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Teacher Appreciation Day – Food Or Money, That Is The Question

I’m not sure how wide-spread Teacher Appreciation Week is, but that time has arrived here in the United States. I am absolutely in favor of showing teachers they are loved and respected, but I always get apprehensive when the time comes to send gifts (if desired. No one is required to send gifts or even a note of thanks). I’ve always been a nervous gift-giver, as I wonder how many coffee mugs or other trinkets a teacher can really stand to receive over the years. I tend to give small food items that they can eat and enjoy or pass on if desired. I try not to give physical objects because I don’t feel I can possibly know enough about them to get something that they wouldn’t just consider clutter.

This year has brought a new conundrum in my gift giving apprehension. My youngest goes to a daycare Montessori school. This is not a required school grade as he is only 3 and we pay for the services out of our own pockets. We did not do this with my eldest and I have no idea if daycare providers, if they happen to have some curriculum, are considered teachers. In the end, I decided the best course of action was to give something, even if in doubt, and planned to get some food treats, when I received the following email:

Dear parents,
(School Name Removed) will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week on Monday. We would love to be able to give all 14 teachers a monetary gift to show our appreciation. I will collect money until next Wednesday and present gift cards to the teachers on Friday. Last year we collected 700.00 and we’re on way this year with 200.00 collected so far. Please leave cash or checks in the designated folder at the sign in table or if Venmo if more convenient. Thank you so very much!!

I’m not sure it is appropriate for someone who runs a daycare to request money for their employees. Also, while it does indeed solve my gift conundrum, my contribution would be lost amongst everyone else’s.

I would love to hear thoughts on how to best show appreciation to my children’s teachers, and whether daycare employees are teachers too. Is food really the way to the heart, or should I expand my horizons? 0507-18

That is odd that the daycare center owner is the one initiating the collection of money for her employees rather than a parent taking the lead in organizing that.

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  • koolchicken May 24, 2018, 2:39 am

    I’ve been having similar issues with my sons (private, and VERY expensive school). We have what’s known as a Parent Teacher Fellowship instead of a PTA. No one really runs, everyone has a say, and just being a parent makes you a member. The more vocal members have been very active in encouraging us to “bless” our teachers with meals, car detailing, activities, and general gifts. I’m not kidding when I say at the beginning of the year I received an emailed spreadsheet with the name and job description of everyone on campus (and I mean everyone) along with a detailed list of their favorite foods, flowers, stores, restaurants, colors, and preferred type of gift card. My child attends a non-denominational Christian school so it really threw me. Maybe it’s just because I was raised Catholic and taught by nuns who would never have found this funny. But I was horrified by this behavior. Sadly though, this seems to be becoming the norm (outside of strict Catholic schools at least).

    If you don’t want to give, don’t. I gave quite generously at Christmas and my child’s teachers know they can count on me to donate anything they need, but I have refused to take part in further “giving”. I made it quite clear I was raised in a certain environment and I don’t agree with all of their activities. So far, it’s not caused a problem. In a daycare setting however, you could have issues. My concern with the business itself soliciting gifts for their employees is bias. If you don’t give, or don’t give enough, will your child end up neglected? My mother worked in a very nice daycare and the parents often gave lavish gifts. My Mum loved all the kids the same, regardless what the families gave, but not all staff is like that. Some remembered, some felt certain families could have given more… Are you following?

    As for are they teachers? No, they are not. The ones in charge of school age children hopefully are, but not the ones taking care of those 3 and under. We live in a society where many parents feel guilty for leaving their children at daycare. Instead of acting like grown ups and just calling a spade a spade, people have taken to calling it “school” and the care providers “teachers” to make themselves feel better. I’m sorry, but no 15 month old attends school. So you don’t need to feel obligated to do anything at all for Teacher Appreciation since the people who care for your son are professionals who are likely wonderful, loving people, but they are not teachers.

    • Calli Arcale May 24, 2018, 12:29 pm

      FYI: three-year olds do actually attend schools taught by accredited teachers. There is a difference between school and daycare, though. A true Montessori is actually a school and not a daycare, but since the word isn’t protected, many daycares have begun to bill themselves as Montessori schools in order to improve their stature. The difference will be whether the teachers are accredited and whether or not they actually using Montessori curricula — and there are true Montessori schools that go all the way through grade 12. But it takes serious effort on the part of parents to detect whether or not it’s a real school or just a glorified daycare.

      And then there’s early intervention schools, run by public school districts in America to help kids with special needs who might otherwise not be ready for kindergarten. These are taught only by accredited teachers, and are definitely not daycares. (For one thing, their classes are usually not more than an hour or so a day, and districts, at least in my state, will often bus the kids to and from their actual daycare.)

      I do agree with you that no real school is accepting 15 month olds; at that stage, it’s daycare. But a 15 month old is very different from a three year old.

      • ladyv21454 May 24, 2018, 3:00 pm

        In Denver, where my son went to school, many of the schools have Early Childhood Education programs that are open to ALL children, not just special needs. They’re usually a half-day (although there has been talk of making them full day) and they are taught by teachers hired by the schools, just like any other class. It’s a great way to get your child accustomed to a school environment, and also does wonders as far as socialization. By the time my son got to first grade, he had two years of school under his belt and definitely had a jump on kids that were going to school for the first time.

    • staceyizme May 24, 2018, 7:54 pm

      It’s not “certified teacher appreciation” or “degreed teacher appreciation”, it’s Teacher Appreciation and I believe that a reasonable case can be made that those caring for young children throughout the day are teaching everything from social intelligence and self care skills to reading and other academic subjects. Learning centers come in many types and serve children from 6 weeks to 12 (or more!) years. Saying that only teachers who work in a public or private school who instruct kindergarten through high school pupils is overly restrictive and needlessly myopic, in terms of vision. The National Association of Educators of Young Children may not be composed of teachers in the standard sense of the word. But it would be ridiculous to deny them a dab of recognition once yearly because “they aren’t real teachers” (gag! what nonsense!)

      • koolchicken May 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

        Please note that I at no point suggested those who care for children, but are not certified teachers, should be ignored. People who care for children outside of school (be it a full day daycare or even just an after school program) work quite hard. However, knowing what I do about daycare in the US, I do know that some people go above and beyond, and others… There are some people right now “teaching” in daycares that couldn’t cut it working in menial labor jobs. These people don’t always last long in daycare settings, but their time there can still be devastating. So I know there needs to be some level of separation. A preschool teacher doesn’t have a Masters, but I made sure my son’s is certified for the position that she’s in. She deserves my appreciation and respect for the time she gives my son, but ALSO for the fact that she was willing to invest considerable time, money, and effort to better herself in a way that benefits her students.

