Would you rather do a group teacher gift or go it alone?

The group class gift seems likes a smart idea. The class sends in $5 or $10 cash. The money is pooled for one big gift card that the teacher can actually do something with instead of a $10 to Red Lobster and $10 to the Olive Garden and $10 to Cracker Barrel.

However efficient and useful the giant class gift card is, it just doesn’t seem very personal.

I guess because Rose’s teachers looped up I kind of feel like I know them well enough to choose a good present for them. The one teacher loves to read and loves Julia Child so I thought it would be nice to give her that book “ As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.” I think she would enjoy reading it over the holiday break.

Her other teacher has small children so I think movie passes would be greatly enjoyed on the new Muppett moive or “Arthur Christmas.”

I asked Rose and she just wants to participate in the class gift.

What do you think: Are you for or against the class gift? Do  you think it’s easier for the parents and better for the teachers? Or do you think teachers appreciate  smaller gifts from individual families that show they know what they like?

82 comments Add your comment

Been There, Done That

December 8th, 2011
12:49 am

I think you should at least run spellcheck….c’mon Theresa….be a bit more professional!

Bobby

December 8th, 2011
4:22 am

Would I rather do a group teacher gift or go it alone? I’d prefer to go it alone. With my daughter’s teacher I’m thinking dinner, drinks, and maybe, later on, some “extracurricular activities.”

That is what you were asking, right?

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
6:49 am

Trying not to annoy you Hedda, after your comment last night. As a teacher, I received some lovely group gifts. In light of the economy, I think it might be easier to pitch in cash and buy one nice larger gift than try to find several gifts for $10 or less each. If you had 20 students and they each chipped in $5, that would allow a nice dinner out for the teacher. It seems like $5 is not too much to ask…is it?

My personal pet peeve on group gifts, not just for teachers:

Your name is not on the card if you did not pitch in. When I started collecting money for other’s group gifts at our school as a new teacher myself ( over 25 years ago) I would send around an envelope that stated:

Several teachers suggested that we go together and purchase a “stroller” for the “Monique’s” baby shower in 3 weeks and we are asking for a $10 contribution from whomever wants to join us. If we have extra $, we will buy some other items she will need. Please write your name/ $10 on this envelope if you want to contribute. When you have made your contribution, CIRCLE your name so we know you want your name to be included on the card. I will bring the card around on ____, so you can sign it or stop by my room. This envelope will be circulated once per week and kept in motherjanegoose’s room. Come and see me when you have your $$$. Thank you for joining us. If you prefer to buy your own gift, we understand. See you at the shower!

That way, I could add up the money and sign the card appropriately. Is it annoying to expect those who want their name to be included on the card to actually chip in or should we just put everyone’s name on the card no matter if they actually paid or not? I decided to do this after I was stiffed for $$ by others who told me to pitch in for them but seemingly never got around to paying me. This, after I put in $10 for them and the card was signed “your fellow teachers at happy school”.

Here is one thing I learned: you may be annoyed with me if your name did not make it on the card…whose fault is that? I will be annoyed with you when I walk past you week after week and know that you still owe me money and smile and laugh like nothing is up. I do not want to be annoyed nor do I want to hound you. BTW those who take the initiative to handle these things should not have to foot the bill and yes I did it a few times before I came up with a solution. Annoying? Perhaps, to the one who forgot to pay and was embarrassed. No I did not hunt anyone down for $$$…it was their job to remember, just as I remembered to go out and purchase then wrap and deliver the gift.

catlady

December 8th, 2011
6:58 am

I work with, generally, the poorest kids in a poor school (75% free lunch). I get no gifts from the parents at Christmas. Occasionally (once every 3-5 years) a student makes me a gift or gives me something of theirs. I treasure that. Frequently, at the end of the year, parents give me a “gift”–they tell me how much they appreciate what I have done with/for their child. The Latino parents are most likely to do that.

Sometimes I get the “gift” much later, when a student comes up to me and tells me how glad they were to have been in my class, or how much they want their child to be in my class (rarely happens, as these kids tend to be much higher-achieving). Sometimes, years later, a parent tells you. I treasure this.

I don’t think I have EVER been given a group gift, in 39 years! My daughter, however, tells me they are lovely. She has been able to have a special dinner out, or shop for something “big” (ie over $5) with gift cards she has been given. Once she took ME out with a gift card! So I vote for the group gift, Theresa, if you are talking about a tangible gift. Just remember, at the end of the year, to write a note relaying some of the things you have appreciated. Those notes can bring sunshine to a bad day, I can tell you!

