I am not going to lie … I hate it.
I hate the pressure, the presumption and the disapproving looks when it’s mentioned and I confirm that I am not buying gifts for any teachers on behalf of my son.
Now I feel it best to start by being honest and lay it out bare that I love my son’s school. The teachers do an utterly amazing job and at no point do I wish to decry any of them at all. Having had an earlier career working with children (sometimes in a school settings) I have to say it was a job I soon loathed and It wasn’t for me so I know how hard it can be to work with kids day in and day out and it takes a special kind of person that I take my hat off to.
In recent years, maybe with the rise of social media there has been the biggest influx of gift buying statuses from bottles of wine being delivered to their beloved teacher to chocolates and even hand-made beautifully crafted gifts.
Each to their own and all that. But thats the point … each to their own.
However last year as the summer term drew to an end and the status updates and comments on threads over social media started appearing I had to hold tight to my tongue on both sides of this argument.
I watched parent belittle parent over not buying gifts. I watch teachers (non of my children’s teachers or teachers I know personally) declare their frustration at yet more chocolate “giving up chocolate goes out the window for me as it seems the entire class has given me chocolate, don’t they know I like wine too?”
I watched in utter horror as the out doers tried to hang on to the best parent awards and I have cringed as some teachers proclaim they should get gifts as they work hard all year round and they deserve gifts for working over and above the 3.30pm.
Please remember people this is what I have witnessed on public forums and in open Facebook groups in the past .. This is obviously not aimed at anyone person and not any personal friends on my timelines and accounts and obviously this is not the views of all teachers.
So this year I am angry about the gift giving thing.
I am disgusted that those parents that are struggling to feed their family are shamed into the gift giving culture.
I am standing tall to say I won’t be buying gifts for our wonderful teachers.
Teachers are salaried and do get paid and although it would be amazing to pay them all far more it would be equally as nice to pay the NHS staff more, or the parent on national minimum wage that cleans the toilets in town or your work place or even the armed service personnel that put their own lives on the line.
We all work for a living and I nor anybody else should feel guilty for not purchasing a gift for our children’s teachers.
We don’t specifically hand out gifts to the cleaner at the school, the cook or the general support team behind the teachers. We don’t hand out gifts to our dentist, the GP or even the person that works in the shop every single year do you?
If you want to buy your childs teacher a gift then by all means that should be your own personal choice … And your choice alone.
Not by some other parent on a social media platform guilting you into it.
Instead of buying my children’s teachers a gift (he has 2 teachers and a teaching assistant, so that’s 3 gifts if I did buy) I am going to make sure I support them in other ways all year long.
I am going to make sure he can do the little things himself, toileting, undressing and redressing for PE. Provide those things the school sometimes asks for while they work on a project and make sure my son has his PE kit and remembers his manners where possible.
These may be free things, but those little things day in day out will mean my sons teachers have one less person they have to find a PE kit for, one less child they have to assist in getting dressed out of the 30+ children in their class after a PE lesson and one step closer to their project goal in receiving the items I send in to help that they won’t have to fund themselves.
Please don’t feel pressured into buying gifts that you maybe can’t afford or don’t want to give. Don’t let peer pressure get you down and keep your chin up.
Taking the time to thank your child’s teacher with your own words should mean more in the long run than a gift. Knowing you appreciate them can mean so much more than material possessions.