        Please be aware I am an individual that has spent their life surrounded by day care providers, owners, and teachers. I have a great deal of respect for many daycare providers. But the job they do is vastly different from that of a teacher. The training required is also night and day. I think we can appreciate these providers because they do an important job. But we should not minimize the incredible sacrifice many teachers have made to get, and stay, where they are.

        If someone wants to campaign for “childcare provider recognition week” I’m all for it and you have my support. But teachers are teachers and care providers are care providers. Both jobs are important and vital, but they are not the same. Lets appreciate both for the job they actually do.

        • staceyizme May 25, 2018, 9:50 am

          Your point is a reasonable one on its face and if I understand it correctly, you’re essentially saying that while there are many qualified and mindful staff at child care centers (whether daycare or preschool), there are also many who are woefully lacking in skills, education and motivation. But- there are quite terrible teachers and administrators in schools too. Newspapers seem filled lately with narratives about teachers who sexually abuse, verbally abuse or otherwise mismanage the students in their care. So- having a degree isn’t, unfortunately, any guarantee of quality. Both sets of staff have good and bad apples, real heroes and real villains. I’ve also spent some time around daycares, schools and other specialized care settings as a staff person, a volunteer, as part of governance and as a consumer. The whole spectrum of vice and virtue are there. I apologize for seeming to belabor the point and I appreciate the gracious tone of your reply above.

        • Lynette May 25, 2018, 8:37 pm

          Also…. early childhood educators working in childcare centers or preschools may in fact, have masters degrees.

          • Calli Arcale May 29, 2018, 12:01 pm

            Yep. Most of the teachers at my daughters’ Montessori had master’s degrees, or were working on them, as in my state, accreditation requires so much coursework that it only takes a little bit more to go on and get the master’s degree, so it’s almost crazy not to. At least two also had PhDs.

  • lkb May 24, 2018, 3:45 am

    IMHO, employers should not be soliciting funds for their employees. That’s what the paycheck is for.

    Related to this topic, I agree that teachers should be shown appreciation for all their hard work – but also volunteers at school/child-related groups. I remember years ago, I gave a very small gift to our sons’ Boy Scout leader at the end of the year. The leader was shocked almost to tears by even such a small item. (Sorry, I don’t remember what it was.) She said it was the first time ever, over many years of service leader groups of — shall we say — very active boys, that she received any sort of acknowledgment for her very hard work.

    • CarolynM May 24, 2018, 8:43 am

      “(Sorry, I don’t remember what it was.) ”

      I bet she does, though!!!

      I agree with you – its important to thank everyone who has a teaching role, even if their subject is not academic!

    • Tan May 24, 2018, 11:28 am

      “employers should not be soliciting funds for their employees. That’s what the paycheck is for.” Which is central to why I dislike the mandatory tip system.

      • Livvy17 May 25, 2018, 8:41 am

        Tan, I agree with you, I’d rather not have mandatory tips. However, in the USA, employers actually PAY LESS to servers and employees who are “expected” to get tips. It’s only about $2/hour, which usually goes toward mandatory taxes, so the tips usually equal the total amount of a server’s wage. Until they change the law, please continue to tip, and tip well.

        • Tan May 30, 2018, 5:16 am

          Pay less then they are often required to pay bus boys, kitchen staff such that they can lose money without a tip. Its such a ridiculous situation. Tips as a reward given voluntarily when service is good not part of the basic wage.

    • Calli Arcale May 24, 2018, 12:30 pm

      I absolutely agree! It’s very inappropriate for the school to be soliciting these funds directly. It’s coercive, even if not intended that way.

    • Twik May 25, 2018, 9:13 am

      I would, unfortunately, be suspicious that all the money collected is going directly to the employees, Far too many employers see tips and gifts to their employees as an available pool for their own profit.

  • Vicky May 24, 2018, 5:34 am

    As a teacher, I think that the best gift is a letter from the student, saying what they have gained from your teaching. I keep all of my thank you letters. They are much more meaningful to me than something that has been bought from a shop.

  • Dominic May 24, 2018, 6:41 am

    Giving money to someone who provides a service for you in appreciation is not a gift. It is called a tip. I was not aware that teachers were tipped.

    Not having kids in school myself, I had to look up what Teacher Appreciation Day was all about. Everything I read suggested thanking teachers. Nothing suggested giving them gifts.

    I would be very suspicious of an employer-organized collection of funds. It may be entirely legitimate, but it seems inappropriate to me.

  • Emily May 24, 2018, 6:45 am

    Huh. As a teacher in Canada I don’t tend to hear much about Teacher Appreciation week. Usually our principal and VP bring us in muffins for breakfast and that’s it. (It is much appreciated!)
    In terms of student gift I always adore when kids/parents go the homemade route. I feel so touched that they would take the time, even just to make up a cute card. I keep a file folder of the for bad days.
    It’s really weird that admin would send that email around to parents. It seems very grabby to me.

    • Dee May 24, 2018, 11:40 am

      Emily – As a parent of recently-adulted children, also in Canada, I’ve never heard of any Teacher Week celebrations in any schools over the years or even now. But there were end of year teacher/volunteer lunches in elementary school, each year. I’m not sure if there were any in middle or high school, as the communications were not as frequent or detailed as in elementary school, and thus easier to ignore or forget.

      I have teacher friends who have gifted me with boxes of stuff given to them over the years, some of it is really great stuff, but none they could use. If I wanted my kid’s teacher to know our appreciation I tried to get my kid to make something, like an ornament, at Christmas time. Not often, because my kids were not good at/interested in crafts or art and it was a difficult thing to pull off. But I expressed my thanks verbally during meetings and at the end of the year, if they were warranted (sometimes the teacher was an actual lifesaver, and a lot of times they were the worst thing to ever happen to my kids).

      Some parents (moms) were quite competitive with gifts to the teachers, and/or the number of times they were in the classroom/school, or just being around as much as possible. I remember this from when I was a kid, too. It has never struck me as being about the kid or the teacher but about the moms. I’ve never been interested in being buds with the teachers. They’re not my “people”, they’re my kids’ “people”. Their relationships to work on; I have my own. I encouraged and assisted but if the teacher wasn’t interested in getting along well enough that there was a close bond during the year then I didn’t feel any need to try to reflect something that wasn’t there with a gift.

      Some years, though, I found teachers wanted me, as a parent, to be so involved that it would have qualified to be a part-time job. I’m not being paid, the teacher is. That’s their compensation. I don’t feel the need to reward my mechanic once a year, the grocery store clerks, or anyone else I may have far more interaction with than a teacher. And I certainly don’t appreciate being expected to continue the teacher’s job after school hours, for free, without any consideration.

