Would you ever turn down a student gift?

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

  1. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    As a high school teacher, I don't get nearly as many gifts as an elementary school teacher does. Today I got 6 gifts. 3 of them were edibles (i.e. chocolate boxes the best type of gift :)) and two were smaller amount gift cards (~$15-20). Then one kid gave me a $100 American Express gift card. I really, really appreciate the generosity, but I almost feel bad about accepting such a gift just for doing my job. Now I did write this kid a nice letter of rec, and help her with some other things, but it seemed like a lot to receive from a student. I accepted the gift because I wouldn't want to offend her turning it down, and I plan to write a great thank you note for it.

    Would you think that much of a gift to be too much from a student? Would you ever tell a student that you really appreciate the thought, but couldn't accept such a high amount?

    (As a disclaimer---I am in a VERY wealthy school district so I doubt it was a hardship or anything for the family, but still...)
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think it makes a difference if you're in a "VERY wealthy" community, but it does seem like a lot. It was very kind of the student/family. It would very much depend of several factors as to whether I accept it. Being that you're in a wealthy district, I would probably call home and thank the family but tell them you feel it's too much...they'll probably insist that's not true and that they appreciate you. And then I'd accept. :)
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I have never turned down a gift from a student. You're one lucky teacher!
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    A lot of my parents have a lot of money. Without actually knowing parent incomes for sure, I'm assuming that 25 out of 28 families make at least double the income of my family. There's pretty much no student gift that I would refuse for being too exorbitant.
     
  6. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    I am in a wealthy school district as well. Occasionally students will give me a $50 gift card or something like that, and I SO appreciate it. They drive to school in cars nicer than I will ever have!
    That said, I almost feel that it would be rude to not accept the gift. If I were the student I would feel so awkward if I gave a gift (that clearly my parents paid for) to my teacher and they handed it back to me. You can certainly say "you shouldn't have!" and deep down mean it--but the bottom line is that people are giving you a sincere "thank you," that should be accepted with grace. They wouldnt give it to you if they didn't want to. It's a compliment, really, because they don't have to do that and it isn't necessarily customary.
     
  7. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    No.
     
  8. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    A teacher refused a gift of a bottle of wine today.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I would feel odd about accepting alcohol.

    It would be weird and totally out of the norm to get such a large gift from someone.

    However, I once gave a teacher that much before. He had taught my child eight semesters in a row and had a huge impact on her life.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Most of the gifts I get are homemade: tamales, lumpia, musubi, etc. If I were to get a substantial gift card, I would call home and thank the parents (mostly so that I can be assured that they know about the gift). I would probably feel a little iffy accepting it, but I would still accept it as long as the parents knew about it and it seemed on the up and up (i.e., not stolen or anything).
     
  11. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    I don't think so. I taught in a private preschool before, and we got some pretty large gift card amounts from parents. It was a very wealthy area, as well.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Why?
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Probably doesn't drink or worries about having alcohol on school property.
     
  14. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    No I would never refuse a gift, because I would worry it would make the student feel terrible. I don't even like refusing birthday treats! If it was so etching I didn't like, like food, I would throw it out after school. I have received a $100 gift card before and I wrote a very nice than k you as I do for all the gifts. I trust that the parents know what they can afford and wanted to give me that much for a reason. Good job:)
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    LOL! From a student?
     
  16. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I'd have a hard time accepting that. I'd thank the student to their face, but then call home to make sure there wasn't a mistake. I just know that 90% of my students could never give that, so it would be highly disconcerting.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    It's definitely not the norm, but I have received rather generous monetary gifts from students for Christmas. Write a very nice thank-you card!
     
  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    This has never happened to me, but I would turn down a gift if I feel it's inappropriate (alcohol since I don't drink, anything sexual, something just so outlandish that it's unnecessary, etc.)
     
  19. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I would turn down a substantial monetary gift because of the possible perception of purchasing grades/academic favors, though *I* know that I'm professional enough not to let gifts color my assessments in such ways.

    It's simply not worth the potential hassle.
     
  20. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    This is actually a non-issue since I taught this student last year, not this year.
     
  21. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I teach in a high poverty area, so my gifts tend more to the homemade. I've gotten used jewelry and perfume, etc. my big gift this year was a $20 Outback gift card and $10 for a frozen yogurt place. Id never refuse a gift, but like the others said, I'd call home to thank the parents to make sure that they know about it.
     
