Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: GSNW on February 23, 2013, 12:10:04 AM

Title: Did I overstep?
Post by: GSNW on February 23, 2013, 12:10:04 AM
This year at Christmas, I got quite a few gifts from students.  This is the norm.  I got everything from movie gift cards to homemade mini cheesecakes (nom!).  One student gave me a $25 sbux gift card.  I wrote thank-yous to everyone that gave me a gift.  I've been doing this for years, as I think it's really nice that some parents take time to share holiday cheer with educators.  The cards go something like:

Dear StudentName and Family,
Thank you so much for the SpecificGift.  Specific statement about gift.  I hope you have a great holiday break.  See you in the new year!

Sincerely,
Mrs Teacher

As most of these gifts are given on the day prior to break, I write the notes and mail them home over break.  I use the school's address as a return.  There was a year I sent notes he with students, but a few didn't reach their destination.

This last week, my admin let me know that a parent complained that I should not be sending personal mail home to a student's house.  My admin disagrees and I'm not in any trouble.  The fact that the mom waited two months and threw this in with a litany of other complaints against the school doesn't give it a ton of credibility (for example, she is also upset that her child was not placed in accelerated classes next year).  But it's been bugging me all week, so I thought I'd get some objective feedback.  Would this bug any of you?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snowdragon on February 23, 2013, 12:13:12 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: chmac on February 23, 2013, 12:16:34 AM
I wouldn't have a problem getting a card sent to my home, I'd be quite impressed!  Another option might have been to give them to the students at the school, after the holiday break, but I'm assuming you didn't get gifts from all your students, so handing out cards personally to only a few might look awkward.  I think privately sending the cards out to their homes was fine, and using the school as the return address was a good idea. Not sure what the mother's concern was, I would think she would be glad of the thank you!
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: mechtilde on February 23, 2013, 12:19:46 AM
I don't see this as personal use- the gifts were received in the course of GSNW's work, and she sent the thank you letters as a result of that.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: katycoo on February 23, 2013, 12:32:21 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.

Really?  Was the sort of personal mail you received similar to that in the OP, or other stuff?

I think for 1 piece of mail a year, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by it, personally.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: delabela on February 23, 2013, 12:49:56 AM
I do not think you overstepped and I think it's over the top for her to have complained.  You are an employee of the school and not some random person using the directory, and the gifts were given to you in the course of your job. 

To this day, almost 25 years later, I have the memory of getting a thank you card from my favorite teacher for a christmas present - it was very special because she took the time to say something she appreciated about me, and because I got it in the mail - getting mail is awesome for a kid (not sure what grade you teach, but I think even adults enjoy getting things like thank yous by mail).
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: NyaChan on February 23, 2013, 12:55:44 AM
If they don't want to get personal with the teacher, why voluntarily give her a gift?  It isn't as if they were sent random letters, the mail sent to them is a direct response to a personal overture they made to the teacher.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snowdragon on February 23, 2013, 12:57:30 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.

Really?  Was the sort of personal mail you received similar to that in the OP, or other stuff?

I think for 1 piece of mail a year, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by it, personally.

One of my teachers used our records to send out a survey about certain medical conditions.  Another used the info to call and ask about our neighborhoods and if there were any houses in the area for sale. it does not help that I live in a small enough village that I still run into the first teacher  almost 40 years later.  I had one teacher do the thank you note thing...hated that too,  they could have just given them out in class or placed them in desks or something of that ilk.  It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students? 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: katycoo on February 23, 2013, 01:03:18 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.

Really?  Was the sort of personal mail you received similar to that in the OP, or other stuff?

I think for 1 piece of mail a year, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by it, personally.

One of my teachers used our records to send out a survey about certain medical conditions.  Another used the info to call and ask about our neighborhoods and if there were any houses in the area for sale. it does not help that I live in a small enough village that I still run into the first teacher  almost 40 years later.  I had one teacher do the thank you note thing...hated that too,  they could have just given them out in class or placed them in desks or something of that ilk.  It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?

Yeah, I wouldn't be impressed by your other examples, but the TY note I wouldn't be bothered about.

Would it have made any difference if the actual addressing and mailing was done by the office so that the teacher was not privvy to the records?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: m2kbug on February 23, 2013, 01:06:07 AM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending a card to the home address.  My kids are thrilled to get their own mail, especially when they were little.  For years, some teachers will write their new students a little note during the summer prior to school starting saying how much they're looking forward to meeting them and it's going to be a great year!  It's really special and personal, not just "the teacher," but someone who cares...not that teachers don't care, we know they care, it's just an added little touch and we have appreciated the thank-you's and looking forward to meeting you notes.  Don't stop doing what you're doing. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Marbles on February 23, 2013, 01:06:18 AM
If you were in any other profession, it wouldn't be odd to use the customer database to send thank you notes to customers kind enough to give you gifts. I don't see this as being significantly different. You are responding to a gesture that was given to you in your professional capacity.

Also, I think writing and mailing thank you notes to your students right away provides the kids with an excellent example.  :)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: GSNW on February 23, 2013, 01:09:20 AM
Those other examples are pretty vile.  How would anyone think that's appropriate?

There was a teacher in our district a few years ago that landed in hot water for sending home tutoring flyers for summer to all her students, about 200 in total.  Major bad idea.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: petal on February 23, 2013, 02:45:50 AM
I dont think you overstepped at all GSNW.  In fact, i think the thankyou notes were a lovely idea and very nice of you.


Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: gollymolly2 on February 23, 2013, 02:53:54 AM
I tried to think of a situation in which I'd be mad about receiving a thank you note. It strained my brain.

You did the polite thing. Anyone who would complain about this is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MariaE on February 23, 2013, 03:09:09 AM
There's a huge difference between sending unsolicited spam, and replying to a nice gesture by sending a TY note.

You were fine.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Luxie on February 23, 2013, 03:54:05 AM
I teach college freshmen and I can't imagine something like this being a problem - though I'd probably aim to send to their dorm addresses instead of home, if they had them. I guess it could possibly depend on the age of the children - I'm assuming they're younger/ definitely all still at home with their parents. I don't see a thing wrong with it. You have that contact info available to you because you're their teacher, and it's absolutely legit to want to send the notes. It's not like you were trying to sell them something.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Bijou on February 23, 2013, 05:16:11 AM
I agree with snowdragon on this, but also think it is kind of school related since it only happens because you are the teacher of the child.  I have sort of mixed feelings.  I would send the note home with the child and hope for the best.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Shakira on February 23, 2013, 06:42:54 AM
You definitely did the right thing. How else would you distribute the cards? If, for example, half of your third grade class's parents gave gifts, how would get the cards sent? A bunch of 7-8 year olds are definitely going to notice if MrsTeacher gave half the class special cards to take home. Then half the parents are mad because their child didn't receive a special card. And anyway, who's to say that the card handed out in class actually makes it into the hands of the parent? It could wind up in the child's desk for months.

Mailing the cards is the only way to ensure that each family is thanked appropriately.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Roe on February 23, 2013, 07:00:26 AM
GNSW, your situation has nothing in common with what Snowdragon is describing.

My son's teachers have sent thank you notes during the break.  My son always enjoyed receiving mail, esp from his teachers.  I thought it was pretty special of them to think of him during her time off. 

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: cicero on February 23, 2013, 07:28:06 AM
I think it is a lovely gesture.

and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: sassydeej on February 23, 2013, 07:43:50 AM
I think you were fine in sending thank you notes to the home.  As previous posters have said my DD has received notes in the mail from her teacher this year and she was excited to read them. 

I have been really impressed with her teacher this year as my daughter had eye surgery and her teacher called us at home on the weekend to see how DD was doing and what she would need help with in school the following week.

