacher), I'm sort of happily surprised when they remember me at all.

    ****

    What were your experiences?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As a mom, I chip in for the class gift and send in a personal gift as well. It has nothing to do with whether I like the teacher, or how much; all the teachers get the same gift. (This year there were something like 9 gifts, aside from the 2 aides I was unaware of.) It's a thank you, and a lesson for my kids about saying Thank You.

    As a high school teacher, I seldom get too many gifts. This year I got 3.

    Of course, as a 5th grade religion teacher, I got a bag full!

    But they're gifts-- nothing more, nothing less. They're not indicators of job performance or of teacher effectiveness or anything else. They're a small token from the parents.
     
  4. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    I remember when my kids were younger. I would get things together for their teachers...and then, being a "specials" teacher - I would make sure to also include things for the music, art, p.e., library, nurse, etc.

    But it would get to be a huge deal but a small token is always so nice.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    High school teachers don't tend to get many presents, but a few years ago, I went through a very terrible separation/divorce (much like the one OP mentioned) in October of that year. That Christmas was very difficult, as you can imagine. I was inundated with gifts that year from my students. I got TONS of pandas (of course) and little things like that. It was just amazing. It made me feel so special and loved, and it gave me hope when I really needed it.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The gifts I receive range from cookies and chocolate to very generous gift cards and expensive accessories (David Yurman necklace and bracelet, Uggs gloves). A new administrator made a guideline a few years ago about a dollar value limit for gifts. Parents generally ignore it and as teachers we don't estimate what the gifts cost. We are just thankful and appreciative for families' thoughtfulness and generosity.
     
  7. Cerek

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    When I finished my Student Teaching last year, I was given hand-made cards from ALL of my students. The 8th grade LA teacher had dedicated part of HER class time for two weeks for the kids to make the cards. I was stunned. :eek:hmy: My CT gave me a couple of very nice gifts as well. They weren't big gifts, but were very thoughtful. One of the items was a flash drive with several SmartBoard lessons and applications she had created over the years.

    I was very fortunate this year to get a teaching job at that same school. I did get a couple of little gifts from students, which I was not expecting. I appreciated them, but when one of our parent subs told me "My daughter really looks forward to your class each day", that was the best gift I could ever get.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The most meaningful gift I ever received was from a very difficult grade 8 class a couple of years ago. I was the support teacher in the class for 7 Special Ed students, but became very close to the entire class. When they graduated, they gave me a page listing things they will remember about me--from my laugh to my caring to my willingness to always help to my refusal to let them give up on themselves. I have it posted by my desk at school and a copy of my fridge at home. I'll treasure it forever.
     
  9. scienceteach82

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    My first year of teaching was H3LL!!! That was the only year though...that I received so many gifts from students. Most of which were very, very low income. Candy...stuffed animals...mugs...cards...and my fave lol...a pair of pajamas (shirt and bottoms) that said "happy hour" with a martini glass on shirt and little glasses on pants lol!!! Funny since my coworkers and I always went to Martini Monday at our fave bar. I never talked about it with students...so then I was always looking over my shoulder when we went again.
     
  10. scienceteach82

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    Oh! When I left the school after 2 years, I got a big handmade card from students saying how much they would miss me. I still have it :)
     
  11. TeacherApr

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    I teach in a Title I school and sometimes I would get old stuffed animals and cheap things from the dollar store. I didn't care. They were gifts from my students who put love and effort into remembering me as their teacher during holidays. Sometimes, that's all they can afford and I am just GRATEFUL they took the time to find that special gift for me......
     
  12. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    I teach in a very low socio-economic district where many of the families are really working hard just to get food in the house. I really hate when they spend money on a gift as sweet as it is. :) I did get a lovely shower gell kit from one of the kids and many had written cards that I always treasure :)

    I am also not in the best position to buy gifts for all of my 140 students so I allowed them to look at their notes for 5 min. They loved it and said it was the best gift they ever got. :haha:
     
  13. mrachelle87

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    I have got gift cards. I have had jewelry. I have got food. There was one family that I had three of their grandchildren. They had a honey farm. I got honey for every holiday. I loved it. I miss that family.

    I have gotten lots of great things. When I had my daughter, one parent bought her a Christening gown, shoes, socks, and hat. I still have it. It was so sweet of her. Some of my favorite gifts are those that I still use in the classroom. One is a simple holder for a yardstick with a yardstick in it (honey grandma made it). It has hung in every classroom for the last ten years. Teachers know where it is and they come borrow the yardstick all the time.
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    When I taught kinder, I only had about 3-4 students get me something, the rest made cards. Teaching 2nd grade, I got a lot of great gifts! I was very surprised! This year teaching HS, I got 3 gifts from students. Very thoughtful and surprising since I haven't been there that long.
     
