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The Big Teacher Gift Dilemma

December 18th, 2013 at 03:33 pm

F's school has one class per grade, starting with pre-school through 6th grade. So: nine classes total. Some have two teachers (up through second grade), the 3rd and 4th grade share their second teacher. The 5th and 6th share three teachers. And there are ten specials teachers (a few are part-time). I'm calculating 26 teachers.

Currently each class room parent collects money for the teacher gift (anonymously in an envelope for each grade at the front desk), puts about $40 or $50 of that into the special teachers fund, and then buys visa gift cards for the two teachers.

The problem is that the amount of money that is collected varies widely (I asked for $20 per student, but another class asked for $40). The specials teacher amounts are divided evenly, but the amounts the lead teachers get can vary widely! Our school is small, and the makeup of each grade seems to have a "personality." Some classes are super-wealthy. Ours isn't. Even in the "wealthy" classes, there are kids on tuition assistance, and I think $40 is a burden.

I'm parent association president next year, and I was talking to the secretary today about how this could be easier and more equitable. I'd like to have a suggested amount to contribute for a gift (or more if you can afford it, or less if you can't). Then we just divide it evenly between all teachers (maybe less if you're half time?).

Then just one person has to buy the gift cards (I guess next year that's me) and there isn't a huge inequity in how much teachers receive. And each class could have their class cards in an envelope at the front desk so that the class could give the teacher the hand-signed cards.

I know the world isn't always fair... but I'd like it to be more fair.

(And I've already talked to the 4th grade room parent; we are dividing our gift money 2/3 and 1/3 so that the teacher that is half time each in 3rd and 4th doesn't get double the money of the full time teacher).

I'm sure people are going to have thoughts on this - I welcome all ideas! And I won't take it personally if you disagree with me!

5 Responses to “The Big Teacher Gift Dilemma”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I agree with you, but don't be surprised if some parents complain as they might want to bestow larger gifts on their child's teacher. Good luck!

  2. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I'd probably go back to individual gifts for each teacher. That is a lot of money that they are asking for.

  3. Buendia Says:

    I talked with the secretary and she had the same thought - that some people want their money to go to their specific teacher. But if you stay at the school you'll eventually have all the teachers - there's just one class per grade. I guess people have the option of giving something on the side - an extra gift. F is writing a card for her teachers (I know that's not monetary, but it is something special from her).

    As for individual gifts - do you mean each family gives a gift individually to the teacher? I agree that the $40 is way too much. But some families can afford it (and could afford much more!)... I think I'd rather do a suggested amount, and ask people to give more if they can and if they'd like to. I was able to put together $20 - that allows me to pool together to give something to the specials teachers and is under $10 per teacher.

  4. Jenn Says:

    What a hassle! It would be better to discontinue the group gifts and let people give individually as they want to - not as a mandatory contribution. Even $20 per kid is outrageous to ask. I sure as heck wouldn't contribute if that much were requested, and whether someone else thinks I could "afford it" is irrelevant.

    We gave individual gifts to the elementary teachers so the kids could participate in choosing & wrapping the gift. Then we contributed $3 for the class party supplies.

  5. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    I also am offended to be asked for money constantly for these type of gifts - get rid of the whole thing being based on cash. It makes parents stressed, feel bad if they do not keep up with what others give, yada yada yada.

    Do something more charitable. Adopt a needy family (via Salvation Army or Boys/Girls Club or the USPO) and have the class fulfill those needs in the name of the teacher.

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