Should teachers accept end of term presents?
“No you shouldn’t have! You didn’t have to get me anything!” (Yes, you should, I’ve slaved away week after week and I deserve it!)
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when teachers graciously accept gifts from their pupils and parents wonder what the hell to get them.
Magazines and newspapers are full of ’10 best gifts for teachers’ and supermarkets go into super-charged ‘teacher tat’ mode. There is now a whole industry catering for end of term treats with plenty of companies making big money out of it.
According to a Teacher Tapp survey of 2,319 respondents, then booze is pretty high on the list which of course sends all the right signals out to children! Drinking on a school night, heaven forbid! I wonder how many teachers are driven to drink though?
But what teachers actually get isn’t always the obvious although mugs seem to be finally dying a death. And where have all the novelty ties gone?!
According to a poll of teachers by Mumsnet, ‘presents’ can range from the odd end of peculiar to the dodgy end of illegal with some inappropriate bits in between. Here’s a selection of what teachers said:
- A bag of potatoes
- Jewellery “which I’m sure was stolen for me”
- A regifted reed diffuser from the Christmas raffle (“I know because I’d put the raffle ticket on it”)
- An opened, part-drunk bottle of wine
- A “Plan Your Wedding” book (“I was in no way close to getting married”)
- A thong
- A stolen car radio in a carrier bag
- A box of half-eaten chocolates
- Aftershave (“I’m female”)
Many schools have a Gift Giving Policy and adopt strict guidelines about what is acceptable whereas others will accept with open arms anything that is going as long as it isn’t off the back of a lorry. Some parents decide to gift the school rather than an individual teacher and some give to charity instead or donate to a social group or community cause but this is rare.
End-of-term thank-yous have become increasingly lavish and some teachers are being forced to register gifts from pupils to prevent accusations of bribery.
Some councils ban children giving gifts because their policy regarding presents and hospitality applies to non-teaching staff so has to be fair.
We know a little thanks goes a long way but don’t believe anyone who says that they “don’t want a gift, a thank you will do” – that’s just rubbish.
Teachers deserve more than a thank you for being in loco parentis, working 60+ hours a week and for keeping the show going. If you are offered a gift at the end of this term, accept it with thanks and don’t feel guilty.