As to shopping for the teacher because you “know her,” well, I doubt you know what she already has, unless you are her next door neighbor, and VERY friendly.

catlady

December 8th, 2011
7:01 am

Good morning, MJG. Hope you have a great day!

Me

December 8th, 2011
7:17 am

We always did individual gifts waaaayyyy back when I was in school. With our offspring, however, I can honestly state that I have no eartly idea how gifting to teachers was handled. My (much) better half just always handled that so, now, I feel ignorant in that regard.
But, I still have an opinion and, as such, think that the group gift should work fine, albeit a bit less personal.
@MJG, I know you accepted the huge risk of potentially annoying someone with your earlier posting this morning but, to your point, no, if I am the one playing organizer, there would be no names on any card of those who chose not to participate.
Isn’t it a bit ironic that those who choose to complain are able to do so as a result of having had good teachers in their lives!

Gtmom

December 8th, 2011
7:28 am

I collected for the group gift last year for my son’s pre K class. In the end with 12 students, I had received about $220 in cash. One person gave me $5 and another gave me $150. One mom gave me 3 dollars in change. The entire group contributed and the teachers never knew who gave what. It was the thought that count right?? I am sure they appreciated the gift card. You will be shocked on how much some people are able to give. My older’s child room mom last year told me that some people gave her 60 plus dollars! Not all of us can do that… but I am sure the teachers appreciate all that is collected even the three dollars in change. Plus, my husband gets a pretty big bonus this time of year. I am sure the teacher’s would appreciate some bonus money too!

catlady

December 8th, 2011
7:42 am

GTmom, I guess you know state employees (other than the lottery corp, a quasi-state agency) cannot get bonuses. We get our Jan 1 chedk the day we get out for Christmas, but we have accumulated 2 months “ahead” of our pay so I don’t think of that as a perk (We start working about August 1 but don’t draw the paycheck for August until October 1)

Gtmom

December 8th, 2011
7:52 am

Yes, I know. I work for Federal Contracts (private company) and I don’t get a bonus either. Husband designs 40 story buildings (at least he did before the recession). He has had huge pay cuts since 2007 and no raises – lots of furlough days but he did get a bonus this year and last. I know our teachers appreciated the American Express gift cards that they got last year. I student taught first grade when I was in college (before I changed my major), I got so much stuff (as did my stepmother who taught 6th grade), I had no place to put it.

Anj

December 8th, 2011
8:09 am

Pros and Cons:

Pro of individual gifts – everyone is responsible for their own gift and can give what they like, or even if they like.

Pro of group gifts – recipient can get a “bigger” gift (which I hope is a gift card, since something that is expensive and useless is not nearly so useful as being able to order out for lunch for a week), people who can’t afford to donate won’t be embarrassed by their lack. Since the children are often aware of these “voluntary donations”, they may be upset every time the collection is take up that they can’t participate.

If you do organize the Group Gift, please let everyone know this is to pool available funds for efficiency and donations are not compulsory. Also, let people know that you would appreciate it if they respond quickly with a donation or regrets. Either response should be welcomed graciously. If people feel they are being pressured into giving, they may lie about giving and stiff the organizer.

(I should save up all of the various opportunities to donate to various school organizations, causes, charities and individuals that we receive in a year – from school notices or emails. Usually I pick a few that the children are participating in and recycle the rest.)

madmommy(not really mad)

December 8th, 2011
8:27 am

I do a group gift at the end of the year and then an individual gift at Christmas. I am a crafter, so most of our gifts are homemade and I find people enjoy those more than store bought gifts. I did a batch of jam last night and the total cost was around $21.00 for eight gifts. Thankfully most return their jam jars so that cuts down on the overall cost.

I think it just depends on the person. I have always made my gifts even as a little girl with a loom kit just doing hairbands and potholders. Even a batch of cookies or homemade fudge can say thank you to someone.

REALL??

December 8th, 2011
8:33 am

Didn’w et talk about this last year and at teacher apprication week? There are serious issues out there and parent on here with serious problems. Let’s talk about them and offer some advice on real issues.

Techmom

December 8th, 2011
8:50 am

@REALL?? What topic do you want to discuss? TWG takes suggestions!

I like the group gift idea but it’s much more difficult on the middle/high school level. Now that my son has 7 teachers (not to mention coaches), I’m not sure what to do without it costing an arm and a leg. I feel cheap if I do $5 gift cards but I do want to give something. One year I did personalized note pads with each teacher’s name and a nice pen. That went over well but I wasn’t quite on the ball this year. Any other ideas?

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
8:56 am

Morning back at you catlady…hope all is well in your world and hugs to you! Let’s touch base.