      When my youngest graduated from high school we all celebrated, heartily, that none of us had to deal with school ever again (and his high school experience had some really great times with teachers and staff, better than I could ever have hoped). So, no, I don’t think a parent needs to pony up for any teacher. I didn’t unless the spirit moved me. If there isn’t any real feeling toward the teacher that you feel inspired to do something above and beyond then there isn’t any motive or obligation to do so, either. It’s not the parent’s responsibility, since it takes two to tango.

      • Emily May 24, 2018, 9:30 pm

        Dee – at my current school we do the luncheons. The teachers put on one for the parent volunteers one week, and then the next the parents do one for the teachers. This particular school has very very involved parents though!
        It’s very true about teachers being the kids’ ‘people’. I’ve always felt the most touched by the spontaneous doodles etc. That the kids will make me on occasion. I keep them on the wall by my desk.
        The cutest I have ever heard is one little guy made his teacher Lego earrings (it was his own idea, mom was just as surprised!)
        I’ve never really thought of gifts as an expectation or requirement, but I do feel very touched if the kids or parents feel enough of a connection to want to send something in.

  • Kirsten May 24, 2018, 7:14 am

    If the employer wants to show their appreciation for their employees, they could pay them more or give a bonus. I’d ignore the email. Day care staff are important but they’re not teachers, so I don’t see why you would want to give them a present in a teacher appreciation event, but if you do want to, stick to your original plans.

    • Livvy17 May 24, 2018, 10:06 am

      Yes, this, at least for a private institution or daycare. This message is asking parents to fund a bonus that will come from the employer.

      • NostalgicGal May 25, 2018, 1:02 am

        THIS
        Here with how shortly funded our school is, (we are very rural and very sparsely populated, the school is run mostly through property taxes–I pay for a service I will not use as I have no kids and never will-but I agree the kids NEED school) I would directly gift the classroom with supplies, or gift certificates to certain places that have things for stocking/outfitting the classroom. The teachers put out a lot from their own pocket, the greatest way I could show appreciation is helping out with those things they are buying because the district sure isn’t able to….

        • Dee May 25, 2018, 1:15 am

          NostalgicGal – You DO need the service of schools; it’s good for society, which you live in. Without public schooling available to all students society quickly breaks down to two main classes of people – the wealthy who can afford servants and the poor who serve them. We all benefit greatly from a public well-educated. That’s why civilized societies (and many that are not) consider public schools to be the responsibility of all taxpayers, whether they have children or not.

          It’s the same for medical care – it’s best for society if medical care is fair and equal for everyyone, regardless of income or status. So, whether you use doctors and hospitals or not, it is in your own best interests to be taxed for medical services.

          • NostalgicGal May 25, 2018, 8:07 am

            Hey, I said that. Kids need schools. I just pointed out that I do pay for something I won’t directly use, but. I pay my money so other people’s kids have a school to go to.

            Our medical is pretty threadbare, trust me. Again it’s the issue of being very rural, and low population density. However we are the nearest responder for two hours in some directions. So we pay a goodly swath of sales tax to help keep the hospital open, the ambulance funded, and basic care available.

            There is the right to education and healthcare, yes. Just realize that in some cases it’s not an easy thing to supply.

            As for the OP’s situation, I don’t think it’s right for the school to be soliciting for bonus funds from the student families to disperse to the staff. Here if I wanted to show appreciation I would take supplies directly to the teacher or teachers involved. Anywhere you go, a lot of teachers are paying for stuff for their classroom out of their own pocket–you want to show appreciation for what they do AND BENEFIT THE ENTIRE CLASSROOM, give stuff that’s needed and coming out of the teacher’s pocket right now. It isn’t hard to ask during parent-teacher conference times, on what they could really use…

        • Zhaleh May 25, 2018, 4:12 pm

          I’m sure this is moot, but of course you do use the service of education when you use the service of any educated people. Even if they were educated in a different place.
          It’s all comes back around kids or no kids.

  • K May 24, 2018, 7:25 am

    I totally understand your dilemma.
    My child is in public elementary school and the school celebrates teacher appreciation WEEK. It is coordinated by parents each year, but each day is something and the parents are asked to contribute. We typically have food events each day or several days that week. So one morning may be a breakfast bar which is put together by parents bringing in food items. It culminates at the end of the week with a catered lunch prepared by parents (ex: taco bar).
    I like this better because you can contribute to a greater event (if you choose to) and not have to spend a lot of money.

    At the end of the year though (1 month later) our parents coordinate a collection of money to be able to give a small token and monetary gift to the specials teachers (art, music, etc). PLUS there is usually a collection for your child’s classroom teacher. I plan accordingly each year and pick my donations wisely or do my own individual gift for the classroom teacher.

  • Zhaleh May 24, 2018, 7:25 am

    I’ve always hated the pressure to gift teachers. It wouldn’t bother me if one teacher taught the children all day long, but from elementary school they tend to have at least three teachers each and then by middle school it raised to four or five.
    With more than one child we’re expected to buy gifts for at least 10 different teachers.
    It’s difficult at best for the average person to do, and I’m sure teachers don’t want aver a hundred dollar store gifts.
    I only ever sent cards until they just stopped altogether.
    I would always just drop a gift basket off for office staff at the end of the year.

    • TootsNYC May 25, 2018, 11:16 pm

      That’s why our PTA did a single collection of cash and divided it up among everyone who wasn’t an administrator. Parents just gave an amount they were comfortable with, and the PTA president, vice president, and principal divided it up using some sort of formula (that I don’t remember now; aides got a little less, as did the teachers who didn’t have a homeroom situation).

  • cleosia May 24, 2018, 7:28 am

    I agree with the previous poster. I don’t like it when, basically, their employers are soliciting you so they can give a bonus to their employees. I also don’t like it when it is assumed I WILL contribute to it.

    That being said, if a person is spending that much time every day with your child, whether it’s a formal curriculum or not, they are teaching your child. “Natalie, say please,” “Natalie, don’t spill your milk,” Natalie, don’t bite Bobby.” At this stage, the children are learning basic civility and the like. I would say that it’s never out of line to show your appreciation to the individual who is helping shape the person your child will grow up to be.

  • JD May 24, 2018, 8:01 am

    My sister is a teacher, and the best gifts she got were written or spoken words of appreciation. One middle school student, who had been a handful in my sister’s class, wrote her a year after leaving her math class, and told her how much she now appreciated that my sister insisted on her learning her math. She said she had hated it at the time, but now saw that it was for her benefit, and was glad, after moving on up to the next grade, that she had learned it. My sister treasures that letter.
    Also much appreciated is a kind email copying the school principal, or making the effort to stop by the school and tell the principal (or owner?) good things about that teacher, letting the teacher know about it if he or she is not in attendance during that conversation.
    I’m feeling a bit odd about the owner asking for funds for the teachers, too. I agree that such an effort should be parent-led — the owner is getting to opt out of paying more salary or paying a bonus by soliciting the customers to chip in. Doesn’t sound right to me. I’d say, don’t send any money, send whatever gift you were planning to send. You have the right to refuse to donate .

