Surveys Show That Parents Are Unsure How Appropriate It Is to Give Teachers Gifts

December 20 14:30 2022
Surveys Show That Parents Are Unsure How Appropriate It Is to Give Teachers Gifts
Families are grateful for how hard teachers work to educate and encourage their pupils.
As the Holiday Season Approaches, Parents and Pupils Are Unsure If a Gift Is Appropriate to Show Appreciation for their Teachers.

Sydney, Australia – December 20, 2022 – Teachers work hard to help their students, so it is only natural for their pupils to want to show their appreciation, especially for a teacher who has gone that extra mile.  However, most families are unsure if giving a teacher a gift is appropriate.

A survey by Mumsnet shows that this is a subject that needs to be clarified.  About 55% of those surveyed brought a teacher one or more presents during a school year, but over 60% thought that parents and children should give teachers thank-you presents.  65% said they buy gifts because they like to show their appreciation for staff, while 15% said they only do so if the teacher has gone above and beyond their job.  8% did not want to buy a present for a teacher but felt obligated to do so.

Many people do not realize there are restrictions on what gifts teachers may accept.  Many countries have laws restricting what a teacher can receive as a gift.  Even when there is no national law, most schools have policies regarding gifts.   Generally, small gifts are acceptable, but some schools and education boards may ban all presents.  The majority of schools will have a gift policy that teachers can only accept a gift if it is below a specific value.  A typical example is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose guidelines state that: “(A teacher) may not accept any gift worth $50 or more that is given because of the position he or she holds.  Public employees may accept gifts that are worth less than $50, but they have to disclose in writing that they have done so.”

Interestingly, if a group clubs together, giving a gift of a higher value is acceptable.  Therefore, if the pupils in a class decided to all contribute towards a teacher’s gift, that wouldn’t cause any problems.  To again use the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an example, their guidelines say: “The Ethics Commission created an exemption to permit class gifts to teachers.  A teacher may accept a gift, or several gifts during the school year, from public school students and/or their parents and guardians, with an aggregated value of up to $150, if the gift is identified only as being from the class.”

Teachers also find receiving gifts from pupils and their families a dilemma.  While they appreciate tokens of gratitude, teachers are often concerned that people feel obligated by peer pressure to buy presents.  Especially with so many families struggling economically, they don’t want parents to spend money unnecessarily.

Another area of debate regarding buying teacher gifts is which time of year is most suitable.  Popular times are Christmas, Teacher’s Appreciation Week, the end of the school year, the teacher’s birthday, and when a teacher retires.  However, if a pupil brought even a small gift on all these occasions, it would add up to considerable cost over the year.

When teachers were surveyed about what they would like to receive as a gift, it was clear that the thought was valued more than the gift.  One of the most popular gifts was notebooks that all the class had contributed to, filled with messages of appreciation, drawings, and photos.  Notes and letters, especially referencing a specific lesson or quality of the teacher, were especially valued.

Teachers also appreciated parents giving them equipment that could be used for class projects.  Art supplies and laminators were popular choices, as teachers often paid for these out of their own wages.  However, instead of chocolates or homemade food, teachers would prefer vouchers for a restaurant meal or takeaway or even vouchers for a shop that they wouldn’t usually be able to afford to shop in.  All teachers say they receive a number of mugs every year, more than they could ever use.  Instead, they would find teabags or coffee and hot chocolate sachets more useful.  If a teacher has a particular hobby or interest, then a gift associated with it is welcome.  A picture drawn by a pupil was just as treasured as an official piece of memorabilia.

A retirement gift for a teacher was viewed differently from gifts on other occasions.  As they are retiring, the restrictions on the value of a gift do not apply.  Obviously, classroom supplies would not be a suitable gift, but anything to encourage them to enjoy their retirement would be gratefully received.

While there is some understandable confusion over what is an appropriate present to give to a teacher, the one clear thing is that teachers value the thought behind a gift more than the gift itself.  Teachers treasure a piece of paper with a heartfelt message from a pupil or a drawing of them dressed as their favorite fictional character.  Still, whatever you may choose to give a teacher as a present, they are all grateful to know you appreciate their hard work.

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City: Sidney
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Country: Australia