Expaters, did you buy your kid’s teacher a present this year? What did you give?
I scanned the web for teacher gifts and look what I found in The Independent, a major British newspaper:
‘A candle might be a bit of a teacher present cliché, but make it a luxury number with Jo Malone and you can’t go far wrong’.
Here in Chile, gift giving is a big thing. Not just for kids, but also for the teachers. Teachers, assistants and other staff at my kids’ nursery celebrate their birthdays, ‘education day’ and random ‘let’s celebrate [insert name] day. Parents supply food and presents. Just to make it very clear, gift suggestions (from other parents) included, ‘handbags, spa vouchers and beauty supplies’.
On one occasion I bailed out. I felt enough was enough. But then my kid came home crying, ‘everyone gave the teacher a big present and I didn’t have anything’. So I’m back to giving (small) gifts.
But for Christmas I’m giving charitable donations instead. I’ve purposely chosen a very well regarded children’s charity here in Chile: Coaniquem, which supports child burn victims. My kids will be making Christmas cards too.
Now, I have nothing against my kids’ teachers. They are truly lovely people and I adore them as much as my kids do. I know they love children and they understand the value of giving, so I hope they’ll understand where I’m coming from.
I’m wondering if it’s a cultural thing? Are other countries the same? Or is it just me being a Scrooge?
I’m no saint and I love shiny stuff; my nicknames include ‘princess’ and ‘magpie’ (I like shiny stuff). But Christmas is for kids. Christmas is about giving, right?
I feel we have a responsibility to shift the focus.
This year I’ve got my kids involved in three charity drives. I’ve been trying to explain to them about the gift of giving and how amazing it can feel to help. My child replied, ‘but my teacher gets lots of presents and parties… more than us’.
In the UK, a parents group, Connect, teamed up with a teaching union and Child Poverty Action Group to discourage Christmas gift buying at schools. Some British schools have taken this on board and now ban gifts for teachers. It puts unnecessary pressure on parents already under financial pressure and fosters a culture of excess, they claim.
I wholeheartedly agree. Here’s hoping my kids’ teacher do too.