To send these cards during the summer hols?(181 Posts)
I'm a secondary school teacher, and as you will know, the end of year gifts tend to tail off to almost nothing as children move to high school (I don't actually believe in teacher gifts as I see it as doing the job I'm paid to do and absolutely adore, but that's a whole other thread).
This year though, I was given presents from three students. They caught me in the corridor and gave me the gifts in pretty gift bags with a card inside. As it was the last day and I was rushing to lessons, assemblies etc I thanked them profusely of course but didn't open the bags there and then. When I opened them later, they have gone to huge effort, buying personalised gifts and have all written such lovely things in their cards about how they have enjoyed my lessons this year and learned so much etc etc.
So...I'd like to send them a thank you card. I've bought a pack of small cards and am thinking of sending them to their home address which I can easily get from the school system. I'm not going to be teaching them in September unfortunately and in any case feel it's too long to wait to say thank you. I'd like to send a card each, thanking them for their gift, telling them it was a delight to teach them (it genuinely was-fantastic students with lovely bubbly personalities, amazing senses of humour and such a desire to learn) and wishing them a lovely holiday.
Something's holding me back though and I don't quite know why. I've had the cards a week and still not sent them. Is this a nice thing to do like I think it is or is sending them to their home address a bit ott?
Sounds like such a nice idea, I don't see any problem with it.
Would you be allowed to use the school's system for that purpose? Can't you only use data stored for the purpose it is intended for under the DPA?
If you have the authority to use the data base for this then I don't see a problem. It's a lovely idea.
I absolutely wouldn't. I don't think that's an appropriate use of ypur access to the school system and feels like it crosses a professional line to me. It can wait til September. You have already thanked them verbally.
Could you address them to the parents and ask them to pass them on?
No way!!! You should not be using their data in this way. Wait until September.
I can't see anything wrong with it. My childrens primary teacher often sent thank you cards over the holidays.
Last year my ds got a good luck card from a teacher for something he was doing over the hols and the teacher forgot to wish him luck before school ended.
I thought oh that's nice not strange at all.
I think it's bit ott. Their gift was a thank you,you don't need to thank them again. I do think it's a bit weird to send them private post using their addresses, that you have got off the school system too. I think you should just wait and see them in sept and thank them again then. You had the school report etc as a chance to tell them how great they are as students. Don't send this!
And a thank you for a thank you is a little odd! I would find them and verbally thank them.
Are there any admin officers in school that you could give the stamped cards to and ask them to address and post on your behalf?
I agree, its a kind thought, but looking up where they live could seem a bit stalkery?
You would be misusing the children's personal data for personal use, if the parents contacted the school and complained you'd have no leg to stand on!
How depressing. Of course it's not stalkerish
Its not stalkerish, but it might be a breech of DPA rules and if one of the parents is like leeloo and complained, you might be in hot water.
How sad! I am sure we have had thank you cards during the holidays.
But I suppose you should take heed of the warnings.
One of my daughter's teachers did such a thing. I thought it was charming, and my daughter was delighted.
My job requires me to hold names and addresses gir a particular purpose. I'm pretty sure you'd be breaching the Data Protection Act if you obtain the children's addresses in this way.
I always thank children for their gifts and often send thank you cards.
It wouldn't be an abuse of the database system in my experience. Teaching staff often send mail to parents.
I always do it every Summer (I'm a teacher). The children love receiving the thank yous in the post.
Ok so now I know why I was holding back. Thank you...I absolutely agree it's depressing and does make me feel sad. I know these girls well having taught them for 2 years and know they will be wondering what I thought of the gift and would be delighted like pippi's daughter to receive a card. I know the families too, having taught older siblings and am certain they would take it in the way it's meant, as an acknowledgement of something kind their daughters did and as a positive example to them of good manners and how to behave when you receive a gift.
These comments about it being 'odd' and 'stalkersish' however are what I really hoped not to hear but worried I just might.
How sad that times have changed so much that I can't do this (dpa, using system for 'personal use'). So sad...but I won't do it.
I was with a group of parents recently discussing how a primary teacher had sent letters halfway through the summer to her new class saying how excited she was to be teaching them etc. We all though it was lovely and definitely not stalker ish! However, I guess if you would actually be breaking the DPA you'd probably (sadly) better not.