    • admin May 24, 2018, 8:55 am

      You reminded me of something decades ago. As a freshman college student I was required to take a number of classes in various subjects, including Music 101. I learned about types of Western music throughout history. It was one of those pivotal moments in one’s life where you could feel your brain cells expand with knowledge. It awoke a love of music I had not been familiar with. My poor family had to listen to repeated playing of Luciano Pavarotti operas and Baroque music while I was home during holiday breaks. Years later I wrote a thank you note to the professor telling him that his Music 101 class had been the most influential college course for me in terms of what I took away from college and continued to apply years later. It had really kickstarted a love of many different kinds of music. His response was so joyous you could almost read the tears of joy in between the words of his note. Letters of appreciation are the best gifts, imo.

      • JD May 25, 2018, 8:14 am

        That’s sweet! I’ll bet that man was just used to kids hating that class as a requirement. How happy you must have made him with that letter!

  • Kimberly May 24, 2018, 8:08 am

    I don’t think the employer should be doing this.

    The best gift of appreciation you can give a teacher, cost very little other than time. Write a letter highlighting the things s/he did that helped your child. Give a copy to the teacher, but also send copies to the principal and the person above the principal ( usually the head of primary or secondary education). The administration hears mostly negative things about teachers, letters highlighting the positive go a long way.

  • Ripple May 24, 2018, 8:10 am

    I also don’t think the employer should be soliciting gifts for their employees. That said, gift cards are probably a better way to go than food gifts. Foods can go wrong in so many ways – allergies, diet restrictions, food preferences. But if every child in a teacher’s class gave a $10 gift card to the local Target or Walmart, that can really add up and give the teacher a big boost on their personal budget.

  • Michele May 24, 2018, 8:19 am

    I know gift cards are not personal, but I know many teachers who build their own classroom libraries for the kids, supply school supplies when children are missing something, and put up bulletin boards or decorate their room – all out of their own pocket. I have done gift cards to bookstores, office supply stores, school supply learning stores, etc to help them in the burden of that cost.

    My daycare was in-home and my gift to them was always monetary along with a “gift” for the daycare – a new toy, game, etc that could be used in the daycare but they wouldn’t have to buy.

    • Dippy May 24, 2018, 10:58 am

      my niece is a school teacher and she keeps an Amazon wish list of books and supplies for her classroom. It’s easy to pick, click and send directly to her school.

  • bopper May 24, 2018, 8:37 am

    In an elementary school, the PTA or the class parent would be soliciting money for teachers. I understand they don’t need a 300th “Best TeacherMug” so something monetary is better. But it definitely should not be the employer!

  • Abby May 24, 2018, 8:43 am

    I find this very inappropriate. Our kids go to different daycares, and the directors of both encouraged parents to do something for the teachers (the ones that look after the kids are indeed called teachers at both daycare centers), but it was things like, bring in donuts, or fill out a questionnaire about your teacher, things like that. I would have been very affronted if I was asked/guilted to contribute cash on top of the $500+ weekly I pay in combined tuition expenses.

  • staceyizme May 24, 2018, 8:50 am

    It’s really up to the parents to decide whether or not daycare staff are actually considered teachers and I don’t feel that it is remotely appropriate for the director or the owner to solicit funds on behalf of her staff. That’s what the parent support group or PTA is for. Someone should have a word with the director or the owner and explain that her presumption in collecting funds personally is a case of extremely bad optics.
    I do think that some markers of appreciation are in order wherever children are being cared for because they are necessarily also being educated in such places.
    A lunch can be nice, as can edible treats, a teacher tea or even several similar events scattered throughout the week.
    The director/ owner can involve herself more appropriately by having a theme for the celebration and arranging for special privileges for the teachers such as wearing jeans instead of the uniform on certain days. The preschool attached to our congregation has managed to find many inventive ways to mark the occasion that don’t all include cash. Kids and teachers dressing up together and celebrating together help to make the week more fun for everyone and also causes parents to take note of how they can support their child’s teacher.
    But no- owners directors and staff should not be soliciting gifts or cash it should certainly not be handling them.

  • DGS May 24, 2018, 8:52 am

    My youngest attend a private early childhood center facility, and I am co-chair of the parent teacher group. We organize Teacher Appreciation Week in May from our yearly fundraising budget (e.g. events for kids and families that have an entrance fee, such as a carnival – we have about $2000 allocated for it yearly), and we have room parents that organize monetary donations from each particular age class for holidays, once in the winter and once in the spring.

    During Teacher Appreciation Week, we tend to do “theme” days, so for instance, Manic Monday might include coffee gift cards and donuts, Terrific Tuesday might include a breakfast buffet for the teachers that one of us parent volunteers sets up, etc., and the culmination event is usually some sort of a nice activity for the teachers, such a mani/pedi date that we pay for or a dinner that we pay for, etc. The teachers and the administrators truly appreciate it, and they look forward to it every year. We are very grateful to them for what they do for our children!

  • KaiTee May 24, 2018, 9:08 am

    As the daughter of someone who worked at a school, it only took one school year before my mother had more mugs and knickknacks than she could possibly use. When my children were young I used to send in gift cards to local restaurants (the kind that were good at 4-5 moderately priced places, so that a $25.00 gift card could definitely cover the teacher and potentially two people, with many different food options). Later our PTO started organizing cash donations and I love it. It’s divided up among the teachers, assistants, and administrators such as the counselor, lunch ladies, etc. it makes things super easy for me, and I know it’s something they would appreciate a lot more than two dozen tiny items.

    Your comment that your contribution would be lost among everyone else’s makes it sound like recognition from the teachers for having done something is very important to you. Unless you give a truly amazing gift (or awful gift) what you do is probably not going to stick with them unless the class size is truly tiny. This should be about something the teachers would appreciate, not them appreciating you.

    • TootsNYC May 25, 2018, 11:20 pm

      Our PTA’s collection was always billed as “here’s an opportunity to participate in a monetary gift that perhaps won’t be as awkward as handing them cash directly.” It wasn’t ever billed as a requirement.

      And it was very popular. Whether they were giving big amounts or small amounts, people liked the anonymity of amount that came from pooling together.