  15. mrachelle87

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    My son is a Junior in HS. He has a math teacher he loves. He has had every class she teaches. He makes a point of making sure I get her an angel every year. He told me it was a tradition. The first year she went above and beyond to help him. I found an angel that played "Wind Beneath My Wings" when you open the box. So I bought it for her. Now I have to go find special angels. He has one in his car for her right now. He didn't have classes the last day of semester because of excemptions.
     
  16. Kat53

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    I first taught at a private school and got very generous gifts from parents. One parent was a hairdresser and gave me full highlights and a cut. It was very sweet of her.
    When I worked at a low income school I would get used makeup and other stuf like that. I once got a blob of melted candle wax. I'm sure the student thought it smelled good. :)
    My favorite gift was from one of my very poor students. She came from a single family home and escaped from an abusive dad in Mexico. She bought me a king-sized candy bar for Christmas, in a gift bag and all! It was kind and thoughtful.
     
  17. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    I taught kinder for several years in a Title 1 school. The gifts they gave me were usually from around their houses, but that didn't matter. They were so proud and excited to give something that when I opened the gift, it was the looks on their faces that I remember, not the gift.

    Now I teach in an upper middle class area and am amazed at the kinds of gifts I receive. I usually get a gift card that parents can contribute to, but also other gifts as well. Every year I get a lot of Starbuck's gift cards. While I'm extremely appreciative of their generosity, I hardly go to Starbuck's. However, I would never tell them that. There is one teacher who tells students straight out that he doesn't like coffee and never goes to Starbuck's. I feel that this is presumptuous and wrong, but he ends up getting what he wants.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I had one lovely Jamaican mom a few years ago who made me a Rum Cake every Christmas for the 4 years her daughter was at our school. I couldn't have eaten any at school, but it sure was yummy! (At least once every 2 months, I would get paged to the office at the very start of lunch--this same mom would have dropped off a hot container of freshly made soup or stew for me to have for lunch.)
     
  19. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I always enjoy this discussion of what teachers like as gifts. I had been giving the old coffee mug and gift certificate every year. But, last year, after this discussion my GS and I made cookie mix in a jar for all his teachers.

    I really like the idea of bringing by a soup or something every once in a while.
     
  20. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I just gave out Godiva boxed chocolates to assistants, a small package of Ghirardelli squares to the crossing guards, and a $50 visa card to the teacher who really has gone above and beyond.

    However, most of the teachers seemed to be leaving with full bags.
     
  21. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    It really depends on the year and the parents. However, I am always honored when someone during a very busy and costly time thinks of me with kindness. It is truly humbling when you think about it.

    That said, I have been privileged to receive countless gift cards to stores and restaurants, cash gifts (sometimes quite large), jewelry (costume, better costume as well as gold), perfumes, lotions, ornaments, Christmas decor, Miami Dolphins stuff of all types, food items both packaged and homemade, candles, knick knacks, school supplies and more. I do try to make certain that I express my gratitude both to the givers and nongivers. I find that there are some students who would love to do something and feel left out that they did/could not do so. I try to let every student I teach realize that their very presence in my room is all the present I need. When students ask me what can they give to me, I always respond, "Give to me your happiest smile and that'll do it!"

    Did your parents give to your teachers gifts when you were little? I do not remember that I ever brought a gift to a teacher, but my parents may well have participated in the group gifts, I just don't know or remember?
     
  22. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I got something I think is really cool. It was a theme box made out of a popcorn container with movie size Jr. Mints and a box of microwave popcorn and a DVD. The part that I loved, though, was a booklet of movie reviews by the students.

    " Ghost Bustrrs 1 and 2" - these gise use these paks to cach ghost.

    "Fly Away Home" - This is a movie about a girl who finds, under a fallen down tree, about eight goose eggs. She keeps and raises them from eggs to grown Canadian geese. (note from Shelly: this movie was sooooooo good - a true story, too).

    "How to Train Your Dragon" - It's about a boy that really wants to fight dragons but find out that dragons aren't mean and in the end saves the day I like this movie because it shares to people that dragons aren't evil

    "Star Trek" - great special effects.

    Movies they recommend:
    Ghost Busters 1 & 2
    Ramona and Besus
    Parent Trap
    Ink Heart
    Charlotte's Web
    Star Wars
    Star Trek
    Fly Away Home
    How to Train Your Dragon
    Sherlock Holmes
    Howl's Moving Castle
    Megamind
    Totoro
    Miracle on 34th Street
    Harriet the Spy
    Harry Potter movies (except for 6)
    Despicable Me!
    G Force
     
  23. TeacherShelly

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    I don't think my parents or anyone gave my teachers gifts. I can't remember anything about it if they did!
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I usually get several cards, but not usually very many presents. Sometimes I get homemade candy, and sometimes I have children of teachers, and they'll give me something.
     