Dd got a thank you letter for her thank you present, she was absolutely delighted! Wasn't posted though, teacher had somehow managed to write them during the last day of school.
It is a nice thing to do and I'm sure the children will be thrilled to receive a card and know that you appreciated their gift. I agree with somebody upthread about writing the cards out and giving them to school admin to address and post just tim prevent any unlikely comeback.
My sons teacher gave him a thank you note for his end of term gift and I thought it was lovely and he was pleased that she liked his gift.
DD received a thank you in the Christmas holidays in the post for the gift she gave her. I was surprised seeing as she would be seeing her in January so I would definitely say send a card now. Lovely and is good manners.
My son received a piece of paper in his book bag saying thank you for the gift with mistakes crossed out .
I wonder if it is relevant my DD's teacher was a woman in her 50's and my son's a man in his 20's.
The only thing to think about is are you okay to take the address from the school data base.
It isn't odd or stalkerish, why would it be?
Surely you don't feel that the children are odd or stalkerish for buying you the gifts and taking the time and effort to buy something nice. So why would it be stalkerish to take the time and effort to write a thank you note?
For those who find it odd or stalkerish; do you not encourage your children to send thank you notes when they receive gifts?
Well this is thoroughly depressing.
If my DD received a note after she had sent a gift to a teacher she clearly liked and valued, I would think it was lovely.
Life is fucking miserable sometimes.
Don't see the problem, why should you not thank them for nice "thank you gifts" - Email their parents through the system as you would have done while the children were there and ask for postal address and explain why.
Just like Pagwatch, this makes me INCREDIBLY . I would love for my DD to receive a card like that.
The World has gone mad.
Sadly I think it might be better if you didn't. If there are school admin staff in who could address the envelopes it mightbe possible as others said. Otherwise it will have to wait until September.
You just can't afford to overstep any kind of boundary and I can see why you were hesitant.
I know these girls well having taught them for 2 years and know they will be wondering what I thought of the gift
They won't. You already thanked them. And even if they are they can wait til September.
My kid's teacher wrote thank yous for the gifts she received and sent them home with the kids on the first day of new term in Sept.
I was very touched she had spent time over her summer writing thank yous, and wasn't expecting it.
In your case I think the kids would really like the thank you cards. But send them out through school on first day back.
If they have moved on schools, I don't see why you shouldn't ask school to address and send them (you put stamps on obviously) that way you haven't accessed the system.
I am sad that some think it is stalkerish. Thank yous for gifts are quite normal.
I think it's a lovely idea. Can you drop a quick message to the head teacher to let them know what you want to do so they are aware?
As a student if I had received such a card I would have been delighted (as would my parents) if my child received one I would also think that was really kind - certainly not stalkerish!!
However if your worried about use of data (and maybe you're right to be) can you not ask the school? If they say it's ok you'll be fine, or they may suggest they send them on your behalf so you're not even accessing the data.
Well, I wouldn't be happy if you used the school database to get my address. I don't give my address out for specific reasons, my children's school doesn't do class phone/ address lists etc.
You have thanked them, if you want to do it again, why not get them good luck cards for September, give them to them in school & say how much you enjoyed teaching them.
I would ask the Head if this is okay.
What Pag and KEGirl said.
What a shame we are even having the discussion . Since we even are though, sadly I suppose things have 'come to this' so I guess you'd best not, although I'm sure I don't know anyone who wouldn't be thrilled with a card like that and you sound a lovely teacher.
What a world.
DS1 has had a lovely note from all his teachers since P1, so 4 years now.
They have all arrived in the post during the first week or so of the holidays, apart from his note from the teacher who has just finished teaching him this year.
Last year's teacher zipped round on his bike and hand delivered the notes to all the children. I was really touched that he had done this - there were loads of kids in the class!
Odd and stalkerish would not even cross my mind!
I have remembered another one. My child received a generic slip of paper with typed thank you for the gift. I wasn't impressed with that. A thank you is pointless if it isn't heartfelt. The teacher was leaving that day anyway but I felt it was presumptuous to think she would get a gift and she could have written a nicer note.
OP I think you should send the cards. Speak to the head to make sure you wouldn't be in trouble but I think the joy the children will get, and the manners used, far out way any miniscule chance that the parents will think you are a stalker .