It's those extra touches that can really make a teacher stand out and make the school year go better.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on February 23, 2013, 08:00:38 AM
I think you are fine in sending Thank you notes to the home.  When my daughter has given gifts, this is what has always been done.

I don't know what grade you teach, but if you were to hand these out in class, I see a whole other can of worms opening.

"Mrs. Smith, what did you give Susie?  A thank you card you say?  For what?  Oh, she got you a gift?  I did not know we were supposed to get you gifts?  or I could not afford to get you a gift.  Sniff, sniff"...

And if my child was a student of yours, why wouldn't you have the address?   Or why couldn't you get the address if needed for something like this?  A person's address is not private knowledge like a phone number.  Anyone can get my address and send me something in the mail. 

I would not complain or be upset about a Thank you.  Surveys or anything else, most definitly. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: rose red on February 23, 2013, 08:12:13 AM
I have no problem with it.  In my entire school career, I only received one thank you letter in th email from my 3rd grade teacher and I still remember it all these years.  It never occured to me that my teachers didn't know my address or at least able to look it up.  Same for my boss and the admin staff. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Zilla on February 23, 2013, 08:26:42 AM
I wouldn't be offended but I would be surprised.  I would think addresses wouldn't be available to teachers so readily like that.  I think it's best to note on your website/electronic email something like, "Thank you all so much for everything you have done!  Your child will be given correspondence to take home this weekend.  Have a lovely break."


And attached a general flyer going over break dates for those that did not receive a thank you card and the rest the thank you cards.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Zilla on February 23, 2013, 08:29:42 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.

Really?  Was the sort of personal mail you received similar to that in the OP, or other stuff?

I think for 1 piece of mail a year, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by it, personally.

One of my teachers used our records to send out a survey about certain medical conditions.  Another used the info to call and ask about our neighborhoods and if there were any houses in the area for sale. it does not help that I live in a small enough village that I still run into the first teacher  almost 40 years later.  I had one teacher do the thank you note thing...hated that too,  they could have just given them out in class or placed them in desks or something of that ilk.  It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?


I have noticed three times now that you don't read the OP's scenario and insert your own which are entirely different.  A thank you note isn't anything remotely like a survey or request for information.  Yikes!  I would have complained as well if I were to receive either of these.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on February 23, 2013, 08:33:14 AM
I think its fine. I don't have kids, but if I did, and they received a thank you from their teacher in the mail, I'd simply think it was nice that he/she took the time to write and send the card and acknowledge the gift.

I agree that giving them out in class isn't the best way; as others have pointed out, what if not every student gave the teacher a gift? I have to be honest, over the years, hearing about friends who have to buy teacher gifts etc. I don't ever recall giving my teachers any holiday gifts. Maybe the other kids did, and I didn't, or maybe it just wasn't done. I honestly don't remember. So if it were the case that my mom didn't provide me with any type of gift, and the other kids did give them, I'd feel pretty hurt if my teachers handed out thank yous to them in class.

Some of the other examples, given, no, not at all appropriate. But in this case, it was simply responding to something already done, not soliciting or trying to gather information from the students and their families.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: acicularis on February 23, 2013, 08:57:54 AM
Teachers have always given thank you notes to my kids at school, so I would be surprised if one came in the mail. I can't imagine being upset by it, though. And my kids would probably love it.

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 23, 2013, 09:25:09 AM
I think it is a lovely gesture.

and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

Not where I'm from in the US (Maryland).  Not sure about other places
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: oopsie on February 23, 2013, 09:44:38 AM
I would love to see the responses the parent mentioned in the OP would get if they started a thread here on e-hell complaining about receiving a post delivered, handwritten thank you note... ;)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snowdragon on February 23, 2013, 09:46:41 AM
Yes it would.  Teachers using school records for personal use ( and did ) drive me batty. But I would have complained the day it arrived, not two months later.

Really?  Was the sort of personal mail you received similar to that in the OP, or other stuff?

I think for 1 piece of mail a year, it probably wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by it, personally.

One of my teachers used our records to send out a survey about certain medical conditions.  Another used the info to call and ask about our neighborhoods and if there were any houses in the area for sale. it does not help that I live in a small enough village that I still run into the first teacher  almost 40 years later.  I had one teacher do the thank you note thing...hated that too,  they could have just given them out in class or placed them in desks or something of that ilk.  It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?


I have noticed three times now that you don't read the OP's scenario and insert your own which are entirely different.  A thank you note isn't anything remotely like a survey or request for information.  Yikes!  I would have complained as well if I were to receive either of these.


How do you know that I don't read?

As I said originally  -  I would be offended at the scenario in the OP and have been if you read my whole post. There is no reason for a teacher to be using personal information belonging to students for her personal wants. Whether that be a thank you note - or anything else.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 23, 2013, 09:51:04 AM
Teachers are supposed to mail things to students' homes in my district - letters about grades, attendance, behavior, etc. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snowdragon on February 23, 2013, 09:54:26 AM
Teachers are supposed to mail things to students' homes in my district - letters about grades, attendance, behavior, etc.


And that is totally different than personal thank you notes.  They come from the school, really.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MummySweet on February 23, 2013, 10:03:26 AM
I think it is a lovely gesture.

and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

Not where I'm from in the US (Maryland).  Not sure about other places

Home visits haven't been my experience here in the US, but when we were in the UK home visits seemed common, particularly before a child started reception.  (The first year of full-day school.)   I thought it was great.  It gave us parents a real chance to get to know the teacher, our children a good introduction, and the teacher got a more well-rounded perspective on each student.

OP, I don't think you were overstepping at all.   You received a gift in a professional capacity and responded in like fashion.  I appreciate that you take the time to thank your students and their parents.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: jaxsue on February 23, 2013, 10:04:00 AM
I tried to think of a situation in which I'd be mad about receiving a thank you note. It strained my brain.

You did the polite thing. Anyone who would complain about this is ridiculous.

ITA. I have a lot of teacher friends, and with the minefields they have to go through to please everyone (parents, coaches, admin), I'd never imagine this would be one of them!

As a child I received TY notes in the mail from teachers. I treasured those, and my parents were fine with it.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Roe on February 23, 2013, 10:35:25 AM
I wouldn't be offended but I would be surprised.  I would think addresses wouldn't be available to teachers so readily like that. 

From my experience, teachers have (and read) student folders where addresses are available and much more information.  (parents names, two or single parent household, siblings, etc)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: GSNW on February 23, 2013, 10:48:45 AM
As far as my district, we have access to personal info for all of our students.  I teach 7th grade, so u have about 175 students total.  Our attendance is online and is merged with the info system.  I can click a student and see:

Names of parents/guardians (and the people listed are the only ones I can talk to about the student)
All phone numbers they have given to the school
Residential address
Known disabilities or health alerts
DOB

I can also access all of their past grades and standardized test scores - so it's a lot of information.  I have never done a home visit.  Sadly, things like that are reserved for truant officers or athletic officials checking on zoning fibbers. 

I appreciate all the responses/thoughts.  It seems unfair to compare a thank you to an unsolicited private health survey or real estate inquiry, but some people are simply very guarded about privacy. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 23, 2013, 10:57:21 AM
Teachers are supposed to mail things to students' homes in my district - letters about grades, attendance, behavior, etc.


And that is totally different than personal thank you notes.  They come from the school, really.

But your concern seemed to be teachers knowing your address.  SInce teachers are required to send these things they are, by defualt, required to know where students live and what their address is.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Bijou on February 23, 2013, 11:08:18 AM
Having access to information about students and using it for personal communication are two different things.  The information provided to the school by the parents is intended for school use. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 23, 2013, 11:10:44 AM
Having access to information about students and using it for personal communication are two different things.  The information provided to the school by the parents is intended for school use.

