just a vent!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by txmomteacher2, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Let me preface this with I know some families really struggle at this time of year. I get it! I have been there before I was a teacher and my husband was the only one working. But at today's gift exchange I two kids that didn't bring their gift. One of families I know doesn't have the money. Dad's in prison, mom just got out, the kids just moved here. Although they did send a present with the sister to her class. The other family though different story. In fact when the mom got to my class she was like ooooops I forgot to send a present with him. You would think that if you want your child to get a gift and not be heart broken that you would make sure that your kid brings one. The second kid has major issues with being different, told no, or getting things. If he thinks he is being cheated any in way shape or form he throws a huge temper tantrum. Basically he is spoiled!!!! She just laughed it off like oh I forgot to send it. I felt like basically she was setting me up for him to throw a huge tantrum. Well I had a couple of books that I bought at the book fair a couple of weeks ago so I just wrapped those up and let those two kids give them as gifts. But boy I was I miffed that they didn't send gifts. I should have just let those two suffer, but really its the ignorance of their parents. grrrrrrr just needed a vent, a vacation and lots of adult beverages!!!!!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I'm not sure what grade you teach, but it would have been sad for these kids to not get to participate because of their parents' mistakes. I say this from the perspective of someone who had "school provided gifts" for the same activity two years in a row because my mom misplaced or forgot about the letter sent home (she was supposed to secretly send a gift for me). It's always smart to have a few back up gifts, especially when it's not always something the kids have control over.

    Cheers to those adult beverages!
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    This is why I am completely against gift exchanges at school.

    There will always be THAT kid, or THAT mom, or THAT family.

    Sorry, I am sure I sound like a scrooge, but I just found the whole process more hassle than it was worth. There are easier ways to build community among classmates, ones that don't embarrass a child.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yeah, I agree.

    In general, I think that these sorts of mandatory gift exchanges can be problematic for this very reason. I would probably not do this sort of activity at all.
     
  6. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I've never heard of a gift exchane. Wondering in what part of the USA this is common practice?

    To the OP, glad you had a couple of extra books, don't blame you for being ticked.
     
  7. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Our principal has maybe come up with a plan for next year so that we don't have a CHristmas party per say. So there won't be any gift exchanges. I am all for this plan. No stress, no mess, no parties, no parents!!!!! And before you get all upset about the no parent thing, come walk a day in our kindergarten shoes. We have about 20 or so parents who are making this year miserable for the whole grade level. Our principal has done everything she can to make them happy and still they are not. It's been a rough first semester and I can only hope it gets better.
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I am from NE, and my whole school did some kind of exchange (I mean the school I used to teach at, and now my kids attend). The whole school, except for my class, because I couldn't stand them. Specifically, I couldn't stand the grumbling from teachers about them. But I digress...

    What I really don't like is every year, we have to go out and buy a $5 "girl" gift. First of all, have you seen the crap you can buy for $5? It's dollar store cheapies that only clutter up the house. Second, just because my daughters are girls, doesn't mean either of them wants to get fake lipsticks or a Barbie or plastic rhinestone-looking necklaces. They would much rather get a Hot Wheels or a pair of gloves or a toy bow and arrow.

    So you combine these two issues together, and every stinking year we go out and spend more than $5 on a decent gift, and the girls bring home some cheap, pink, sparkly crap that they don't want.

    And the teacher goes on complaining about how much she hates what the students bring in and how kids forget and how so-and-so cried, yet the next year they do it all over again.

    I just think there are better ways to celebrate the holidays.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 20, 2013

    4 of the 9 classes in my hall did a "Secret Santa" gift exchange. I
    didn't even consider it and I wouldn't have done it even if I were the only one who didn't. If the students want to exchange gifts with their friends, I'll give them a place to do it at recess or at lunch time, but I wouldn't ask all students to participate in an exchange.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Last year my daughter's class did this. This year there was no gift exchange and I was so happy that we didn't have that worry.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I get a little too upset that schools do gift exchanges. Entirely inappropriate.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, I understand. It's unnecessary.
     
  13. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    So here how the gift giving is done in our school. Parents send gifts for their own children, if they would want them to have a gift to open. Usually, we say a gift that costs about $10. This eliminated the hurt feelings.
     