MN never ceases to amaze me as being such an odd place! It is a lovely idea. Some of my children got thank you cards from the teacher for their end of term presents and it was lovely. It is very difficult to get children to write thank you letters if somehow adults and teachers don't need to bother!
I would go ahead, much better than singling them out next term.
I am sure that they and their parents would be delighted and wouldn't think you had turned into a stalker!
If you think they are as strange as some people on here you could always take wigornian's suggestion.
I totally understand both sides to this.
On the one hand, I once received a letter from a Primary School teacher during the holidays (I was leaving the school to go to a new Primary in the final year and she didn't have a chance to say goodbye in the way she wanted). I treasure that card. It's beautifully written, heartfelt and encouraging.
But I understand what is holding you back, and it is sad.
Maybe asking the Head is the best way to go. It's what I would do
I think it is about professional boundaries. As a teacher I wouldn't be very happy if I gave out an end of term gift to my class and some of them sent me a thank you card to my home address. I pnce had a dad turn up at my house looking for his daughter's coat because she had left it on a school trip. I think school matters should be kept to school, and keep people's personal details out of it. I wouldn't send my dr or dentist a thank you to their home address. It feels to me like crossing a line, using home addresses.
My dd school uses a franking machine which prints the logo and name so a thank you via that would be welcomed and treasured but I would feel a bit odd if one came just stamped because it would feel like it was too personal. I am slightly cautious though as we did have a couple of issues last year due to inappropriate contact from someone.
I don't agree at all.
A parent who turns up uninvited at a teachers house has crossed professional boundaries.
A teacher sending a kind note to a child's home is a teacher sending a kind note.
My DD carefully selected two specific gifts for two specific teachers this year. When she handed the presents over the teachers didn't open them immediately. One of the teachers phoned her on our home phone mpnumber to thank her and she nearly burst with happiness.
It's just ordinary human kindness. The defensive 'professional boundaries/data protection' stuff may well be necessary - I completely get that teachers may justifiably feel the need to protect themselves and I totally agree with how they chose to do that - but it sure as hell is depressing.
The sad thing is that the world is such that you have to ask. Maybe try the email first and see what the parents say. I think of MN as being a parallel universe but you can't be sure.
How sad has life become?
There are some sad fuckers around, for anyone to see this as anything other than a polite, lovely gesture.
My DD's were thrilled to receive anything in the post.
My eldest DD saw her primary school teacher in Morrisons the other day and was overjoyed. She last saw her 18 years ago!
some people need to get a life.
I don't expect anything from the teachers when we give our presents at the end of term. I realise that they must get loads (and going by a previous thread) don't want half of the stuff they're given, but I do it anyway, more for the dcs sake.
However, one year we received a thank you card from my sons teaching assistant, in the holidays, who must have done just as you're suggesting OP, and it was absolutely lovely. I think those girls who went to so much trouble for your gifts would appreciate it too.
This site is like a sodding parallel universe sometimes.
We always got thank you cards by post in the holidays when my dds were in primary. I think its fine and sets a good example of manners and courtesy. Maybe you could give them to the school and they could address and post them?
I found a postcard the other day, posted to me from my first ever teacher after she moved to The Channel Islands. She said her new pupils weren't as clever as me! 40 years ago.
Parent turning up at a teacher's house - weird, and slightly worrying. How would they know where you live, for one thing?
Teacher sending a card - lovely. I can't say I would find a child's teacher being able to get access to her address as worrying. And would it really occur to anyone that they couldn't? (Whether they use them or not.)
Not being able to tell the difference in appropriateness between the two? Mind-boggling.
Although it's a a lovely gesture, it really isn't right that someone can access personal data for personal use, if that is the case what's the point in having the DPA at all.
I really do think it's overstepping a professional boundary, you can say the "worlds gone mad" etc.... But the fact still remains that you're accessing a child's file.
So you've accessed a child's file, for a simple gesture, someone else wants do to the same thing, so why not allow that person and the next, however so does someone else but it's been disallowed, but why not them and you? All for simple gestures....
This is indeed very sad.
Teachers at our school always post thank you letters and it's lovely - kids now hardly get any of their own post, and it makes them really excited. It also shows them that I'm not the only one in the world who thinks thank you letters matter .