I think that since the gift was recieved in thanks for school duties the thank you is part of school duties as well.  Using it to invite the parents to a personal party at the teacher's home would be different.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 23, 2013, 11:12:18 AM
Last year, my DD's kindergarten teacher mailed her thank you notes home (Christmas gift and last day of school gift) and I didn't raise an eyebrow.  The teachers have our address on the child's paperwork, so it is not like she had to go snooping for it.  If I fill out the 10 tons of paperwork the week school starts for the teacher, I am going to assume they will have this address.  And she actually complained because you mailed a thank you?  Yeah, she is 'that parent'.  I bet if you had sent it home in the back pack and it had got lost, she would have thrown a fit because you did not thank her for the gift. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Moray on February 23, 2013, 11:18:10 AM
Having access to information about students and using it for personal communication are two different things.  The information provided to the school by the parents is intended for school use.

I think that since the gift was recieved in thanks for school duties the thank you is part of school duties as well.  Using it to invite the parents to a personal party at the teacher's home would be different.

Exactly. The thank you notes were a direct result of gifts given at school, in recognition and appreciation of the OP's teaching. That's not the same thing as a personal letter, invitation to a tupperware party, or other communication that would be outside the bounds of appropriate communiation.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 23, 2013, 11:31:03 AM
I would much rather the teacher mail my daughter an handwritten note to our house that what her teacher did this year (and I really like her).  She sent a mass email to all the parents for thanking us for the group gift the homeroom parent put together.  First off, not everyone in the class contributed, second my 6 yr old DD does not check my emails, and third, she also had given her a small gift she personally picked out.  I have 2 kids in the district so I get all manners of mail, from individual teachers and the district and unless someone is in the witness protection program, just throw away the junk and keep what you want.  As far as Snowdragon saying "Well she knows mine, but I don't know hers." the school has to by law have an address for your kids.  If someone doesn't want the school to know, home school.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: gramma dishes on February 23, 2013, 11:36:22 AM
I'm confused as to why you are concerned about the teacher having access to your address.  One of the things that is taught in Kindergarten and reviewed again in first and second grades is making sure that each child knows his own home address and a phone number where his parents can be reached.  It's a safety issue if a child were to become lost or any other reason police or firemen might need to be involved.

For the record, I sent thank you notes to the home usually.  (I tried discreetly handing them out in class once and despite my best efforts at discretion, it didn't work out well.  Some of the notes apparently never made it home.) 

I'm puzzled as to why you would be concerned with the teacher having access to your home address.  Are you equally concerned about the teacher having access to your phone number?  I have called parents before to discuss specific issues and to my knowledge, no one ever seemed upset about that and in fact apparently a few parents even commented favorably to our principal about my staying in close contact with parents.   

In fact, I usually provided my own home phone number in a letter to the parents at the beginning of the year.   I received very few calls at home, but those I did were important (and brief).  I assumed that parents would not abuse that information and they did not.  Why would they not assume the same about me?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: JenJay on February 23, 2013, 11:45:59 AM
If my child received a mailed, personalized thank you note he'd be thrilled and I'd think very highly of the teacher. It wouldn't bother me at all that our home address had been used.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MariaE on February 23, 2013, 03:39:59 PM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

Never heard of that happening neither in Denmark nor New Zealand (only two countries I've gone to school in).

That said, my teachers have always had easy access to their students' addresses. That I'd take as a given.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: m2kbug on February 23, 2013, 03:57:01 PM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

I don't know in what area of the US the teachers make personal visits.  I've never heard of that, and it certainly doesn't happen in our school district.  I'm okay with notes and letters sent to my child by the teacher, but home visits seems to invade personal boundaries for me.  Not to get off topic, but anyone else feel like that?  (I know there are some circumstances where home visits and therapy are part of the "education plan.") 

And to pull it back onto topic, does anyone feel like thank-you notes or personal notes mailed to home from teacher to child invades boundaries?  I'm not talking about the earlier post of solicitations, which was totally wrong, but a postcard saying, "I can't wait to meet you," or a thank-you note.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MariaE on February 23, 2013, 04:03:15 PM
And to pull it back onto topic, does anyone feel like thank-you notes or personal notes mailed to home from teacher to child invades boundaries?  I'm not talking about the earlier post of solicitations, which was totally wrong, but a postcard saying, "I can't wait to meet you," or a thank-you note.

Definitely not a thank you note - after all, that is written in direct response to something the student did.

An "I can't wait to meet you" postcard I'd find weird unless there was some sort of special occasion that prompted it (i.e. I was hospitalized for 6 weeks in grade 6. My teacher sent me a "Get well soon - looking forward to having you back in class" card - I thought that perfectly appropriate and very sweet.)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: m2kbug on February 23, 2013, 04:10:10 PM
And to pull it back onto topic, does anyone feel like thank-you notes or personal notes mailed to home from teacher to child invades boundaries?  I'm not talking about the earlier post of solicitations, which was totally wrong, but a postcard saying, "I can't wait to meet you," or a thank-you note.

Definitely not a thank you note - after all, that is written in direct response to something the student did.

An "I can't wait to meet you" postcard I'd find weird unless there was some sort of special occasion that prompted it (i.e. I was hospitalized for 6 weeks in grade 6. My teacher sent me a "Get well soon - looking forward to having you back in class" card - I thought that perfectly appropriate and very sweet.)

Both my children, on occasion, (not every teacher) have received a postcard or note in the summer, a week or two before school starts from their prospective teacher introducing themself, saying that they are looking forward to the upcoming school year, can't wait to meet you.  I never found that odd and thought it was kind of neat.  I hope that makes more sense in better context...maybe you still think it's weird.  ;D
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Zilla on February 23, 2013, 04:14:11 PM
And to pull it back onto topic, does anyone feel like thank-you notes or personal notes mailed to home from teacher to child invades boundaries?  I'm not talking about the earlier post of solicitations, which was totally wrong, but a postcard saying, "I can't wait to meet you," or a thank-you note.

Definitely not a thank you note - after all, that is written in direct response to something the student did.

An "I can't wait to meet you" postcard I'd find weird unless there was some sort of special occasion that prompted it (i.e. I was hospitalized for 6 weeks in grade 6. My teacher sent me a "Get well soon - looking forward to having you back in class" card - I thought that perfectly appropriate and very sweet.)

Both my children, on occasion, (not every teacher) have received a postcard or note in the summer, a week or two before school starts from their prospective teacher introducing themself, saying that they are looking forward to the upcoming school year, can't wait to meet you.  I never found that odd and thought it was kind of neat.  I hope that makes more sense in better context...maybe you still think it's weird.  ;D


In the summer when they mail out (or you can pick up) the class assignments, there is a page from the assigned teacher with expectations/excited to teach etc.  I rarely get anything in the mail but they are trying to really save on postage costs as well.  I don't think it's an invasion of privacy or anything like that.  I would just be surprised.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MariaE on February 23, 2013, 04:16:18 PM
And to pull it back onto topic, does anyone feel like thank-you notes or personal notes mailed to home from teacher to child invades boundaries?  I'm not talking about the earlier post of solicitations, which was totally wrong, but a postcard saying, "I can't wait to meet you," or a thank-you note.

Definitely not a thank you note - after all, that is written in direct response to something the student did.

An "I can't wait to meet you" postcard I'd find weird unless there was some sort of special occasion that prompted it (i.e. I was hospitalized for 6 weeks in grade 6. My teacher sent me a "Get well soon - looking forward to having you back in class" card - I thought that perfectly appropriate and very sweet.)

