Gifts for Teachers – The Debate

At the end of last year it was reported in the news that a local school in Scotland had banned parents from giving gifts to teachers.  This was met with anger by some parents in the local community.  So we decided to consider the reasons for and against giving a teacher gifts.

For Gifts

Number 1 – A chance to show appreciation

Some students work very closely with a teacher or staff member at a school for a variety of reasons such as pastoral care and learning support to name a few and therefore, both them and their parents wish to have a chance to show thanks and appreciation to the teacher.  For years now, this has been shown by providing a present at Christmas or at the end of term to the child’s teacher giving them the opportunity show that the teacher’s actions and work meant something to them.  A simple gesture to say thank you.

Number 2 – Volunteers

There are many people who volunteer in class and school roles who don’t get paid for the work that they do.  This can include dinner people, some classroom support members, to coaches and after school program leaders.  Giving these volunteers a small gift when they give up their time to help in schools shows the gratitude felt by parents and children to those who don’t get paid for their time and dedication.

Against Gifts

Number 1 – Cost & Concern

Not all parents have the ability to pay for presents for teachers.  Christmas for instance is an expensive time of the year anyway and having to find additional resources to buy potentially multiple presents for staff at their child’s school places unnecessary pressure on parents.  Additionally, a number of parents worry if they do not buy a gift that they may inadvertently put their child at an unnecessary disadvantage. We can’t imagine many teachers would take that attitude, as let’s face it, that’s not the reason most teachers get into the profession.  However, the end of year gift giving creates worry and pressure on parents fearing they are putting their child in a worse position if they opt not to give their class teacher a gift because though they may not be in the position to do so.

Number 2 – Competitiveness

We all know how competitive parents can get.  Years ago a show of appreciation used to mean a box of chocolates or a “best teacher” mug.  However, as time has gone by we have heard of parents gifting teacher’s expensive technology such as iPads, cooking ware and vouchers for various shops.  This leads to parents feeling that they have to provide more expensive gifts to keep up with others even though they may not have the resources to do so.  It also places the teacher in an embarrassing position as they may feel the gift provided is too much even though it is meant well.

We would love to hear what you think about gift giving in schools.  Should schools and councils ban the practise?  For more in our series of blogs click here!

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