I got this gift on Tuesday…after a school show, I was walking to the front of the school. A Kindergarten student was walking a classmate to the office. He looked at me and stopped, ” I need to give you a hug!” I do have friends, many are under 6 or their teachers who know me.

@ Me…thanks! Glad some people here can understand what I am trying to share. I do not intend to be mean about collecting for a group gift…just fair. If you do not or cannot participate that is absolutely your choice. I have no problem with it at all.

@ ANJ…good points! I find that getting an RSVP ( for anything) is a lost art. As you might be able to tell…I am an organizer and can get impatient with those who like to float along.
I have no problem if you want to do your own thing…just let me know so that we do not count on you: whether this is a group gift or a dinner party…communication is appreciated. My daughter organizes too and reports back that things are the same in her world.

Bonus…what is a that? I forget all about that word until this time of year. My husband does not receive a Christmas bonus. I do remember that I used to get $50 to $100 when I taught at a private school. Here is my bonus: I do not have to work another day this month AND I am not being paid by anyone either. Many schools cannot book a Christmas show and those that can want to book it early as things get hectic in the next 10 days! Staff development does not happen this month either. I am FINE with it though, as I work double time many weeks per year. Time for me to tackle things around the house and get together with my friends.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
9:04 am

@ REALL? Not only does TWG take suggestions, she will run a column that you wrote for her if she likes it and you do a decent job. I can attest to it! Can’t wait to see what you contribute.

@Techmom…I did this at the end of the year: purchase some fun paper plates, cups, napkins for a NO DISHWASHING night for the teacher. I guess you could do this for the holidays too. It is kind of silly but my kid’s teachers liked it. I did this for the woman. You can get them at Tuesday Morning as they have all sorts of cute ones. Even pretty tissue paper and tape/bows might be nice as they will use it soon. A gift giving care package as it were. They also have movie tickets at Costco ( 2 for $15 I think) and you could tie it to a pkg of popcorn, even though they will have to eat that at home. I think teachers appreciate the gesture as much as the gift.

Alecia

December 8th, 2011
9:08 am

Last year the room parent bought a small tree and each parent clipped a gift card onto the tree. She did not have to collect money and hound people. Orchestrating a group gift is a bummer. Usually someone gets stiffed, someone feels obligated, comeone contributes too much, and someone contributes too little. However, I like MJ Goose’s idea.

Sybill

December 8th, 2011
9:09 am

We don’t participate in the teacher gifts. I see no need to do so. I spend enough money at the schools without needing to shell out $10 for a present for each of their teachers. I don’t give anything to the mailman, the trash collectors, etc. It’s their JOB……

They don’t give me presents where I work……I’m just very happy to have a job to go to every day. I don’t EXPECT a christmas present from them. They will take us out to dinner at a nice restaurant, and that’s just fine with me.

Now I will bake and give stuff to our neighbors and close friends. It just seems to me that Christmas time is a lot of people sticking their hands out, wanting SOMETHING. This charity, that charity, then they parade a bunch of poor sickly kids out and we’re supposed to feel bad and give money. Salvation Army is in front of every store you go to, every day. Give me, give me, give me.

This is another reason we go on vacation at Christmas. Too many people are focused on the greed. We buy one big present for each kid, and give it to them on Christmas morning. We have spent Christmas mornings at some georgeous places around this country. Jackson Hole Wyoming; numerous places in Colorado Vermont and New Hampshire, and yes one year we dipped into Florida. We’ve also take cruises (no big presents on the ship, but they were home when we arrived).

One year, after a Christmas Cruise, one of my daughter’s friends asked her what she got for christmas, and she replied “Sunburned”……

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
9:46 am

Reply…in 25 words…..can you count…you are over 25:

Easier to criticize others than contribute original ideas, whether me or TWG. No one is forcing you to read this blog. I AM NOT HIP!

i LOVE...

December 8th, 2011
10:05 am

if (and that is a big IF as i work in a title I school) a student asks me what i want for christmas, i tell them to buy supplies for the class. i do not expect them to buy me anything. it is a rarity to get gifts at all.

catlady

December 8th, 2011
10:09 am

madmommy, I am giving the teachers I push in with (cooperating teachers) a jar of apple butter this year. It truly is something they can’t get anywhere else just like mine. Most people are glad for special treats. I, too, prize my jars!