Both my children, on occasion, (not every teacher) have received a postcard or note in the summer, a week or two before school starts from their prospective teacher introducing themself, saying that they are looking forward to the upcoming school year, can't wait to meet you.  I never found that odd and thought it was kind of neat.  I hope that makes more sense in better context...maybe you still think it's weird.  ;D

Not bad weird - just unusual weird :) Not something I've ever seen happening, but I wouldn't consider it crossing a boundary either in that situation. I was envisioning an "I can't wait to meet you" card sent out to select few rather than the class at large. Don't ask me why - it makes no sense. My only excuse is that it's late and I ought to go to bed ;)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 23, 2013, 04:39:52 PM
Until middle school, the teachers here send out postcard a few weeks before school starts introducing themselves and saying they can't wait to meet them.  I think it is a nice way for the teacher to reach out to the kids before they get to meet.  And I know of one district here that the kindergarten teachers do a home visit the week before school starts to each of their students.  These are scheduled and the purpose is not only for the child to meet the teacher on 'their' home turf so that first day of school is not so scary, but for the teacher to get a glimpse of the child's environment.  This district is a lower socioeconomic  without alot of parental involvement in the schools, so the idea is instead of getting the parent to the teacher, bring the teacher to the parent. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Bijou on February 23, 2013, 05:00:29 PM
Having access to information about students and using it for personal communication are two different things.  The information provided to the school by the parents is intended for school use.

I think that since the gift was recieved in thanks for school duties the thank you is part of school duties as well.  Using it to invite the parents to a personal party at the teacher's home would be different.
I believe it was a holiday gift, not a thank you for school duties. 
The fact that a parent did complain about it would give me pause about doing it in the future.  I'm sure there are people who don't mind and those who do and sometimes you have to err on the side of caution.
I would assume these thank you notes would be done on a teacher's personal time and parents may be concerned that the child's information is somewhere other than at the school in a secure file. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 23, 2013, 05:18:29 PM
I am stunned that some are appalled.  I admire the OP.  She took the time to acknowledge the gift in a personal manner.  I would be stunned, but happy if more teachers acted in the same manner. 

We have NEVER received a thank you note from any teacher, administrator, a office clerk, no one.  This is both at private and public schools.

The home address was used at it should be.  It was given for the use of school.  The teacher works at the school.

Solicitations are not OK by any means, this was clearly not.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Drunken Housewife on February 23, 2013, 05:49:20 PM
We have gotten little thank you notes in the mail from teachers, and I was always touched and pleased.  It would never cross my mind to be offended. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 23, 2013, 06:20:37 PM
Yeah, progress reports, letters about attendance, calls home, grading - more often than not done on "personal time".
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: DoubleTrouble on February 23, 2013, 07:16:45 PM
If my child received a mailed, personalized thank you note he'd be thrilled and I'd think very highly of the teacher. It wouldn't bother me at all that our home address had been used.

Same here. My boys got thank yous from all their teachers in their backpacks but if they had been sent to our home they would have been over the moon to get their own mail.

I really don't have a problem with it as I can remember back when I was in elementary school (mid-80's) having a school directory with everyone's phone #'s & addresses in it including teachers. Things have really changed since then but I would want my kids' teachers to know my address/phone number, after all they take care of my kids & need to reach us for any number of things.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 23, 2013, 07:20:11 PM
Yeah, progress reports, letters about attendance, calls home, grading - more often tjan noy done on "personal time".

I am just curious.  Do you contact teachers off school hours?  Never send  a email? 

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: lisastitch on February 23, 2013, 07:44:52 PM
It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?
There are probably very few (if any) teachers who would prank-call their students, or vandalize their houses.  However, unfortunately, there are students who would do those things to their teachers. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Roe on February 23, 2013, 07:52:38 PM
It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?
There are probably very few (if any) teachers who would prank-call their students, or vandalize their houses.  However, unfortunately, there are students who would do those things to their teachers.

I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would be so offended and why anyone would think it odd if a teacher knows a student's address.

If you can't trust your teacher, the one who spends 7-8 hrs a day with your child, then I'm not sure what to say.   

Teachers are human and as such, do normal human things...like send thank you notes.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: johelenc1 on February 23, 2013, 08:00:25 PM
OP - I think you were great.  Sending the thank you notes was a lovely thing to do.  There will always be some one who is unhappy with something.

Just for information sake...addresses are not really all that private - at least in the US.  If you own property in the US, someone can find your address.  It's all public record.  If you are renting, it's a little tougher.

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: doodlemor on February 23, 2013, 08:50:48 PM
.....  And she actually complained because you mailed a thank you?  Yeah, she is 'that parent'.  I bet if you had sent it home in the back pack and it had got lost, she would have thrown a fit because you did not thank her for the gift.

Parents like that make life harder for their children.

When I taught it was the norm to send thankyou notes. Everyone already knew where everyone else lived in this small district, who their parents and grandparents were, and what their dogs were named.  I don't think that it is much different there today.


There are probably very few (if any) teachers who would prank-call their students..... 


You made me laugh, lisastitch.  It never occurred to me that prank calling any of my students was an option. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 23, 2013, 09:30:32 PM
Sorry, I was unclear - I should stop trying to reply using my phone.  Of course the teacher wrote the thank you note on personal time.  A vast amount of teacher duties are done during what is technically "personal time".  Most of grading, lesson planning and parent contact (by phone or mail) ends up happening during a teacher "personal time". Just because it is done during personal time doesn't mean it has nothing to do with teaching duties.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: GSNW on February 23, 2013, 10:07:56 PM
Too true.  You know that bad teacher everyone has experienced - boring lessons, no fun activities, reading out of the book day after day? 

This is the same teacher that brags to his/her colleagues "I don't step foot I campus a minute before contract time and I am driving away one second after." 

Thankfully, most of us realize that teaching is a profession where you take the time to do the job right.  I also fail to see how gifts are unrelated to "teaching duties."  If I were not teaching this kid, I can't imagine I would randomly receive a gift card from the family. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: m2kbug on February 23, 2013, 10:08:15 PM
Sorry, I was unclear - I should stop trying to reply using my phone.  Of course the teacher wrote the thank you note on personal time.  A vast amount of teacher duties are done during what is technically "personal time".  Most of grading, lesson planning and parent contact (by phone or mail) ends up happening during a teacher "personal time". Just because it is done during personal time doesn't mean it has nothing to do with teaching duties.

I pretty much gathered that's what you were trying to say, though "tjan noy" took some translating...love the phone and typo..have you visited DYAC?   ;D 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: artk2002 on February 23, 2013, 10:58:54 PM
I am stunned that some are appalled.  I admire the OP.  She took the time to acknowledge the gift in a personal manner.  I would be stunned, but happy if more teachers acted in the same manner. 

We have NEVER received a thank you note from any teacher, administrator, a office clerk, no one.  This is both at private and public schools.

The home address was used at it should be.  It was given for the use of school.  The teacher works at the school.

Solicitations are not OK by any means, this was clearly not.

I'm not getting it, either. My ex teaches middle school and she always sends thank you notes for gifts that she's been given. I've never heard of someone objecting to getting it at home, either. Some of these families are *very* protective of their information -- when the school published a paper roster, they offered a shredding service since you were supposed to destroy it each year. Using the school list for any kind of solicitation is an absolute no, but thank you notes are fine.

I get involved with this, in a way. One of my volunteer jobs for the school is to give tours for prospective families. We send hand-written thank you notes after each tour; obviously, this has to be to the home address. Again, I've never heard of a complaint about that.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MariaE on February 24, 2013, 01:01:30 AM
It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?
I've always known where my teachers lived. Well, in primary and intermediate school anyway, which is what we're talking about here.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: CakeEater on February 24, 2013, 04:23:37 AM
It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?
There are probably very few (if any) teachers who would prank-call their students, or vandalize their houses.  However, unfortunately, there are students who would do those things to their teachers.

