Some things can make a person feel really old and a prime example would be when you feel the urge to preface a point with those immortal words “in my day”! So I shall avoid that particular phrase by saying that it is a few years since I was at school and much appears to have changed. I have no children and so I am a little behind the times which is probably why I was surprised to discover that it is now common practice to buy gifts for teachers at Christmas or at the end of the school year.
I know what my own mother would have thought of this idea. As she would have willingly punched the lights out of my rather incompetent chemistry teacher, I doubt that she would have sent me to school bearing gifts for him! Indeed I doubt whether any of my tutors would have found themselves the beneficiaries of any treats from my household. I think that you could argue that such offerings should be confined to special occasions or when someone has gone beyond the call of duty and I marvel that parents have the funds to lavish gifts on teachers anyway. Indeed they probably don’t.
Lack of Christmas Cheer
I have often been accused of having an unfortunate attitude to Christmas. I have never seen the point of everyone spending money they can ill afford on buying each other gifts and then having to pay for their excesses for most of the following year. Let’s face it, most gifts end up being things that people don’t really want and we all have that relative who has an amazing talent for buying the most ghastly things imaginable. When I think of teachers receiving their gifts I can only picture the awkwardness of trying to appear grateful about their 35th set of toiletries!
I really must try hard to be a little less cynical! I guess that if a teacher has done a good job then they will have made a significant contribution to a child’s development and perhaps that effort should be rewarded. However, I think parents should consider carefully what they buy and try to find out what the teachers actually want before they bake a dozen Cornish pasties for a vegetarian!
It’s the Thought that Counts
I have friends who are teachers and their opinions all seem to be similar on this subject. They appreciate the gifts but are just as pleased to receive a letter of thanks from their pupils. This is one situation when it really is the thought that counts most. Naturally an appropriate gift is always welcome andwith a fabulous array of interesting and unusual gifts that would really hit the spot. Taking this route should meet with more success than home baking because the sheer volume of cupcakes and muffins does mean that an obesity epidemic could break out amongst the teaching profession at any time.
Most of all I hope that parents are not getting competitive over their gifts. I can imagine some people seeing the end of term as a great opportunity to make the grand gesture and laud it over others. Grand gestures are not required and are inappropriate. A small gift and a letter of heartfelt thanks would mean a whole lot more, especially if the grand gesture is ghastly!