  14. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    If I organized a gift exchange I would definitely have 'back up gifts' because someone is always going to forget. I forget things, too.

    It is possible to have Christmas parties without gift exchanges. My students had a great time at our party - I gave them all a gift, we had snacks (had parents forget to send in the food they were assigned... oh well, I had 'back up' snacks), watched a short movie and then I gave the kids free time. They declared the best day of their lives. No stress, no frills, but quality time and special memories for my student.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This whole thing just kind of blows my mind. I just don't understand how it's considered appropriate for school.
     
  16. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Dec 21, 2013

    We do stockings...I provide them, parents send a class set of things to put in them. I got pencils, erasers, stickers, bracelets, plastic police badges, puzzles, etc.
     
  17. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I'm guessing they don't do this in my district. I imagine at some schools, you might have 2-3 kids per class whose parents could/would send something in for other kids or even for their own.
     
  18. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I am not sure why you think it is inappropriate?

    mrachelle, love the stockings with class items idea!
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think gift exchange parties are entirely inappropriate for reasons I believe have been mentioned already (finanicial hardship, for example) and others. As to how it's handled at your school, that is parents sending gifts to school for their own children to open, I fail to see the point. Why must presents be involved to enjoy a special day? I just HATE it. No offense. ;)
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    The only thing I would do is to have a Secret Santa gift exchange where the kids make Christmas cards for each other in class, with supplies I provide. They would keep the recipient's name a secret during the whole time, and it could be really cute and thoughtful. It would not put any kids or their families in financial hardship, and everyone would be equal, and not judged by the type of present they bring.
     
  21. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I was thinking as reading... It'd be better to do a classroom gift like pencils, crayons &what not.

    Linguist...cards..would be fun as well...kind of like valentine's...
     
  22. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I quit the gift exchange early on because of this. My personal experiences with them were never great and within the first couple of years I had so many without gifts it would cost me a fortune. Instead I sent a letter saying that they would all get something small from me and that if they wanted, to purchase a gift $5 - $7 like they normally would, but instead, send it for the toy drive.
     
  23. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    I've never done gift exchanges. I work in an affluent area, so I don't think any of my students would have a problem bringing in a gift. For me, it's an issue of time.

    I give them gifts and since it's done on the last day before Christmas break, the students sometimes give each other gifts.
     
  24. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Can I chime in as a parent here?

    I've read several threads about gifts to students from teachers, gift exchanges, etc. As a parent, the trinket-y gifts are annoying. With a capital A.

    My second grade daughter brought home from school yesterday:

    A ginormous box of Skittles (they spilled all over the car last night)
    A small container of that gooey stuff that you are supposed to push on and it makes a fart noise. It was melted, and her brother dumped it on my mom's floor.
    3 pencils*
    A small plastic puzzle thing that was missing pieces
    One of those 9-tile things that you move around to get the numbers in order (that barely move because it is cheap and plastic)
    A rubber ball
    Various other cheap plastic toys
    *=we will use this

    I don't want to sound ungrateful, but how long do you think my daughter will have those things?

    I'll tell you, they lasted to today. Well, some did. So the money spent on those toys wa essentially wasted. I'm sure that sounds horrible, but we have enough clutter in our house.

    Why do teachers bother? A book would have been so much more appropriate, if she had to get anything at all.

    Just sayin'.
     
  25. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    I get what you are saying completely. This year I gave a no homework pass, small gift card to Toys R Us, a Goosebumps book, and a package of smores. I don't know if the smores will be eaten but I just included it for something sweet.

    I think teachers and parents provide the smaller gifts to classes because you can buy a lot for very little money. So that the kids can get a lot more in their goody bags.
     
  26. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    I only gave my students some pencils and a Christmas card. Normally our Christmas parties are the afternoon before we get out of school. This year our principal made us have our parties the morning of early release. I sent a note home saying we would only be having donuts and hot chocolate served at our party and I would pay. I had a couple of parents send some goody bags that I sent home. I did have one parent send cupcakes. I told her flat out that I wasn't happy about her bringing cupcakes but still allowed her to give them out. Our party was right before lunch I didn't want ruin their lunch. Anyway just glad that the party and stress are over. The next one will be Valentines and I'm not looking forward to that either. Any suggestion on Valentines day party stress free?
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I would not let parents do as they wish. It was not okay that parent brought cupcakes and I would have refused to allow her to pass them out. I could fall back on the (often ignored) rule stating no sweets or cokes before 1:00 at my school. Heck, full size cupcakes are not alllowed here anyway. Again, that rule is never adhered to, but I'm quote it in this situation.
     
