"Private school teachers get Tiffany jewellery for gifts. I got a box of Jatz."

What did you get your kid’s teacher for Christmas?

Spare a thought for teachers.  They work hard. They take care of our snotty-nosed kids all day. They teach them all the things that we can’t/won’t/don’t understand. And by December they are up to their nipples in school concerts, nativity plays, and papier -mache glue. That shit gets EVERYWHERE.

It’s out of guilt, utter gratefulness, and the innocence of primary school that kids, or parents, will gift teacher’s a little something to say “Thank you. You’ve taught our small human things. You survived.” It’s a lovely thought.

Another thought at this time of year comes from the teachers. And it’s “How many scented candles will I get?

From Tiffany bracelets to 18 boxes of chocolates, this week on This Glorious Mess, a former primary-school teacher talks about the booty educators receive at this time of year.


Valentina Todoroska is a journalist who used to be a primary school teacher in a state school, and she says her gifts ranged from the bizarre to the brilliant.

“You get a lot of things from home. And a lot of things that the parents probably don’t know that you’re getting…”

Like one year, she received a packet of Jatz biscuits. Wrapped up.  “I’m pretty sure they came straight out of the pantry.” she says.

The key? Act like it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever seen.

“You don’t really want to let them down, she says. “They come in and they’re so excited. They say, ‘This is what I really, really wanted to get you!'”

“You don’t want to unwrap it and think ‘Oh God, what have they given me?’ so you unwrap it and say ‘Oh my God! This is the best thing in the world! I love Jatz!'”

Valentina Todoroska. Former teacher. Excellent poker face.

Friends of hers who teach in private schools have unwrapped Tiffany bracelets, necklaces, and iPads as all the parents chip in for the big class gift.

Holly Wainwright – who co-hosts the podcast for imperfect parents – then asked The Big Question.  One year, her kids presented their teacher with homemade cards while everyone around them carried champagne and chocolates. If you’re a parent that doesn’t give a present, does the teacher look at you a bit differently? Like you’re a massive schoolyard tightarse?


This Glorious Mess’s Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo, v. messy.

Valentina says no. In fact, those home made cards that your kids agonise over? Total highlight.

“They’re a really nice reminder that the kids care about you and you”re a big part of their lives.” she says.

As for what to avoid? Valentina says the chocolates are the worst.  “You get so much of it, and it’s just there, and you end up eating it all,” she says.  “I don’t think anyone would complain if they got wine.”

True, that.

Also on the podcast this week: Holly nails meeting her son’s hero, Andrew Daddo shares an epic fail, we hear a mum’s very honest account about how she REALLY feels about her best friend’s husband, and discuss whether you need a coach to help you come back to work after having a baby.

The full episode is here:

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