And who at the school should know the child's address at the school if not the teacher? Office staff? Why is the child's teacher less trusted with that information than office staff?

OP, you were just fine.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 09:44:19 AM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: artk2002 on February 24, 2013, 09:48:32 AM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

I disagree that they aren't school related. The gift was given in the context of the teacher's job and was, if done in the usual manner, given at school.

Edit: Even if you consider that it was a personal gift, not related to the teacher's job, it was still the family that made it personal. They are the ones that broke the boundary that several people, including you, feel is appropriate. If you don't want a personal response, don't give a personal gift.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 09:54:38 AM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

I disagree that they aren't school related. The gift was given in the context of the teacher's job and was, if done in the usual manner, given at school.

Edit: Even if you consider that it was a personal gift, not related to the teacher's job, it was still the family that made it personal. They are the ones that broke the boundary that several people, including you, feel is appropriate. If you don't want a personal response, don't give a personal gift.

The gift was personal, but it was given in person also. I don't think the teacher would be very happy if her address was found out and the gift was mailed to her instead.

She should have given the TY note in person.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Mopsy428 on February 24, 2013, 09:57:43 AM
It was really odd knowing this teacher could know where I lived - but I wasn't supposed to be able to know where they lived. If that was protection for them - why was the same protection not afforded to the students?
There are probably very few (if any) teachers who would prank-call their students, or vandalize their houses.  However, unfortunately, there are students who would do those things to their teachers.
Teachers also have to pass criminal background checks--not so with their parents.

ETA: Why would a parent need to know where a teacher lives? You have her business information and e-mail address. That's really all you need to know to get in touch with her.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 24, 2013, 11:15:47 AM
It was a thank you sent to an address you (general) provide willingly, for a gift you sent willingly.  Why is it an issue?  And Snowdragon...honest question for you.  Should teachers not be allowed to have access to any of their students personal information (Address, phone number, parents name, who can legally pick them up from school, medical conditions)?  And if yoy say they should not, may I ask why?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: stargazer on February 24, 2013, 11:33:30 AM
I really  do not get anyone who is uncomfortable with the teacher having the address.  Or is it the fact they got it from the school list?  Would it have made you feel better if she got the address from her home phone book (you know, the thing we have had delivered yearly for DECADES - and I still get them - that had your name and address in it)?  It's a thank you note for crying out loud.  Students, especially younger ones, are not so good about always delivering things to their parents so it makes sense to mail it.  Especially if the gift was given on the last day before break and it was going to be weeks before seeing them again.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 11:36:14 AM
I really  do not get anyone who is uncomfortable with the teacher having the address.  Or is it the fact they got it from the school list?  Would it have made you feel better if she got the address from her home phone book (you know, the thing we have had delivered yearly for DECADES - and I still get them - that had your name and address in it)?  It's a thank you note for crying out loud.  Students, especially younger ones, are not so good about always delivering things to their parents so it makes sense to mail it.  Especially if the gift was given on the last day before break and it was going to be weeks before seeing them again.

I am not uncomfortable with the teacher having the address. I am uncomfortable with her using it for things that are not related to my childs education and/or related to school events.

She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: stargazer on February 24, 2013, 11:52:14 AM
Well, you have given her a gift - I doubt she has pre-made TY notes made out.  The break for Christmas is really long - I would be very uncomfortable waiting that long to send a TY note and I know too many parents that complain about their kids not giving them things the teacher has sent home.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: gramma dishes on February 24, 2013, 11:55:22 AM


She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.

Not really so easily.  Other students, who may not have given Teacher a gift, would feel left out if they saw her handing a special note to just your child.  And a Thank You note can be written, addressed and mailed in 'off hours' while handing a note to your child during school time is ... well, taking up school time for something that's actually personal business.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: White Lotus on February 24, 2013, 12:29:36 PM
OP is fine.  Sending a thank you note for a gift received is normal etiquette and something that should be taught.  This isn't spam, a survey, or an ad for someone's (or their relative's) side business, which would all cross the line. This is common courtesy, and I would appreciate it as support for and modeling of decent manners.  I wouldn't want such notes handed out for all the reasons mentioned.  Of course the schools my children attended, and therefore the teachers, had our address and phones.  I had the teachers', too.  The students, however, did not have that information, again for reasons cited.
We trust teachers with our children; we ought to be able to trust them to use contact information appropriately -- which thank you notes are -- and slam hard the few who go out of bounds -- which we never experienced -- rather than say "occasionally someone steps over the line, so we have to say never go anywhere near it."  That would be letting the rude rule, and that is not a Good Thing.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 24, 2013, 01:25:39 PM
I really  do not get anyone who is uncomfortable with the teacher having the address.  Or is it the fact they got it from the school list?  Would it have made you feel better if she got the address from her home phone book (you know, the thing we have had delivered yearly for DECADES - and I still get them - that had your name and address in it)?  It's a thank you note for crying out loud.  Students, especially younger ones, are not so good about always delivering things to their parents so it makes sense to mail it.  Especially if the gift was given on the last day before break and it was going to be weeks before seeing them again.

I am not uncomfortable with the teacher having the address. I am uncomfortable with her using it for things that are not related to my childs education and/or related to school events.

She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.

Was the gift not related to your child's education?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 01:33:58 PM
I really  do not get anyone who is uncomfortable with the teacher having the address.  Or is it the fact they got it from the school list?  Would it have made you feel better if she got the address from her home phone book (you know, the thing we have had delivered yearly for DECADES - and I still get them - that had your name and address in it)?  It's a thank you note for crying out loud.  Students, especially younger ones, are not so good about always delivering things to their parents so it makes sense to mail it.  Especially if the gift was given on the last day before break and it was going to be weeks before seeing them again.

I am not uncomfortable with the teacher having the address. I am uncomfortable with her using it for things that are not related to my childs education and/or related to school events.

She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.

Was the gift not related to your child's education?

I don't think so. I don't see how gift cards to Starbucks and mini cheesecakes are related to his education. Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 24, 2013, 01:35:44 PM
Oh. Wow.


Then, is the teacher a personal friend of yours?

(Or, do you never give presents to your kids teachers? In which case you don't really have an accurate perspective on the discussion, do you? You wouldn't have any problem here, because there wouldn't be a thank-you note to send)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: gramma dishes on February 24, 2013, 01:52:07 PM

I don't think so. I don't see how gift cards to Starbucks and mini cheesecakes are related to his education. Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

I assure you that the overwhelming majority of teachers don't need the incentive of 'gifts' of any kind to work "harder".  They are working as hard as they can and then some.  And I really doubt that any teacher is going to alter any child's evaluation based on having received a gift from that child or his/her family.

If anything, it's a recognition on the part of the parents that this is a person who spends a great deal of time with their child and is important and influential in his/her life.  It's more of a Thank You than an incentive to "work harder"!
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 24, 2013, 01:56:36 PM
I also assure you that the vast majority of parents/students who give gifts to teachers do not do so with the intent of encouraging the teacher to work harder.

They intend to say thank you, and to offer recognition on the hard work already done.

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: katycoo on February 24, 2013, 01:58:35 PM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

I'm in Australia - never ever ever.  This would be VERY odd.

I think you are fine in sending Thank you notes to the home.  When my daughter has given gifts, this is what has always been done.

I don't know what grade you teach, but if you were to hand these out in class, I see a whole other can of worms opening.

"Mrs. Smith, what did you give Susie?  A thank you card you say?  For what?  Oh, she got you a gift?  I did not know we were supposed to get you gifts?  or I could not afford to get you a gift.  Sniff, sniff"...