  25. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    When I taught at a preschool, one of the teachers would send home a list of her likes and dislikes at the beginning of the year. She was as detailed as to say she doesn't like lotion, teacher stuff, etc. :eek:
     
  26. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I remember taking gifts to my teachers. Mostly boxes of candy or nuts. I also remember taking small ornaments. My dad was the principal, so my mom made candy trays that I delievered for her. Plus she would make cookie and bread trays during different times of the year for the lounge.


    One year my dad, my husband, and I made door signs for all his teachers and teddy bear door signs for my students. My mother and I painted them all. Then one year we did clowns that had candy in their arms and legs.
     
  27. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Like HS teachers, MS teachers don't receive a whole lot of gifts. I'm just thrilled when I get anything. This year it was mostly treats of all kinds. I had SO many homemade goodies!
     
  28. yarnwoman

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    I gave gifts to my childrens teachers until they hit middle school. Then I gave to teachers who were special to them.

    As a teacher I have been given mugs, gift certificates, food etc. But so far I think my most treasured gifts are teh stuffed apple that my 8th graders gave me last year on the last day of school. They had all written messages to me on it and it sits on my desk. The other was a Christmas gift this year where one of my 6th graders bought a scrapbook and pages and had all of my homeroom sign the pages with messages. They left me room where I can add pics from this year to it.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    One very cool gift I got this year was a Vera Bradley portfolio. It holds a legal pad, and the girl who gave it to me wrote the sweetest note on the first page!
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That is sweet, Alice!

    I always get a few gifts...candles, gift cards, candy...typical gifts that I appreciate very much. One of my favorites was a stuffed animal from a girl that clearly came from her own collection that wore a scarf she knitted herself. I got a nice gift this year that I'm ethically opposed to and I felt terrible that I wouldn't fully "appreciate" the gift (but of course I did the thought!)...an example of when regifting is okay, in my opinion. :)

    My parents did not typically buy gifts for our teachers, but I (will always) remember my mother buying a gift for my seventh grade teacher. I was jealous of her because she was beautiful, but she told us she lived on a farm...I also lived on a farm and I didn't understand how someone so rich-looking and stunning could come from such a place. It was just confusing to me. Even though I was jealous I wanted to impress her when she had asked the class, "So, what are you all getting me for Christmas?" Incredibly poor taste and inappropriate, I know now. Anyhow, I told my mother we needed to get Mrs. A something, but I knew we couldn't afford it. To my surprise after going to her house after being with Dad for a bit, she had bought the teacher a gift. It was a $1 angel ornament. I wrapped it and took it to school. As Mrs. A was unwrapping all of her gifts (and some nice ones, too!) she came to mine, but when she took the ornament out the angel's wing had broken. I was so, so embarrassed by the cheap gift to the beautiful, rich teacher. Just one of those silly things you never forget. :)
     
  31. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oh, JustMe. I'll bet that teacher still remembers you and wishes you a good life...
     
  32. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I got several things from my students... most of which I will likely never use... but I really appreciate the thought... I think sometimes parents are really not sure what to get a male teacher... I got several mugs (I'm not a coffee drinker), I'll occasionally have a hot chocolate, but when I do, it's from Starbucks... I got a dayplanner, and I told the student that I was thinking of going out to buy one... truthfully, I would never use one, since I keep all that information on my phone, but I really appreciated the thought. I got an angel pin, which I thought was a little bit of an odd gift, but again, I really appreciated the thought, and the fact that the child was so excited to give it to me.

    All that is to say, it's not really about the gifts. Honestly, two weeks off is gift enough for me :lol:
     
  33. Kindergarten31

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    Every year is different and I am always surprised by who gives me a gift and who doesn't. I started a tradition several years ago where on the last day before Christmas break, the teachers at my school bring me (after school)any gifts they really cannot use or, to be honest, do not want. I take them to the nursing home where my Mom was for many years and the staff wraps them and gives them to the residents that have no family, or just do not receive many gifts. Even though my Mom passed away this year, I am keeping up the tradition. The residents appreciate the gifts and the teachers feel their gifts are being put to good use.
     
  34. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I remember reading about that tradition last year, kindergarten31... I love that idea!

    I forgot to mention that last year, I got a present from a new immigrant from Korea... she gave me an alarm clock... which I found odd... but I did use it... except I found I had trouble sleeping... the numbers on the clock were bright blue, and it lit up my whole room! Eventually I had to get rid of it, but it was a great memory of that student!
     
  35. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I usually get a few gift cards or a history book or something from my beloved History Nerd Students like me! My favorite gifts are letters, notes, and pictures. One student last year wrote me a letter and included a picture of the two of us from graduation.
     
  36. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    We have to disclose any and all gifts and estimate their cost- then submit it to administration. Brendan, do you have to do this too, it is the newly updated MA ethics law?
     
  37. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    We don't recieve many gifts at the HS, so we don't. However, I'm not sure at the elementary school to be honest.
     

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