  • MelEtiquette May 24, 2018, 9:31 am

    Our school does a large collection for teacher gifts, but it is usually organized by a parent. I do not usually contribute to it, I instead give gifts directly to the teacher, both at the holidays and the end of the year. Although daycare providers may or may not be considered teachers (that’s a separate debate), it should be up to the parent whether they want to contribute to a gift for teacher appreciation. The owner should not be directly soliciting for money for a group gift, but should instead have suggested it to a parent to organize. Especially if the daycare center is small, it will be obvious who did and did not contribute to the group fund, and that may cause some bad feelings. If the owner wants to honor his or her employees, that can be done on their own dime.

    On the subject of what to give a teacher for a gift, I think most prefer not to receive trinkets or food because they have been inundated with both over the years. Even if you think you have come up with something “unique”, they probably already have six of them. Most teachers I know appreciate a gift card to a store like Target or Amazon, especially since many of them end up paying out of pocket for items for their classrooms; the gift cards are often used to offset out of pocket costs.

  • Princess Buttercup May 24, 2018, 10:16 am

    If the business (school) wants to give a gift to their workers then they write a bonus check. They should not be tapping you to do what the business should be doing.
    I would ask your kid to draw a special picture to show their teacher how much they mean to him/her. Being only three they likely can’t write a letter, so you write a note of thanks and include the drawing from your kid. If you want to go extra, consider a gift card. Could be to a nearby restaurant or ice cream parlor, could be for a grocery store.

  • Girlie May 24, 2018, 10:24 am

    Ugh.
    I have had something similar happen in my child’s daycare (she’s not even two, but the daycare also runs a preschool class).
    During Teacher Appreciation Week, there are posted signs throughout the facility encouraging parents to bring something in every single day of the week. Monday might be for flowers, Tuesday for baked goods, Wednesday for cards and letters, etc.
    At Christmas, there are signs posted up outside of each classroom with an extremely (annoyingly so) detailed list of all of each teacher’s (some whom I’d never even met!!!) likes and dislikes. Honestly, there were about thirty questions on this list – everything from “Favorite Food” to “Least Favorite Scent.” While it could be helpful in smaller doses and upon request, I found it repulsive to be so presumptive about the parent’s intentions and finances.

  • Bea May 24, 2018, 10:40 am

    Coming from the owner this opens a giant can of “The IRS wouldn’t like this”. That’s taxable income…you can’t gift employees anything except occasional food or like company branded things or trinkets. Argh.

    It’s inappropriate as well since this is daycare and the massive expense to families is overwhelming enough, they’re not a money tree.

    I used to love giving my teachers gifts. It was always notes with a cookie or a silk rose from the grocery store. I even went back to old teachers to visit them for years in elementary school. So in fourth grade, mom would buy 5 silk roses and I would go from my K-4 teachers telling them how much I loved them. I recall them always being happy to see me peak in the door. To this day I still think they’re all angels who taught me so much.

  • Jentile4 May 24, 2018, 10:50 am

    I don’t think the fact whether they are teachers or not is of importance, but I do agree the owner of the school should not be the one requesting this.

    Do what you feel comfortable with.

    Jen

  • Harry's Mom May 24, 2018, 11:01 am

    Just because someone gives you an unwarranted invoice does not mean that you need to pay it. The only invoice you need to concern yourself with is the one for the services that the school is providing. In this case, you are free to honor the teachers in any manner you wish without explanation.

  • lakey May 24, 2018, 11:21 am

    I’m a retired teacher. I worked at a Catholic school where parents paid tuition. I believe that gifts should be entirely voluntary. Occasionally a parent would try to organize the gift giving at Christmas so that parents were asked to give money toward a monetary gift or a gift card. I was uncomfortable with it. I don’t believe that people should be pressured into giving gifts at all, much less donating money. If people appreciate what you do and want to show that, then that should be entirely up to them, not organized.
    Teacher Appreciation at our school involved a member of the PTA type organization doing something like bringing in lunch items one day, and maybe coming to the classroom door with muffins and coffee on another day. I think that an entire week is a bit much. I’m surprised that there is any expectation of gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week.
    As others have said, the most memorable gifts were letters. Too much organizing seems to lessen the human factor.

  • MPW1971 May 24, 2018, 11:38 am

    Don’t donate money through the employer – if you feel that your child’s “teachers” do a good job, give a gift yourself (non-monetary is best as that is less likely to get lost, stolen, or misappropriated by others), and maybe get your child involved with it too so they understand this. And if you want to avoid the pressure, give a gift at the end of the school year.

  • polite duchess May 24, 2018, 11:54 am

    Oof, this situation is tricky. I personally find it helpful to ask myself what people renowned for having good taste and manners would do, like the Duchess of Cambridge. If I can see Kate Middleton doing something, then I figure it’s the classy thing to do.

    • KayCee May 24, 2018, 1:13 pm

      This is a great idea then thinking about how to navigate situations that are awkward. I also love Kate Middleton! She really has it all- she is wise, classy and gorgeous!

  • Helen May 24, 2018, 11:59 am

    In our area, Montessori schools can be quite pricey, so a request for additional funds would not go over well with me. You pay whatever the fee is for these folks to care for your children and now the school staff (director/owner) is asking for additional funds to buy gift cards for the teachers? Um, no. Give what you can and/or can afford to.

  • Lola May 24, 2018, 12:15 pm

    Our PTO does 3 “days”. You can volunteer or not. One day we did breakfast for the staff. Volunteer parents brought muffins and coffee and tea. The next day was lunch (ordered from a local deli type place). The last was something that was needed in each teachers classroom. The only out of pocket for any volunteer was if you wanted to help with the breakfast. I made a couple dozen muffins along with 3-4 other parents. The lunches and items were out of any funds the PTO has from fundraising. It was voted on and approved. Every teacher felt appreciated the same way every student received a book from the book fair. Nobody got left out.

  • CPete May 24, 2018, 12:31 pm

    This response won’t make me popular, I’m afraid, but as a private childcare director I’ve been on the other side of those emails and can hopefully explain some of the thought behind it.

    In my own case, our center operates on a razor-thin budget and teachers (they are teachers, trust me) receive just minimum hourly wage at less-than full time hours. I would love to pay them more, but then I’d have to raise tuition sharply, which means fewer children would enroll, which means I couldn’t pay teachers as much…you get the point.

    At Christmas, I will generally send out an email that says “We would like to offer our teachers a Christmas bonus, and you can give to it by donating here,” along with a link. I don’t suggest any amount and try to make it clear that it’s purely voluntary, but appreciated. I’m the only one who knows who gives or in what amount, and I write thank you notes to everyone who gives.

    As far as the teacher preference surveys, I don’t pass them out for my teachers, but my son’s school does and I’ve found it very helpful in bringing small gifts for his teacher. I’ve also had parents bring their own to my childcare center for their children’s classroom teacher or myself to fill out, and I thought it was very considerate. It’s also a better alternative than all the parents asking me at Christmas or the end of the year what Mrs X in the two year room likes.