Mind you, I'm always agog at the parallel universe thing that often goes on here on MN when thank you letters are discussed. Have seen many a one where the OP is an entitled bitch for expecting thanks for something .
Simple gestures are what being human is all about. Teaching a child kindness and acknowledging their thoughtfulness, recognising a connection with another person and valuing that..
All more important than 'well if one person does it, where will it end'
It makes a kind act between a pupil and teacher sound like parking regulations.
This is a secondary school - not a primary school, the kids do not have just one teacher - should 26 teachers all have access to my kids' home address - and the TAs and the head and deputy heads, and the heads of year, how about the prefects, the dinner ladies, the caretaker. My dd was polite to the builders and handed over a hammer she found in the canteen - should they get her address and write to her to thank her for saving them £30.
I would see it as crossing a professional line. If people want you to contact them by post personally, they would make sure you personally had their address.
I would not have thought anyone at the school has the right to look up the school's database for the purposes of sending personal post to a child.
I would wait until Sept and send it through the school - you obviously have doubts over whether it is "right" anyhow.
I think it's nice to receive a thank you note. However I would send them to their registration class to be handed out or hand in the class you teach them in if you are still teaching this year.
What bad thing do you think might happen if a teacher has the home address of a teenager and sends them a letter to thank them for something?
Actually, I've changed my mind - OP shouldn't send the notes as one of you might be the parent of the pupil it goes to, and all hell will break loose for the poor sod.
I would love to be able to do this for my class (primary teacher here) but I have never done it as I was too nervous to send mail home as I think it is a breach of data protection rules. Personally, I think it is a lovely idea, but professionally, I wouldn't take the chance.
Is there someone you could check with that it's ok - school or LEA policy?
Part of the transition process at DD's school is that halfway through the summer hols the kids all get a letter through the post from their new teacher, which is really lovely.
Based on that & the fact you know the families well I don't think it's strange to want to do what you're suggesting, but I would definitely run it by someone first.
I wouldn't, which is a pity as you have all the best intentions. I would be immensely chuffed with myself if I was a great teacher like you! Its hard in that field with all the bureaucracy.
It isn't weird or stalkerish... It's polite.
I'm not sure it's a data protection issue, I get all kinds of crap in the post that I never signed up for. This is a thank you card for a gift.
The school hold the child's address for communication purposes, this is communication.
It is a modern day problem. A teacher could just be polite in the past without a thought. Now everyone is isolated in their own compartment and normal friendly overtures are looked on with mistrust - sad, sad,sad.
Personally I would avoid sending personal correspondence to students during the school holidays. Email your DCPO and see what they think?
my dd was really pleased to get a Thank you card through the post from her school teacher this summer holiday - she is at primary school
As a safeguarding governor at a school I don't think sending a thank you card is odd at all. If you were going to a student's house or meeting in the holidays that would be a cause for concern. It is sad that paranoia is stopping normal, polite contact.
I would check with the head of the school first then I would send them.
How strange some of these responses are! Sending a thank you card is inappropriate! Crikey! I sent my Dr a gift when she was very ill. She sent me a lovely thank you letter, I hardly felt stalked!
I always send my thank you letters over the holidays to the children that I teach. Granted I work in a small rural school and know many of the families. I know the children get excited about the surprise of receiving a letter in the holidays. I always address it to them but on the card or letter put "Dear Freddie and family".
Another sad sign of the times is that you can't just make a decision you have to get someone higher up to do it. Unfortunately this makes sense, but the person higher up is likely to play safe and so you no longer get the spontaneous, positive human interaction that makes life worthwhile. It is killed by the suspicious people who immediately look for an ulterior motive.
This has to be the most ludicrous thing I've read here.
Contact the head? Think they have more important things to deal with than give a teacher permission to send a thank you card.
If a child has gone to the trouble of getting a secondary school teacher a thoughtful gift, I think it's hardly likely their parents will complain about a thank you card.
Perspective, people, come on.
Can't you write the cards, put them in envelopes with the child's name on them and a stamp and ask the school to address them for you? Would that get around the DPA issue? I know we've done similar with get well cards for colleagues (by asking HR to address and post)
Fuck the DPA! And I don't usually swear on MN. Such utter rubbish spouted on here as if the parents are going to contact head, governors, LEA, MP, PM about a thank you card. You sound lovely kids sound lovely, just do it.