And if my child was a student of yours, why wouldn't you have the address?   Or why couldn't you get the address if needed for something like this?  A person's address is not private knowledge like a phone number.  Anyone can get my address and send me something in the mail. 

I would not complain or be upset about a Thank you.  Surveys or anything else, most definitly.

This is why a white lie can be a good thing. "Its just a note for Susie's mother. It's private and not your concern."
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: jaxsue on February 24, 2013, 02:12:54 PM

I don't think so. I don't see how gift cards to Starbucks and mini cheesecakes are related to his education. Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

I assure you that the overwhelming majority of teachers don't need the incentive of 'gifts' of any kind to work "harder".  They are working as hard as they can and then some.  And I really doubt that any teacher is going to alter any child's evaluation based on having received a gift from that child or his/her family.

If anything, it's a recognition on the part of the parents that this is a person who spends a great deal of time with their child and is important and influential in his/her life.  It's more of a Thank You than an incentive to "work harder"!

This. We gave Xmas and end-of-year gifts to teachers. We never saw them as bribes for harder work or better grades!
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snappylt on February 24, 2013, 02:57:38 PM
As a former classroom teacher, I want to add my two cents.  (I taught upper elementary grades over twenty years ago, in mostly self-contained classrooms.)

Each year I would mail a welcome letter two or three days before school started to each student at his/her home address.  I was not required to do this, but my principal had mentioned that he thought it was a nice idea.  I cannot remember for sure, but I think we could send the welcome letter out through the school's postage meter.

I also mailed a personal thank you note (always using my own postage stamp) to each student who gave me a Christmas gift or end-of-the-year gift.  I thought it was the right thing to do because I was modeling politeness and modeling correct letter writing.  Besides, I thought  most kids didn't receive much mail and would appreciate a personal thank you note.

I was so busy during the school days that I would write those thank you notes after school or at home in the evening.  I still think it was the right thing to have done, but if I had known that an individual child's family did not want their child to receive a thank you note through the mail, I certainly would have respected their instructions.

[I did have mixed feelings about receiving gifts from students.  I was being paid to teach; no gifts were needed, and indeed, I think I would have preferred to not receive gifts, because I wouldn't have wanted anyone to think that there was any preferential treatment (because there wasn't).

When I got married and had kids of my own I did not give gifts to my children's teachers.  What I did do is to write thank you letters to their teachers, mentioning specific things my sons had learned in their classes that I was thankful for.]

So, OP, I think you were fine.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: GSNW on February 24, 2013, 04:37:29 PM

I don't think so. I don't see how gift cards to Starbucks and mini cheesecakes are related to his education.

I think if you don't think those things make appropriate gestures or if gestures at all aren't appropriate, then you probably shouldn't give gifts, and maybe you don't.  The majority do not, and when I look at the 38 faces looking back at me in a single period, I don't think of them in terms of "gift, no gift." 

Or maybe I'm the one that should be offended!  It is awfully presumptuous for a parent/student to think I might like coffee, cheesecake, or the homemade bookmarks I got with chemistry jokes on them.  Assuming I even drink coffee or eat cheesecake, or read books, is quite an intrusion into my personal time away from school.    ::)

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: bonyk on February 24, 2013, 04:57:19 PM
Funny, I always send the TY notes home with the kids, and I always feel guilty for not mailing them.  I remember how much I loved getting TY notes mailed to me by my teachers.  It never occurred to me that someone would find that objectionable.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Roe on February 24, 2013, 06:02:29 PM
Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

This is quite insulting.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: kareng57 on February 24, 2013, 06:39:46 PM


She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.

Not really so easily.  Other students, who may not have given Teacher a gift, would feel left out if they saw her handing a special note to just your child.  And a Thank You note can be written, addressed and mailed in 'off hours' while handing a note to your child during school time is ... well, taking up school time for something that's actually personal business.


IME teachers handed notes to students for their parents all the time - although it's true that I'm talking about nearly 20 years ago when email was less common.  For example, when DS #2 was in grade 2 we found him using a ruler (to add and subtract) for his math homework.  He told us that his teacher had suggested it, and we wrote a note asking her to verify it.  She sent a note back confirming it.  I really don't think that spending a few seconds to put a note in a child's backpack is "personal business".

But if a teacher had sent something to me via regular mail I don't think it would have even occurred to me to be upset.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 24, 2013, 06:45:29 PM
Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

This is quite insulting.

POD for me and all the other parents who want to honestly thank a teacher for taking care of the most precious things in our life
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: kareng57 on February 24, 2013, 06:48:00 PM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.


How can it not be school related?  The parent is thanking the teacher for being such an awesome teacher for her child.

I agree that if it was a situation where the teacher was helping someone paint his/her house on the weekends, and that person had a child in her class, then a TY for the painting-service would not be school-related.  But that's not what's happening here.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: kareng57 on February 24, 2013, 06:56:20 PM
As a former classroom teacher, I want to add my two cents.  (I taught upper elementary grades over twenty years ago, in mostly self-contained classrooms.)

Each year I would mail a welcome letter two or three days before school started to each student at his/her home address.  I was not required to do this, but my principal had mentioned that he thought it was a nice idea.  I cannot remember for sure, but I think we could send the welcome letter out through the school's postage meter.

I also mailed a personal thank you note (always using my own postage stamp) to each student who gave me a Christmas gift or end-of-the-year gift.  I thought it was the right thing to do because I was modeling politeness and modeling correct letter writing.  Besides, I thought  most kids didn't receive much mail and would appreciate a personal thank you note.

I was so busy during the school days that I would write those thank you notes after school or at home in the evening.  I still think it was the right thing to have done, but if I had known that an individual child's family did not want their child to receive a thank you note through the mail, I certainly would have respected their instructions.

[I did have mixed feelings about receiving gifts from students.  I was being paid to teach; no gifts were needed, and indeed, I think I would have preferred to not receive gifts, because I wouldn't have wanted anyone to think that there was any preferential treatment (because there wasn't).

When I got married and had kids of my own I did not give gifts to my children's teachers.  What I did do is to write thank you letters to their teachers, mentioning specific things my sons had learned in their classes that I was thankful for.]

So, OP, I think you were fine.


I agree that it might seem like a nice idea, but it wouldn't have worked at my kids' school.  While they did provisional class-lists for returning students at the end of June, they didn't release them to parents, even a few days before school started.  The reason was that, depending on the number of kids who moved away/moved in during the summer, they might have to be revised.  And they didn't want kids spending the whole summer, or even a few days before school, thinking that they'd have Mrs. B as a teacher when it turned out that it would be Mr. W.

The procedure was that (except for kindergarten and new students) the kids all went to their previous classroom/teacher on the first day of school.  It would be a nice chance for her to catch up with them re what they did over the summer, and she would submit a list of which students had not returned.  (Students new to the area went to the library and the librarian would submit a list of how many kids, which grades, etc.)  The kids would be dismissed after only about a half hour, and that gave the staff the rest of the day to do revisions on the provisional class lists.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 24, 2013, 07:02:26 PM
Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

This is quite insulting.

POD for me and all the other parents who want to honestly thank a teacher for taking care of the most precious things in our life

Thank you.  I couldn't have said it better. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 24, 2013, 07:12:52 PM
Well, I doubt that anybody posting here wanders into a random school and/or classroom to give a gift to a teacher who has never worked or interacted with their kid.    Parents who do give gifts  to teachers give them to the teachers who are/have been teaching their kids.   That seems pretty job related to me.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 24, 2013, 07:16:58 PM
I have been pondering this for the last 24 hours and I still cannot wrap my head around that the OP was wrong.  I just honestly don't get it.

Being a teacher is a gift.  Most teachers get paid very little and we trust them with our children.  Sure, there are "bad teachers"  but out of the millions, the "bad" is very small. 