    As far as gifts, as others have mentioned: when in doubt, gift cards are your best friend.

    • Another Michelle May 24, 2018, 5:26 pm

      I agree with you. Yes, most (if not all) day care staff have qualifications and they are teachers (whether they are teaching letters, or manners, or aiding with gross or fine motor skills). In Australia, ALL daycare staff have to have some qualification in order for the daycare to be accredited. I also see that running a daycare is not a massive profit making business. People don’t go into early childhood teaching for the money! I just don’t think that the impetus for a gift (whether it be monetary or not) should come from the business.

    • Dee May 24, 2018, 7:10 pm

      I see your dilemma, CPete, but I don’t think you can be part of the bonus offering if it’s paid for by anyone other than yourself. You can send out that email explaining the low wage of your staff, and the reasons for that, and how dedicated the staff is despite not being remunerated well for their work, and so if parents felt moved to show appreciation then monetary gifts would be quite well received. But I don’t think you should do the actual soliciting, collecting or handing out of the gifts. That is over the line, in my opinion.

    • staceyizme May 24, 2018, 8:06 pm

      You have the process perfected. (Except that you DO need someone else to handle the money. Even if you’re the one who organizes and “handles” most of the process, it’s crucial to maintain at least a basic modicum of separation between the gift recipients and the one soliciting. And I personally agree, early childhood educators are teachers and many have at least an Associate’s, some have a Bachelor’s or higher and most have other training ongoing.

  • NicoleK May 24, 2018, 1:18 pm

    Not food. Weight is a struggle for me and I gained so much when I taught because people were constantly bringing me cookies that I had difficulty resisting.

    I liked getting gift cards.

  • Gosh! May 24, 2018, 2:45 pm

    This is a growing trend that I have seen in recent years. Instead of being a time to show genuine gratitude to teachers in a way that parents see fit, schools and teachers have turned into ‘gimme pigs’ of sorts. My coworker got multiple reminders that it was teacher’s appreciation week and the school sent multiple letters detailing gift requests from teachers, including gift certificate/card preferences- nothing was under $50. (They included requested gift card amounts) There was also a list of mandatory events/activities that parents had to contribute financially to. And, one of the teachers themselves also sent notes home with my coworker’s daughter with a not so subtle note about what they wanted.

    Last year, they also began sending lists of teachers, school leaders, and administrative team members with a strong suggestion to bring in gifts for them, too.

    Teacher’s do an outstanding job. Their hard work often goes unnoticed, and they deserve all the recognition. But, I think the gimme, gimme, gimme trend is tacky, especially when some kids simply cannot afford to give as much as others.

  • saucygirl May 24, 2018, 2:46 pm

    i don’t mind giving gifts, to show appreciation. i do mind being told what the gift should be. we enrolled my daughter in a school for second semester, so we missed christmas. at end of year an email went around from class mom saying that she thought we send the teacher and her family on a cruise! the donation would have been over $100 each. and then of course we couldn’t leave the assistant out, or make her feel bad about her gift compared to the teachers, so we should all donate $50 for her. I did not donate.

  • Eliza May 24, 2018, 2:46 pm

    I think you can still go ahead and buy something, rather than fork out the dough. I used to teach Sunday school at my church and was so surprised at the end of my first year when kids (and parents) had thank you gifts for me! They were special, and 20 yrs later I still remember each child who gave each gift. Many years later I was teaching Sunday school at a different church and the director there asked parents to contribute money for teacher gifts. I think I ended up with $200 from that, and while it was nice and I appreciated it, I would rather have received real gifts from the kids, things that would remind me of them, if their parents wanted to give a gift.

  • Mommyteacher May 24, 2018, 3:34 pm

    Day cares,may indeed have certified, licensed teachers who choose to teach early childhood education rather than elementary or secondary. I am such a teacher. However, in all my years of teaching I have never had any parents organize a teacher appreciation week and I think it’s because a lot of the times teachers and kids would give little mementos on the last day of school instead.

    Some schools and daycares may in fact have a director that does solicit funds for a gift for the teachers and these are usually not-for-profit organizations. For-profit schools and daycares should not solicit funds in this manner.

    • PJ May 24, 2018, 6:39 pm

      I’d find the request off-putting. It almost feels like a combination of a gift registry for teachers (where it is assumed that of course you’ll be giving a gift and they want to be sure they get stuff they like rather than stuff you choose), and a US-restaurant-tipping situation (where the tip is called optional but is fully expected, and one would be considered awfully rude to leave no tip).

      The business should not be looking to collect money to give to the teachers. That should be done by a parent group– ie: initiated by the ones who are expected to show their appreciation. I especially didn’t like the mention of $700 from the prior year– it felt like it was either a competition to increase this year’s contribution, or the start of shaming this year’s parents for not being as generous as last year’s parents.

      I absolutely do consider preschool caregivers to be teachers, though. Some of them are licensed, and my kids came out of their daycare/preschool combo knowing numbers up to 100, 1-digit addition, all the letters and their sounds, how to write their names, reading somewhere between 50 and 100 words, and some simple science and other facts. The caregivers who accomplished this were teachers, and did a great job.

  • rindlrad May 24, 2018, 4:44 pm

    I agree with those who say that an employer should NOT be collecting money from customers on behalf of his/her employees. If the employer wants to show appreciation for his/her employees for Teacher Appreciation Week, he/she should do so out of his/her OWN pocket. Whether the employees are teachers or not I think is beside the point.

    I had two children go through the public school system in the US and I have never heard of Teacher Appreciation Week (my youngest graduated from HS in 2010). The PTA did coffee, juice, bagels, muffins, etc., one morning for teachers and staff at the end of the year to say thank you, but that was it. I baked for this effort until home-baked items were banned by the school district (a whole other issue that I won’t go into here), but was never asked to give money for a end-of-year gift for my kids’ teachers.

    My opinion – if you feel like giving a gift/money – give a gift/money. Don’t if you don’t. Don’t let others’ expectations determine your actions.

  • sheltiemom May 24, 2018, 10:30 pm

    I taught public school for 29 years, and nothing was more appreciated than a note or letter from a parent, or better yet from a student. I have a file with all those letters, even though I’ve been retired 12 years. The other thing I really liked was Christmas ornaments. (Obviously, you would need to be sure the teacher celebrates Christmas!) I have 5 ornaments from students, and they go on my tree every year. The most treasured one is a tiny needlepoint of a Christmas tree hand made by one of my students many years ago. I think of her fondly every time I put it on my tree.

  • Tracy W May 25, 2018, 2:36 am

    When I was in the UK and my kids in daycare at Christmas I’d give their “key teachers” an Amazon gift card each and then a mixed box of teas, coffee and hot chocolate sachets for the staff room.