Are you near to your school, is it easy to get to without making a huge special journey? I would want to send something but would also feel uneasy, so would prob pop in at some point, finish up my classroom tidying etc and leave the letters/cards in the school mail so it comes from an 'official' source so to speak. I would also be unable to tap into the data system from home to get their addresses anyway as our network isn't set up for that.
Exactly Tricky, think this through. There is the tiniest chance that their parent will complain (they wont!) what would they say "this teacher sent my child a thank you card for their present.....they also sent a thank you card to 2 other students".....oh, right......what's the problem with that then?!
I think a card saying thank you for their thoughtful gift would be fine. I wouldn't out the bit about them being a delight to teach. That bit seems a bit ott.
I don't think anything bad would happen, but just because you can do something (look up the home addresses of children you teach for a few hours a week) does not mean you should. Send a card via the office.
The cards my kids received from their primary teacher were different, just a quick note to say thank you - nothing about the child personally - kept the relationship on a professional footing. They were also postcards - not "private" correspondence.
On reflection, after reading all the nonsense, I would go ahead and just send them. What is the worst that can happen? Can you imagine the headlines if a teacher gets the sack, or reprimanded, for sending a thank you letter in the holidays!
Teacher gets nice, thoughtful thank you present direct from the pupil- teacher is very touched by the gesture and posts off a little note to their home address- how can people possibly complain? If they were lovely enough to do it then the odds are they have lovely parents!
Ignore the killjoys on here who see the worst of everything and everyone. Most of the world is not like them- thankfully.
Utterly pointless sending that sort JustAShopGirl- probably wrote the same to everyone- waste of paper, time and effort!
I don't think anyone has a issue with sending the card... It's about accessing the child's file.
Personally I don't have a issue with it, but say a parent did take this further what leg does the OP stand on.
Are you exempt from the IOC, if not, are you
Registered with the IOC
(IOC - information commissioners office - it's comes under the DPA of whose allowed to have access to files)
It's a legal minefield and not just a innocent simple gusture be excusable in breaking the law in accessing files for personal use.
Shockingly as it is, it is the way the world is, especially when children are involved.
I have a slightly different perspective, working at a university which I know is a bit different. I would only use the files held on a student in really exceptional circumstances- so if they were having mental health problems and I needed to contact a next of kin urgently. For everything else, we have to ask them permission to use the data.
I disagree that this is a bad thing and stops these lovely spontaneous reactions. I have found, over the years, that my job is much better run with really clear parameters between students and myself. I am sympathetic, nice and helpful, get lovely letters and cards and emails from students- but that interaction is kept within uni emails, term time and office hours.
Lots of things can end up encroaching on boundaries- so in some cultures, giving gifts is the normal way to approach a teacher- fine for a tiny gift, not so fine if you have bigger gifts given, especially where there's an ongoing interaction or you are marking their work. I have had to discourage these students from giving extravagant gifts and would no way be allowed to receive the amount of vouchers that are talked about on MN- I can't get £200 from a group of students whose work I'm marking next year! I think this is not the case at primary, but by secondary with course-work, there can be issues.
As for sending cards, there was a case in the paper just the other day of a middle-aged lady teacher who sent a teenage boy several cards/letters saying what a wonderful pupil he was, unfortunately she had a crush on him and she then texted the same. She is now not allowed to teach. What if this were a male teacher sending a nice card to a female pupil's house over the summer to say what an amazing student she was. Why blur the lines even slightly? I have male students who I know get a little crush on their teacher (yes, even on middle-aged ladies like me) I deliberately never do anything to blur the boundaries whatsoever and would never send them a nice thank you card in the hols, I would wait for term to restart and thank them through the usual channels (internal post, emails or whatever).
OP- you already did thank them, in person, profusely. You can also send them a little card through the internal mail at school in about four weeks time, its hardly critical you get those cards out this week.
I am not by the way suggesting that in the OP's example that there is anything but the best and most honorable intentions, that is abundantly clear- I just want to point out that going around accessing personal files at secondary level or above, and sending things to home addresses/gifts exchanged can be misunderstood and that I personally address this by keeping everything really clearly demarcated between home and work.