Augusta

December 8th, 2011
10:22 am

MJG is like a Timex watch – she takes a lickin, and keeps on tickin….YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Augusta

December 8th, 2011
10:22 am

Let the haters be your motivaters…..(that cracks me up, but the kids say it all the time)…

Gtmom

December 8th, 2011
10:27 am

Homemade gifts are always very thoughtful and appreciated! Not everyone has the talent or the time to make them. Those who don’t appreciate the others who give them.

Figment

December 8th, 2011
10:32 am

@MJG – some people need to belittle others to feel good about themselves. Best not to feed the trolls. :-) Don’t let the haters get to you.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 8th, 2011
10:49 am

I am ALWAYS happy to take suggestions for blogs and if you have written something, send it to me. I am happy to consider running it.

On the class group gift — I will always put from the class on the card no matter who contributes. I think there are families that may not be able to and would hate to embarrass them. They are a part of the class too. I did have a friend who posted on Facebook last year that she didn’t intend to list those who didn’t give and I was shocked by that. At some point everyone will be down and you never know when you would appreciate being included on the card even though you didn’t give anything.

Now I think it’s different for workers contributing to an office present for a baby shower or other event (I think that’s more what MJG is talking about). They are independent people working — now I wouldn’t expect as much from the assistant editor as the managing editor — the contribution should be relative to their salary and/or relationship with the person.

I will look for my spelling error — I wrote three blogs very quickly the first night my relatives arrived. I am trying to keep all the balls in the air. I always write in Word so it automatically spell checks. The headlines are written in the blogging program and it doesn’t spellcheck headlines. I will look for the correction. Sorry to make a mistake.

Scrooge

December 8th, 2011
11:03 am

Why do teachers need gifts for doing their jobs? From Christmas to Teacher Appreciation Week, the money would be better spent on supplies and books for the classroom.

Teacher, Too

December 8th, 2011
11:07 am

I always appreciate any gifts that students give me. And, I always write a hand-written thank you note, not an email.

I don’t ever expect anything– but you may want to think about this..If I come in early to tutor your child or to meet with you, please remember that I don’t get paid to do this. If I stay late to tutor your child or to meet with you, please remember that I don’t get paid to do this. I could be tutoring other children whom I don’t teach, and apparently the going rate is 65.00 /hour (one of my nonteaching friends told me this last night)– so you might want to think about the things your child’s teacher does for your child above and beyond what is normally expected.

As my principal told us: we are not required to have morning or afternoon tutorials. Thus, if we extend our day going above and beyond, a thank you would be appreciated. And that thank you can be a simple note.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
11:16 am

@Teacher, Too …thank you for your investment in students.

Teachers do not need gifts but it is nice to be appreciated. Sometimes, those who have the least
( from outward appearances) give the most. A thank you note from a parent and a small gift or no gift at all meant a lot to me. Kind of like the Bible story of the widow and two mites.

It is refreshing to meet parents who are generous, both with their time invested into their children and with appreciation for the teacher who may spend more actual awake time with that child M-F than the parents themselves.

jarvis

December 8th, 2011
11:33 am

oneofeach4me

December 8th, 2011
11:42 am

Sybill = The Grinch

K's mom

December 8th, 2011
11:47 am

TWG, I agree with you about MJG’s post. I think for kids it is best to say a group gift is from the whole class. I think in a work environment it is best to only put names on the cards who contribute. I have been stiffed in the past too. There are always one or two adults who love the group happy hour early and leave you with the bill or pormise to pay up for the boss’s gift. But, MJG I totally get what you are saying!

K's mom

December 8th, 2011
11:48 am

that should say love to leave the group happy hour…sorry

oneofeach4me

December 8th, 2011
11:49 am

I always give the kids’ teachers something. This is the first year that I have both kids in elementary school, so it’s a little different than past years. Before I always got my son’s daycare providers $5.00 Starbucks cards and would get the main teacher one of those $10.00 Oil of Olay bath sets that Walmart sells around X-Mas. Then, for my daughter’s elementary school I would always do some personal gift. Like last year my daughter’s teacher, a young guy about 3 years out of college, loved the Florida Gators (his alma mater), so we got him a nice Gator coffee cup and a set of three Gator Christmas ornaments. This year I will do the same thing, nothing huge, put something to show appreciation.

Since my kids have been in school (about 6 years), I have never been solicited to contribute to a group gift and no one has ever brought it up. I guess being that we (I have been room mom plenty of years) always ask for contributions for the kid’s Holiday Party, we don’t want to push it too much. If each person can give, then that’s great. If not, no one feels pressured to do so.

Valstake

December 8th, 2011
12:20 pm

Personally, I have to agree with Sybill; everyone does have their hand out during the holiday season. I don’t mind giving a few bucks to the Salvation Army periodically, but I don’t have the funds to support all the charitable organization soliciting contributions that this time of the year. I have no clue if my mother give the nuns at St. James Catholic School anything, but I doubt it.