    Now I do gift cards to a local coffee place (it also does luxury teas and non-caffinated drinks).

  • Sarah May 25, 2018, 5:18 am

    How about Day Care Provider Appreciation Day?

    Send flowers – inexpensive, nice and not something the teacher has to keep forever.

  • Yasuragi May 25, 2018, 6:43 am

    Gifts? Money? Events?

    When I was a kid I brought my teacher an apple or a flower. And that stopped after elementary school.

    As a teacher myself (but not in a country that celebrates Teacher Appreciation Day) I agree with others that the best gifts I receive are words of appreciation.

  • pennywit May 25, 2018, 7:22 am

    At Pennywit Manor, we appreciate all of the children’s tutors. They contribute to the well-being of the household, and they see to it that the heirs and spares are well-educated and prepared to assume their place in society upon adulthood. In recognition of their efforts, all tutors receive extra gruel with their rations at the end of May.

    However, at Pennywit Manor, we are also continually alert for improper relationships. We at Pennywit Manor have read many stories about teenagers falling desperately in love with their tutors, and the tutors, in turn, looking to marry somebody highborn. We at Pennywit Manor abhor these horrendous cliché, and no person under our roof should have to deal with such hackneyed writing.

    • staceyizme May 25, 2018, 10:03 am

      Butlers! They are always involved in either promulgating or extinguishing these relationships! May I make so bold as to recommend that you afford your butlers an extra ration of the aforementioned gruel (perhaps at the end of April, so as not to arouse any sensation of jealousy among the staff)? It might induce them to cooperate with your goal of a careful surveillance of any tutors who might seek to rise above their station by nefarious means? (We haven’t a manor of our own, but our modest home does have a Bonus Room, so we find ourselves in sympathy with the elite.)

    • rindlrad May 25, 2018, 12:32 pm

      I read your comment and giggled. Then I read it again imagining Mr. Carson, the butler from Downton Abbey, was speaking. Laughed so hard my co-workers are concerned.

      Very nice. Thanks.

    • NoviceGardener May 31, 2018, 3:23 pm

      Here in Scum Terrace, Loamshire, we appreciate the morals and traditions still upheld by you and yours, Lady Pennywit. My own family was once of high breeding, but sadly fell into poverty and disrepute in the late nineteenth century. This was partly due to an eccentric great-great uncle of mine, who had unfortunate proclivities for both gambling, and winking lasciviously at scullery maids and their be-stockinged ankles. As you can imagine, the scandal spread swiftly through the countryside.

      The main source of our downfall, though (and it pains me greatly to admit this), was my great-great Aunt, Millicent the Terrible. Unabashed by her husband’s appreciation for a pretty maid with a well-turned heel, she preferred to take the train into London twice a week (third class carriage! My dear, the gossip) rather than allow the local dowagers to sympathise with her over tea.

      Once in the den of iniquity that is our capital city, she would disguise herself as a man by the simple method of pinning up her hair, removing her skirt, and donning a hat and waistcoat. Luckily her lower undergarments were already so long and modest as to be easily mistaken for the pantaloons of a city dandy.

      Thus attired, she would make her way to the British Library, and study well those tomes of learning and erudition contained therein. Now, all this may have been passed off, with care and tact, as the eccentricities of a sorely-tried lady of birth and breeding. .until that fateful day!

      Striding in to a meeting of the Royal Society one day, bold as brass, Millicent the Terrible sought to air her own views on the ever more interesting and complex science of evolution. Which specific views, you may ask? You’ll be glad to know that no one, including my own family, knows. I’m sure it’s of no account, for what would a weak-minded woman know of science and academia? Be it enough to say, she ended her shameful display by fleeing under the tumult of many learned, manly, silver-topped canes.

      Millicent was never heard of again, thankfully. Along with her husband’s eccentric antics, she led the family firmly into ruin. My ancestors were forced to sell Blathering Manor to an upstart property developer, and subsequent generations have survived on the ever-decreasing percentages.

      And thus we find ourselves living in Slum Terrace, relying on the state to provide our unknowing offspring with education. One must move with the times, I fear, and so even my daughters are permitted the rudiments of science and mathematics, although thankfully we have not yet reached the point where young men are subjected to tapestry and the pianoforte! My husband labours hard every day as a miner, unearthing seams of pork pies and sausage rolls. He is allowed Sunday afternoons off once every two months, for which we are all grateful.

      Even I myself have been forced to, ahem, “work”. I will be forever thankful to our old family friends, the Ffotheringillsmithwatsons, whose second son was willing to take me on as a typist in his office in Bloomsbury. I do wish he’d stop looking at my ankles, though.

  • K May 25, 2018, 5:39 pm

    I’m an early childhood teacher, and we have done big Teacher Appreciation Weeks at both schools at which I’ve taught. At the first, the head of school sent out a letter with the details, but it was up to the class parent to really coordinate what the members of each class would do. Most often, they gave small gifts throughout the week, and a large monetary gift at the end. Some parents just gave a contribution to the large gift; some did that PLUS a small gift each day; some did nothing. The only “issue” is that some classes had super enthusiastic class parents that got them huge amounts of stuff, while others wouldn’t get much at all. But the teachers loved it no matter how much – we knew it was just luck as to whether the class would make it big or not. At my current school, administration contributes and hosts breakfasts and lunches throughout the week, as they want to show their appreciation as well.

    At the end of the day: Always do what you’re comfortable doing. If you want to just send a small gift with no monetary donation, fine; if you want to go big, fine; want to give a card, fine. Unless you give your teachers something horrifying or offensive, I promise they won’t talk badly about you. We teach a LOT of kids through the years and understand fully that all families and their wants and needs are different. What you give is appreciated and what you don’t wont make you thought less of. (And if it is, those types of folks exist in every industry and are probably frowned upon by their coworkers for their ingratitude more than you will be for your gift or lack thereof.)

  • Cat May 25, 2018, 7:22 pm

    I taught for over thirty years and never knew what to do with gifts. Do I write a thank you note? Should it go to the child or to the parent? A parent brought me flowers and my principal demanded to know why I was getting flowers. I was glad it wasn’t Poison Ivy or Sandspurs. I don’t have an answer for you.

  • TootsNYC May 25, 2018, 11:07 pm

    When I was the PTA president, it was my job to organize this. And yes, I think it’s weird that the daycare owner or manager is organizing it. They should have recruited a parent to take charge, even if they were the one who brought it up in the first place (especially w/ a daycare, there isn’t a PTA, and there often isn’t as much continuity of parents, bcs kids can be there a shorter time).

    My DD’s dance school had a fund-raiser that they asked us to sell raffle tickets for. It was a little weird, considering that it was a for-profit business.