A question for you that think it is wrong, weird, whatever.  Would you think it was cool if your child got a note in the mail from a athlete?  A actor/actress?  Your childs favorite character?

Think about the activities your child does.  A one time vacation Bible study can get a letter mailed to your home. 

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: auntmeegs on February 24, 2013, 07:48:43 PM
I have been pondering this for the last 24 hours and I still cannot wrap my head around that the OP was wrong.  I just honestly don't get it.

Being a teacher is a gift.  Most teachers get paid very little and we trust them with our children.  Sure, there are "bad teachers"  but out of the millions, the "bad" is very small. 

A question for you that think it is wrong, weird, whatever.  Would you think it was cool if your child got a note in the mail from a athlete?  A actor/actress?  Your childs favorite character?

Think about the activities your child does.  A one time vacation Bible study can get a letter mailed to your home.

POD.  People being annoyed about getting thank you notes now?  Really?    ::)
  That's just beyond lame. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: baglady on February 24, 2013, 08:23:47 PM
My teaching experience is limited to private schools, so maybe it's different for public schools, but I can't wrap my mind around the idea of a teacher not knowing a student's address and home phone number. That is critical information for a teacher to know. S/he may need the number so she can call mom to explain that Junior is failing Spanish. Or she may learn from the address that Junior is failing Spanish because he's sleep deprived, thanks to that long bus ride from Outer Suburbia.

Of course it's all kinds of wrong for the teacher to use that info to woo clients for his/her side business, but to mail a thank-you note to a student? Not even in the same ballpark.

BTW, when I was teaching I never did have occasion to mail thank-you notes to students, because I thanked them in person. I did, however,  get (snail mailed) thank-you notes from ex-students for the graduation gifts I gave them.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 24, 2013, 08:29:33 PM
I've taught in public and private.  I would say that the difference in my experience is that many of my kids moved frequently so when you tried to mail grades or call home the address or number had changed.  Of course, that is an inner city school so it doesn't represent all public schools.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: #borecore on February 24, 2013, 08:38:48 PM
I think it's far easier (and not worth worrying much if the parent *might* not see them) to send a note home with a student -- that's what my and my siblings' parents always did, and what my mom, a teacher of 20+ years' experience, has always done).

But that's not to say it's in any way wrong or intrusive to mail a note.

(FWIW, my mom always has notes ready to go in the week of a holiday or occasion. Makes it lots easier to finish fast. But she does teach elementary school; I imagine it's harder in upper grades.)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: sammycat on February 24, 2013, 08:51:27 PM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

My experience with the Australian and New Zealand school systems is that teacher home visits are unheard of. 

What are the regions where this takes place? Is it only for primary school, because I'm just trying to work out the logistics of high schools with 1000-2000 students trying to accomplish this?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 24, 2013, 08:54:53 PM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

My experience with the Australian and New Zealand school systems is that teacher home visits are unheard of. 

What are the regions where this takes place? Is it only for primary school, because I'm just trying to work out the logistics of high schools with 1000-2000 students trying to accomplish this?
There is a very small private school in my area that does do home visits.  I am in the US.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: sammycat on February 24, 2013, 08:58:07 PM
I am stunned that some are appalled.  I admire the OP.  She took the time to acknowledge the gift in a personal manner.  I would be stunned, but happy if more teachers acted in the same manner.


You and me both. It's a pretty sad day when a 'thank you' (note) is seen in a bad light.

The only personal mail I can recall receiving from a teacher was for my younger DS when he was about to enter grade 1. She introduced herself, welcomed DS to grade 1 etc. The teacher was also going to be new to the school, so unlike previous years with older DS, we had no idea what this new teacher was like.  The other parents I spoke to and I all thought what a lovely gesture the letters were. It also served as an ice breaker when we did meet the teacher.

OP, I think you are totally in the clear.  :)
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: sammycat on February 24, 2013, 09:01:51 PM
I've always known where my teachers lived. Well, in primary and intermediate school anyway, which is what we're talking about here.

A few years ago DS's then current (and absolute favourite) teacher moved in about 4 houses from us. We had no choice but to know where he lived then, especially as going past his house was the only way out of our street. ;D  He moved a couple of years later, but his new place was close by.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: sammycat on February 24, 2013, 09:11:33 PM
I am uncomfortable with her using it for things that are not related to my childs education and/or related to school events.

She could have easily handed the TY note to the child like the child handed her the present.

I've tried to work out how this interaction between student and teacher is not related to school events but am failing. If it weren't for (the) school the teacher and student would be strangers to each other, so giving a present and receiving a 'thank you' are most definitely school related.

It's not always possible to hand out thank you notes. In some parts of the world (mine, for instance), the last day of the school year occurs in December, so giving out a thank you note for the combined Christmas/end of year gift simply isn't doable. For a lot of children and some teachers that is also their last day at the school. Mailing a thank you is the only possible alternative for a paper/hard copy 'thank you' note.

I don't see how gift cards to Starbucks and mini cheesecakes are related to his education. Unless the gifts are in hopes that the teacher will work harder because she has received them or that she will give the kids that gifted her better grades.

Wow.  Do you realise just how insulting that is?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 09:40:57 PM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

.

How can it not be school related?  The parent is thanking the teacher for being such an awesome teacher for her child.

I agree that if it was a situation where the teacher was helping someone paint his/her house on the weekends, and that person had a child in her class, then a TY for the painting-service would not be school-related.  But that's not what's happening here.

I thought it was a Christmas/Holiday gift and not a gift a Thank You gift. The OP said that they were given at Christmas time, so I assumed they were Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts are great and all, but they are not related to my childs education.

If I want to thank someone by giving them a gift, I usually don't send it at Christmas time. Then it becomes confused for a Christmas gift. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 09:44:05 PM
Oh. Wow.


Then, is the teacher a personal friend of yours?

(Or, do you never give presents to your kids teachers? In which case you don't really have an accurate perspective on the discussion, do you? You wouldn't have any problem here, because there wouldn't be a thank-you note to send)

I do give Christmas/Holiday presents to DS's teachers. I give them to people I work with too. I also give one to my mechanic. Christmas gifts don't have to be for personal friends.

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving presents to a teacher. I just don't think we can say its related to the students education.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 24, 2013, 09:47:45 PM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

.

How can it not be school related?  The parent is thanking the teacher for being such an awesome teacher for her child.

I agree that if it was a situation where the teacher was helping someone paint his/her house on the weekends, and that person had a child in her class, then a TY for the painting-service would not be school-related.  But that's not what's happening here.

I thought it was a Christmas/Holiday gift and not a gift a Thank You gift. The OP said that they were given at Christmas time, so I assumed they were Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts are great and all, but they are not related to my childs education.

If I want to thank someone by giving them a gift, I usually don't send it at Christmas time. Then it becomes confused for a Christmas gift.

But would you be giving them a Christmas present if they weren't teaching your child?  Isn't it directly connected to the fact that they are educating your child?  You don't give a gift to the teacher two districts away because they aren't educating your child.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: SiotehCat on February 24, 2013, 09:50:22 PM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

.

How can it not be school related?  The parent is thanking the teacher for being such an awesome teacher for her child.

I agree that if it was a situation where the teacher was helping someone paint his/her house on the weekends, and that person had a child in her class, then a TY for the painting-service would not be school-related.  But that's not what's happening here.

I thought it was a Christmas/Holiday gift and not a gift a Thank You gift. The OP said that they were given at Christmas time, so I assumed they were Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts are great and all, but they are not related to my childs education.

If I want to thank someone by giving them a gift, I usually don't send it at Christmas time. Then it becomes confused for a Christmas gift.

But would you be giving them a Christmas present if they weren't teaching your child?  Isn't it directly connected to the fact that they are educating your child?  You don't give a gift to the teacher two districts away because they aren't educating your child.

