Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving to Teachers from Families

Last year, I shared some thoughts on Kidoinfo about holiday gift-giving for teachers. My kids and are starting to think about what we plan to give teachers this year, so I went back to reread it, and thought it might be useful for others! So here's Holiday Gift Giving to Teachers: Notes from the Field.

Definitely read the comments, too--great ideas there, especially the reminder to remember school staff members beyond classroom teachers. We usually bring in big plates of cookies for the kitchen staff, custodial staff, bus monitors, and office staff.

I have contemplated organizing class gifts to teachers, asking families to give what they can. This is what the very competent Early Childhood Committee does at the JCC, where all of my boys went or currently go to preschool. At King, neither I nor most other family members have been able to achieve anything close to the necessary level of organization to get this done.

Even if we did use our capacities for organizing and persuasion to their fullest potential for the purpose of collecting donations for a class gift,  I have hesitation on two fronts. First, donating money for a big gift has the potential to detract from the personal effort and thoughtfulness that means a lot to teachers and families. Second, I am frankly reluctant to hit up families yet again for money for something school related, even if it's option, especially at this time of year when money is always tight. I am bothered, as always, by the equity issues. Experience tells me that while many cannot give, or might give even if it really hurts, others will give big, according to their means, and it all works out. But I am resistant to creating yet another circumstance when we're asking families for money, even if it's optional and even when it's for such a clearly useful reason.

So collecting money from class families for a group gift hasn't happened at King, at least not initiated by me. I'd love to hear about what your family does to recognize teachers at this time of year, and teachers - tell us what you appreciate!

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