    But I wanted to address your “my gift will get lost in the crowd” idea.
    At the PTA one, people who could only give $5 actually liked that, because their small cash gift could combine with other people’s to result in a larger gift. And most of the people like me who could put in more were happy to do so and didn’t seem to demand that they get “more credit” than the people who put in $5. Instead, I had them say to me, “I can give more, so I will, but I don’t want the teachers to end up feeling they should play favorites, so I’m glad you aren’t putting the amounts on the card. I’m happy to essentially subsidize the folks who don’t have as much. I trust that everyone is being as generous as it appropriate for them.”

    So don’t worry about the smaller amount–but do ask if the list of names will be given.

    And if you really want the teacher to know you appreciate her/him, write a note.

  • Kate May 26, 2018, 7:11 am

    I’m a teacher in Australia and we do not have Teacher Appreciation Week (I wish!). However, at the end of the year we commonly receive presents from students and their parents, particularly those of us who teach primary school. These gifts are not in any way expected nor is money solicited from parents by our employer!

    In terms of things which are appreciated, I’ve always really appreciated it when parents chip in together for a voucher to a massage place or department store. We receive a lot of food (chocolate at Easter, treats at Christmas) and if you multiply that by 25 children you end up with an amount of food you simply cannot get through and end up regifting. Same with candles or bath soaps. The thing I absolutely treasure above all others is handwritten cards or letters from students expressing something they appreciated about my teaching or enjoyed about the year. I keep these in a collection and will always do so.

  • Gizmo May 26, 2018, 7:22 am

    Just addressing the issue of gifting to teachers in general…

    First of all not to be ungrateful, but I have been teaching for 6 years now and I have so many mugs I literally cannot fit them into my cabinet at the same time (and that’s with keeping 3 at school to make tea with daily!) Most teachers prefer gift cards, handmade items, or simple thought felt thank you cards.

    And second of all, yes yes of course you do not feel the need to give a thank you gift to your mechanic or doctor. You see them, what? Twice a year? Your child’s teacher is with them all day every day all year long. And I can GUARANTEE they have spent more of their personal money on your child that you would believe. Hundreds of dollars, some teachers even spend a thousand or more EVERY YEAR on their classrooms and students. And you are balking and giving a small gift card… I can tell you I spend much less than most at my current, and I went over my school classroom budget by over a hundred this year.

  • Lady W May 26, 2018, 10:19 am

    I worked as a licensed elementary school librarian for a number of years. Our PTO had all the teachers fill out a little survey at the beginning of the school year, with things like favorite candy, favorite color, favorite type of gift card, and favorite charity, with a space at the bottom to list things that they would not want (e.g. candles, mugs, whatever they already had a million of, allergenic foods…). These were made available to parents so that if they ever wanted to do a little something for a specific teacher but didn’t know what to give, they’d have an easy and inexpensive idea list. We did celebrate “Teacher Appreciation Week,” but gift-giving was purely optional and the students did things like make thank-you cards and the PTO potlucked a delicious brunch.

    There are actually very strict regulations in the local public school system about what types of gifts teachers are allowed to accept from students, and when. For example, I would not have been allowed to personally accept something worth more than $10 (gift card/certificate, etc.) even if it was for my classroom/library. If a student/family wished to make a substantial gift towards classroom supplies, new books, etc., I would’ve had to document and receipt it, and retain proof of expenditure (i.e., it wouldn’t have been “mine” to keep as a tip or reimbursement). I would not have been allowed to accept any large gifts or donations during testing weeks or at any time when it could have been perceived as a bribe. In that light, I can understand why such a gift would be permissible coming “through the employer”– though I would certainly understand the controversy as to its appropriateness. I’m not sure what the rules are surrounding day cares, or if this would have any bearing upon the matter.

  • Tanya May 27, 2018, 10:17 pm

    I’m probably influenced by the country I live in but here, all registered preschools and day cares, etc, (called ‘early childhood education providers’) follow a national curriculum so yes, I would consider the staff teachers whether they have a teaching qualification or not. I’m not criticising you OP for questioning this, many people see the ‘work’ that children of this age do and don’t realise how important it is and what they learn (the preschool curriculum is based on the concept that 3 and 4 year olds learn through play; if you’re interested there’s more information here: https://parents.education.govt.nz/early-learning/learning-at-an-ece-service/what-your-child-learns-at-ece/#TeWhariki/?utm_source=newzealandnow.govt.nz)

    As to your other question, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the organisation to be soliciting on behalf of their staff. Reminding parents that the day is coming up is one thing; and a similar email/scheme from a parent or parent group would be fine. But from the organisation itself just strikes me as being a little on the nose.

  • Andi May 29, 2018, 3:11 pm

    My mother was a teacher for many years, and she received a lot of handmade Christmas ornaments, which she cherished. Mom passed many years ago, and as her child, pulling out these ornaments, most of them apples and little chalkboards, with “[SCHOOL NAME] Xmas [YEAR] [STUDENT NAME]”, really warm my heart and help me remember funny stories Mom told us over the years about her students.

    Most of them are cheap dollar-store things, but writing down when and where and from whom have made them all precious to us.

  • NoviceGardener May 31, 2018, 11:42 am

    …(School Name Removed) will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week on Monday. We would love to be able to give all 14 teachers a monetary gift to show our appreciation…

    Uh, wow. Then I suggest you pay them a decent salary, [School]. Teachers shouldn’t be working for tips.

    A teacher appreciation day is a nice idea, but not when it amounts to an employer/business asking their clients to make up the deficit for the employer’s stingy practices. It should serve, perhaps, as a reminder for those parents and children who would genuinely like to make a heartfelt gift to those who have positively impacted their lives, but who otherwise might forget to do so in the busy whirlwind of life.

    I was educated in state schools in the UK, so my education was already paid for by taxes (including those paid by my parents over their working lives). I think we all would’ve been pretty taken aback if we’d received a letter from any of my schools, asking for monetary donations to basically supplement the teachers’ salaries.

    I had a handful of dreadful teachers, many decent ones, and a few absolutely outstanding ones in my time at school. Whenever one of my student/teacher relationships came to an end, I politely thanked the good ones at the end of our last class together.

    The really wonderful teachers, whom I will remember for the rest of my life, received handmade gifts and notes that I put a lot of effort into (and that no one else prompted me to make, amazingly enough). Given their reactions, I know that those gifts and notes made the recipients very happy, and I think actually moved them.

    Imagine if my schools had instead sent out pre-emptive requests for money to my parents? Alright, I probably would’ve still made the gifts, but they would have felt a little cheaper. And as an awkward teenager, I probably would’ve worried about whether I should give them at all, as apparently money would be more welcome.

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