No, I wouldn't be giving them a gift if they weren't teaching my child. That still doesn't make it related to his education. It doesn't change anything about his education. It does nothing for his education, except in the examples I listed earlier.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Sharnita on February 24, 2013, 09:51:55 PM
I think you might be the only one seeing the logic in that line of thinking.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 24, 2013, 09:59:25 PM
I wouldn't be offended at receiving a thank you note from one of DS's teachers in the mail. I still wouldn't feel good about it though.

I am comfortable with the teacher having our address, but I am not comfortable with them being able to use it for whatever they want. Thank you notes are not school related.

I wouldn't make an official complaint about it unless I had other complaints about the teacher.

.

How can it not be school related?  The parent is thanking the teacher for being such an awesome teacher for her child.

I agree that if it was a situation where the teacher was helping someone paint his/her house on the weekends, and that person had a child in her class, then a TY for the painting-service would not be school-related.  But that's not what's happening here.

I thought it was a Christmas/Holiday gift and not a gift a Thank You gift. The OP said that they were given at Christmas time, so I assumed they were Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts are great and all, but they are not related to my childs education.

If I want to thank someone by giving them a gift, I usually don't send it at Christmas time. Then it becomes confused for a Christmas gift. 

To me, it is a Christmas gift from my child to their teacher.  But, it is not given because it is just the holiday season, or it is the PC thing to do, or everyone else in the class is doing it.  It is given because we want someone who, while not part of out inner circle of family/friends that we do celebrate with, to feel our thanks and gratitude for the caring, respect, & guidance they show to my child 32 hours a week.  And my child knows why that gift is being given.  To me, if you feel an obligation to gift your child's teacher like the mailman and paperboy then you shouldn't bother.  They don't keep lists.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 24, 2013, 10:12:50 PM
Oh. Wow.


Then, is the teacher a personal friend of yours?

(Or, do you never give presents to your kids teachers? In which case you don't really have an accurate perspective on the discussion, do you? You wouldn't have any problem here, because there wouldn't be a thank-you note to send)

I do give Christmas/Holiday presents to DS's teachers. I give them to people I work with too. I also give one to my mechanic. Christmas gifts don't have to be for personal friends.

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving presents to a teacher. I just don't think we can say its related to the students education.

Wouldn't your mechanic mail a thank-you note to your home?
And wouldn't that Christmas gift be related to his service to you as your mechanic?

And if your coworker mailed a thank-you note to your home, would you be upset?
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: snowdragon on February 24, 2013, 10:17:49 PM
Oh. Wow.


Then, is the teacher a personal friend of yours?

(Or, do you never give presents to your kids teachers? In which case you don't really have an accurate perspective on the discussion, do you? You wouldn't have any problem here, because there wouldn't be a thank-you note to send)

I do give Christmas/Holiday presents to DS's teachers. I give them to people I work with too. I also give one to my mechanic. Christmas gifts don't have to be for personal friends.

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving presents to a teacher. I just don't think we can say its related to the students education.

Wouldn't your mechanic mail a thank-you note to your home?
And wouldn't that Christmas gift be related to his service to you as your mechanic?

And if your coworker mailed a thank-you note to your home, would you be upset?


I'd want to know how they got my home address, since it is very rare that I give that out at work, but in many work places the holiday exchange is work culture and expected.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 24, 2013, 10:19:14 PM
I think this is taking a wrong turn.  Siothecat, is certainly entitled to her own opinion.  While her opionon is different than mine, it is still hers. From what I have read  she is a great mom and wants the best for her child.

Bashing parenting skills is never good.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 24, 2013, 10:27:12 PM
I think this is taking a wrong turn.  Siothecat, is certainly entitled to her own opinion.  While her opionon is different than mine, it is still hers. From what I have read  she is a great mom and wants the best for her child.

Bashing parenting skills is never good.

Perhaps she should have kept that in mind earlier.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 24, 2013, 10:34:03 PM
I think this is taking a wrong turn.  Siothecat, is certainly entitled to her own opinion.  While her opionon is different than mine, it is still hers. From what I have read  she is a great mom and wants the best for her child.

Bashing parenting skills is never good.

I don't see where anyone bashed anyone's parenting skills.  Maybe I missed it...



If we cannot trust our teachers with our addresses, how do we trust them with our kids? 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: MOM21SON on February 24, 2013, 10:44:20 PM
I think this is taking a wrong turn.  Siothecat, is certainly entitled to her own opinion.  While her opionon is different than mine, it is still hers. From what I have read  she is a great mom and wants the best for her child.

Bashing parenting skills is never good.

Perhaps she should have kept that in mind earlier.

Have you forgotten that you are on a etiquette forum?  I disagree with her on this issue but, it is her opinion, and to dogpile is wrong.

Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: *inviteseller on February 24, 2013, 10:51:01 PM
I am not questioning parenting, and would not do that.  I just didn't understand her explanation of why she gave a gift to someone. 
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: kareng57 on February 24, 2013, 11:02:37 PM
I think this is taking a wrong turn.  Siothecat, is certainly entitled to her own opinion.  While her opionon is different than mine, it is still hers. From what I have read  she is a great mom and wants the best for her child.

Bashing parenting skills is never good.


What does this have to do with parenting skills??

Generally, when one gives Christmas gifts to professional people, it's because the giver values the outcome.  You (generic) can give a Christmas gift to your hairdresser or aesthetician because you love the work they do "on" you.  You can give a Christmas gift to your awesome car mechanic.  And you can give a Christmas gift to your child's teacher because you think that he/she is very good at the job.

Nothing more.  Most teachers I have known have appreciated gifts from parents, but certainly never expected them.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: bansidhe on February 25, 2013, 12:08:48 AM
But would you be giving them a Christmas present if they weren't teaching your child?  Isn't it directly connected to the fact that they are educating your child?  You don't give a gift to the teacher two districts away because they aren't educating your child.

No, I wouldn't be giving them a gift if they weren't teaching my child. That still doesn't make it related to his education. It doesn't change anything about his education. It does nothing for his education, except in the examples I listed earlier.

I agree that the gift really doesn't have anything to do with the kid's education, though I may not be thinking along the same lines that SiotehCat is. The gift is related to the teacher's job, but it has absolutely to do with the kid's education unless the gift reflects something he or she learned in school.

Let's say my kid and I give her third-grade science teacher a Starbuck's gift certificate at the end of the year. That has nothing to do with the education she received but is merely a nice thank-you gesture. Now let's say that my kid and I make a cake for the teacher that is decorated to look like Saturn and put a bunch of appropriately sized cupcakes around it representing Saturn's moons because she learned about Saturn in science class. That gift has to do with her education.

It's a fine line and probably not terribly relevant, but it was bugging me.  :)

In any case, I have no problem with what the OP did and I think Complaining Parent is one of the many, many people these days who are just looking for offense. Granted I don't have children, but I would be delighted to received a thank-you note like that and appreciate the time the teacher took to write and send it. It would be a great example for the kid to follow, as well.
Title: Re: Did I overstep?
Post by: CakeEater on February 25, 2013, 12:21:42 AM
and i am curious - don't teachers visit their students homes, as least once a year? I don't live in the US so I don't know what the norm is there.

My experience with the Australian and New Zealand school systems is that teacher home visits are unheard of. 

What are the regions where this takes place? Is it only for primary school, because I'm just trying to work out the logistics of high schools with 1000-2000 students trying to accomplish this?
There is a very small private school in my area that does do home visits.  I am in the US.

I'm in Australia. A friend who worked in a private school in Rockhampton was required to do home visits to all her students in the first term. So not unheard of, but still, pretty rare.