  22. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I'm talking more about my personal experiences as opposed to the specific example above.
     
  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    No, I wouldn't turn it down as I wouldn't want to hurt the student's feelings. I would make a call home most likely.

    Many years ago, I was given a $100 gift card from a parent of one of my students. This was a parent who was very wealthy, and who volunteered a lot. I knew she was a very generous person who believed strongly in helping others. I chose to accept it, and later mailed her a large thank you letter indicating the things that I bought to help the classroom and the students.
     
  24. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Enjoy the gift! You didn't ask for compensation for writing a recommendation, but the parents may just understand that you took time out of your present work load, or from your personal life, to do it. If I need my doctor to fill out forms, I pay for it, so they may have been thinking of that sort of scenario. They appreciate you and that's how they chose to show it, so enjoy it without guilt.
     
  25. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    I got expensive gifts this year too. I would accept it and like everyone else has suggested, write some sort of thank you note. That's what I plan on doing since I know that my students' parents are behind these gifts I received.
     
  26. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I have received $50 gift cards before and have thanked the families for them. If they want to be generous who am I to tell them not to? I also got a bottle of wine from a parent at the end of last year. She brought it wrapped, after dismissal and told me it was 'bubble bath'. :)
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I would definitely accept wine! ;)

    I would accept the gift card, too. I've heard of teachers getting similar gifts. My first year teaching, the parents chipped in and got me a $250 gift card to a teacher store.
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    My husband got NBA tickets for him, my son, and my mother...yes, my mom loves her hometown team, by a former student tonight. I am not a fan, so she is going. The young man knew that when he offered them. I got gift cards to several restaurants this year for Christmas and my students had a birthday party for me last month with some expensive gifts. My husband is an ag teacher. Parents and students get close to him. He has gotten a grandfather clock, an office chair, round of golf for two, $50 and up dinner gift cards, a professional yard treatment (worth over $200), a GPS for his truck, and so much more. I think that you should accept it in the manner it was offered.
     
  29. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    I've had a student or two who would give me and others too many gifts. I had to limit it to birthdays only.
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think wine is an appropriate gift for a teacher if the gift is being handed to the teacher by the student. I suppose a parent could hand over that type of gift if they want, but I don't like the idea of a kid walking around on campus with alcohol in a glass bottle. At my school that could quickly result in an expulsion.
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    We would be disciplined for accepted as it's in our handbook that giving, receiving, selling, using, etc. alcohol is strictly prohibited.
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I suspect that's probably true in most places. At my school, I think that the issue is less about receiving alcohol as a gift than about receiving alcohol on campus as a gift.
     
  33. OhThePlaces

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    My team-teacher and I both received a $100 gift card from one little boy last week. We were shocked! She checked with the front office to make sure it was ok to accept such an expensive gift (it was) and we both wrote nice thank you notes.
     
  34. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, yes. Of course. On campus or while performing duties.
     
  35. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    The families who send students to my school are generally very wealthy and many are extremely generous as well. I have not turned a gift down. I have never received a gift card for that amount from an individual student, I think the highest was $50. As long as you don't let it have any impact on your grading of students who give you gifts and it is not against your contract, I'd say it is fine.

    I write and send by mail every student and/or family who gives me any type of gift, from a gift card to a candy bar, a thank you note. This year I did my thank you's earlier than usual (last night) and sent Christmas cards instead.
     
  36. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    I received a bottle of expensive bourbon that a student's father gave to me. It's my favorite! He met in the parking lot.

    I agree. Had his son given it to me I would have been horrified. Maybe not if I taught high school but my kids are five...
     
  37. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    High schoolers are still underage legally for drinking, so they shouldn't give it either. You shouldn't even let your minor carry a bag out of the store when you are shopping together.
     
  38. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Oh yes! I know that. Obviously underage students of any age shouldn't be carrying it around to begin with. I just meant I would be more horrified receiving it from a five year old versus a seventeen year old, lol.
     
  39. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    What if the teacher receives the wine from another co-worker? That's ok, right?
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    At work? No, that is not okay per the handbook.
     
  41. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    A friend that I teach with purchased a six pack of a specialty beer on her summer vacation for our PE teacher. She met him on the parking lot to give it to him. :)
     

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