  28. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I agree with the book idea.
     
  29. mairak

    mairak Rookie

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    I agree with you. I am against gift exchange and all these kind of activities because there's always going to be those kind of parents and Kids just get sad on these things. On top I think in class kids get a hard time too when everyone is opening and having fun! I think this activity should not be allowed.

     
  30. mairak

    mairak Rookie

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    I understand the frustration. But it was nice of you to wrap the books and have the kids be the part of this activity. I am against this activity. but that was nice of you as it's not kids fault.

     
  31. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We aren't allowed to have parties (takes away from instructional time) so I tell the children they can bring in snacks and we will have them at lunch. If I have a parent who asks, I tell them they may send a small snack.

    Even though it feels scroogy to have to deny parties, it saves on the stress of those traditional party days.
     
  32. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    I was going to stick to my guns about the cupcakes but principal has enough to handle without taking on another kindergarten parent and over something really silly and cupcakes. I know she would have back me 100 percent. Our kinder parents this year are a group of " we have nothing else better to do than cause trouble at school" group of parents. So I just let her give them. They were the little ones from walmart and to be honest I'm not sure how many of them really got eaten.
     
  33. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I have posted this before, but here it is again. The best programs I worked for were the ones that did not celebrate holidays. I is so much easier not to have a party.
     
  34. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Last year I tried something new. I had the kids make cards at home for a local nursing home. They didn't exchange any themselves-no problems. No parents complained and they got a lesson in community service to boot !
     
  35. MsB2012

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    Dec 25, 2013

    This year I did a book swap with both of my third grade classes. But instead of doing it as our kindergarten and younger grades do it, and letting students pick a wrapped book, we played it "white elephant" game style and we put all the gifts in the middle and sat in a circle around the pile. They could "steal" books up to two times before they were "frozen". I was intrigued to see how they'd react to this game, but they all had a blast! I've never seen such animated reactions to getting a book! Since I let kids bring gently used books or new books to participate, nearly every student brought a book (or more than one). I had 3 out of 53 students who could not bring a book, but I put a ton of my own class library books in, so it was no biggie. They loved it so much that they asked if we could do it again at the end of the year or anytime I'd let them! :D
     
  36. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We played a white elephant/Chinese Christmas type game with items I bought at Dollar Tree. The kids had a great time. After it was over, the kids could trade if both people wanted. I had a few who came up and gave the item back and said no thank you. They traded their item for two homework passes
     
  37. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I wholeheartedly agree.

    As a teacher, I'd have my students make the same gift for their parents. Additionally, I'd give each student the same gift (generally a Scholastic book). I would never want one of my kids to feel left out or feel badly because their family couldn't afford to provide a present for a class gift exchange. No way! :2cents:
     
  38. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 25, 2013

    Surprise cupcakes are the bane of my existence sometimes. :|
     
  39. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Last year, I had a parent bring in ice cream pops from Dairy Queen at the very beginning of my Language Arts block. I am very glad I was able to keep myself from using any of the language that I really wanted to use.

    This year, our principal unilaterally declared that no classroom would have food-related treats of any sort, at any time. Anyone who brings treats has to take them home, unopened. It stinks for the kids... they miss birthday cupcakes and what not... but man oh man does it make my life easier. Even better, not a single parent has tried to question it so far!
     
  40. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 26, 2013

    Wow. Ice cream? :huh: At the school I student taught at the P designated the last Friday of the month for parents to bring cupcakes or whatever. At least we knew to expect them and plan around it.
     
  41. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Dec 26, 2013

    I got surprise cupcakes and a large container of ice cream this year.sent to the room..with no spoon to dip it. I didn't want to disappoint the child, so I had to scoop it out with a small cheap plastic spoon she did remember to send for them to eat it with......not a fun time and it took awhile. The kids were good and most read silently as I scooped!! We don't have a policy, other than nothing homemade.
     

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