We all know that teachers do a marvellous job with our little and big kids, and come Christmas time, most parents like to show their appreciation with a gift. Whether it is a home baked slice, a hand-drawn card or a voucher for the movies, a little festive ‘thank you’ treat is a lovely way to honour a much-loved teacher.
It is not always this straightforward however and one anonymous mum contacted Mamamia to describe how the teacher gift-buying situation had spun out of control at her child’s school.
Rebecca* mum to eight-year-old Amelie* was happy to part with some hard-earned dollars for a teacher present, until she was shocked by the amount she was being pressured to contribute by her fellow mum ‘friends’.
“A few of the parents I know had got together to decide on a present for the class teacher. I was okay to contribute something, but I couldn’t believe some of the ideas the other parents were swapping on the What’s App group. I had been thinking movie vouchers or a gift basket from a department store, but I was overridden by ideas of luxury day spa vouchers, city break packages and entire weekends in the wineries!”
Rebecca told Mamamia that the donation per family was expected to start at fifty dollars in order to reach the desired combination for this lucky teacher’s generous gift. This was in addition to an individual teacher present.
Another mum, Cathy, who is married to a school teacher, told Mamamia that like Rebecca, she felt group presents were excessive for a few reasons.
“Large group presents need to be declared (as part of a tax return) making things awkward for the teacher. I guess the parents feel if they pool together they can organise a better present but it’s so much more complicated than homemade biscuits! I am often astounded by the generosity of parents at my partners school, but wonder if it’s really necessary?”
Mamamia heard from other mums with kids at school or daycare, who had more realistic ideas about what is an appropriate gift for a teacher or carer.
Fiona, a mum of twins from Sydney said that while she contributed to a gift certificate for each class teacher, the method is more democratic.
“There was one lovely parent happy to start the online collection and people donated anonymously what (amount) they wanted. My kids’ teachers each got a Westfield voucher and cards from the kids with special messages. I can say both teachers deserved it.”