Augusta

December 8th, 2011
12:29 pm

I’ve often toyed with the idea of taking a nice vacation at Christmas…….the kids are into it, but we never seem to get around to it….Maybe I’ll make noise in 2012 for a Christmas Cruise….or at least a family vacation.

Lucy

December 8th, 2011
12:29 pm

Do people actually go to places like Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel, and Olive Garden? This is Atlanta..there are so many better restaurants out there! Don’t give someone a gift like that.

i LOVE...

December 8th, 2011
12:36 pm

@jarvis

that is GREAT!!! hahahahahaha!
but seriously…would it be newsworthy if they were anything but teachers? this profession is the best! i love living under a microscope. :)

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
12:56 pm

@ Lucy…yes they do…I pass these restaurants at least once a week and they are typically crowded. A $15 gift card would be more effective at one of them, than other places where the entrees are $25 and up per person. I like lunch at Red Lobster or Olive Garden…soup and salad and $15 would just about cover 2 people. I love breakfast at Cracker Barrel and $15 should do that too!

I remember getting a $50 gift card to the Buckhead Life group, about 15 years ago. Hubby was all excited! Of course, we had to chip in another $25 to cover everything and then there was the 40 minute drive ITP.

We traveled in his nice King Cab truck and were treated like country bumpkins. Some folks in Buckhead do not realize that other Americans drive trucks. I guess Mark Richt does too…I have seen the Ford commercial!

A

December 8th, 2011
1:11 pm

I prefer the group gift for teachers but do agree with other posters who said everyone seems to have their hand out this time of year. Most of us in the private sector don’t get Christmas bonuses, yet we’re expected to give everyone who “does” stuff for us during the year something. It sounds like the post the other day about housekeepers and yard guys asking for loans.

If I see my hair stylist in December, I will give more tip than usual so that it’s obvious it’s meant as a holiday gift. We do teacher’s gifts and even do a $10 Publix or Target gift card for the bus driver (she does more service than most in safely transporting kids to and from school every day), but beyond that it can quickly get out of hand.

jarvis

December 8th, 2011
1:18 pm

@iLOVE, I think if they were any kind of government worker in a position of importance….police, firemen, teacher, city council it would have made the news….after all they were doing the nasty in a stadium bathroom.

jmb

December 8th, 2011
1:24 pm

MJG – My husband is driving me nuts about getting the King Ranch crew crab right now. Wanna swap a 67 camaro for it lol?

jarvis

December 8th, 2011
1:29 pm

@jmb, it is not even acceptable to joke about that.

benita wheeler

December 8th, 2011
1:52 pm

i like to create a moment. so generally, large gift for the kids. then stocking stuffers for the adults and teenagers.
instead of just gift, i want to create a lasting memory through great activties and food. These are the things that last forever. party in the box is a great thing to do for somone with kids for xmas.

Augusta

December 8th, 2011
1:52 pm

jmb – I’ll take that Camero…..by any chance is it an “SS”????? That is my second favorite car, second only to a ‘65 Mustang. I dated a guy in high school who drove a 67 Camero SS. Man I loved that car…..

Occupy Momania

December 8th, 2011
1:59 pm

Just how awesome is MJG?

Using the word "flotsam"

December 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

What is a crew crab?

A

December 8th, 2011
2:06 pm

What is a King Cab for that matter?

Augusta

December 8th, 2011
2:12 pm

Crew cab – extended interior – very small back seat.

King Cab – Four door truck, with ample seating in the back seat.

Becky

December 8th, 2011
2:29 pm

My two take in individual gifts for the teacher and a gift from both of them to the principal, asst. principal and the receptionist..At their school last year, they took small gifts to all of the lunchroom ladies..This year, they are at a new school and they both have the same teacher..So, guess it will be one gift for her and maybe one to the asst. principal..

@Sybill..My two give gifts to their teacher because they like her..I understand that she is doing HER job, but don’t you think it’s nice sometimes just to give a small token of your appreciation? The owner of the company where I work is Jewish..BUT every year during December, he brings me an extra check and says Merry Christmas..He has done that for the last 25 years..So go on vacation and learn to lighten up some..Just because there are a lot of groups or people asking for things during the holiday season, no one is making you give to all of them or for that matter any of them…

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2011
2:39 pm

Off topic, can anyone recommend a fun restaurant near the Marietta Square? I love Marietta Diner but we have tickets to a play and I do not think they take reservations. Thanks, in advance!