Sending a thank you card for a thank you present makes no sense.
No, I would complain if a teacher remotely or otherwise accessed a work database to obtain my address, my children live with me. It's my address and as I said for personal and safety reasons I don't give out my address a lot.
I'd also be very surprised if a governor in a safe guarding role in a school couldn't maybe see a slight problem with this.
I know lots of people who have access to home addresses - GPs, dentist, DVA staff, Police, hospital staff, library staff, tv licensing etc, I'm assuming we'd all be happy enough for them to access home addresses for personal reasons.
Teacher has already said thank you, they'll be seeing them in 4-5 weeks they really want to give them a card.
University is different- they are adults- parents get nothing.
I give up- just think it is terribly sad that you even have to ask the question. Obviously you do- judging by the paranoid responses.
I'm with Delphiniumsblue.
MN is a constant education to me. I really never knew people thought like this.
I have just remembered
This year the class teacher had some 'well done' postcards. They said to the class they would choose kids who had behaved really well and send them to their parents. So one day I suddenly got a postcard from dds teacher saying how well she had done at something.
It was lovely and dd was chuffed to bits.
But then at our school most of us live within walking distance and we all know each others' houses. Our house backs on to the school field, so the whole school knows our address
Primary teacher here.
On the last day of term our clerical assistant gives us a print off of the addresses of the kids in our class. The only time I haven't sent thank you notes out in the hols is when I' ve been too lazy/busy to get round to it, then it's a last minute dash to get them done before the 1st day of term.
Never read such a load of crap on mn for a while!
I find MN very addictive because it is such an eye opener. I go through my normal life without realising that people have such odd views!
Btw I do this for Xmas pressies too, clearly I am about to lose my job and I didn't even know it
You can't have been around much Laura- there is lots of crap around as people have time to waste in the holidays!!
I think the people who work with children and have to deal with red tape and the DPA, think like this...
We don't live in a world where all is fine, their is risks to be seen where no perceivable risk should be, and even risks have limitations and laws, hence why we have the DPA, safeguarding procedures and policies etc...
Shockingly shocking but sadly the world we now find ourselves in.
I can't believe people would actually complain about this. It's bloody depressing. A bit like the people talking to my kids on a barge holiday thread.
The data protection act is a very misunderstood act. She is sending a form of communication to the child and parents... There can't be any breach of the dpa in that surely?!
I'm sure the OP won't do it now based on some of these replies. But it's bloody depressing!
Postcards are different - they are "public" usually sent via the school office, not private correspondence between an adult and your child, where the adult has had to look up your child's home address in a protected database in order to send them something personal.
Everyone may have the sweetest of intentions, but looking stuff up in a protected database to send personal stuff is not professional, and is not maintaining that distance which is advised by the LEA/union etc for the protection of BOTH sides.
Having said that... Hhmmmm would you expect the office to issue all children their teacher's home address so they can write thank you to the teacher. Hhmmmm.
Go through the office, let them address it maybe?
This is not primary. These teens are becoming adults, it's all a darn sight more complicated than 8 year olds giving their teacher a home-made cake or whatever and getting a hug in return. It's like hugging- fine in primary, totally inappropriate in secondary.
We use home addresses all the time to send postcards home for good work. And to get their phone numbers to contact parents. We are strongly encouraged to do so.
All teachers have access to all the contact details of all the students on the school. I do get the difference between personal and work related contact. but I can't see the difference between sending a card via the school mail and from home really.
Of course there is, the communication isn't school related nor based on a professional capacity, she hasn't accessed the files (if she can, I'm still unsure if she's excempt from the IOC (administration staff at the school are, but not sure if the teachers them self are, if she isn't exempt she needs to be registered with the IOC) tondo with anything work based, it's for personal use.
That is the issue, accessing a child file, outside working and school times to send a simple card. If a parent did complain to the school and the DPA, I honestly don't think the teacher would have a leg to stand on....
She has accessed a child's file for personal use, and outside a professional setting.
I'd love for someone who works directly for the DPA to clarity this, from my understanding (more than 15 years as a ex SW, this would be breathing protocols and the act) .
What is the worst that can happen? A slap in the wrist and 'don't do it again'.
I look up and address the postcards myself. The office would not appreciate having to do it for every student who gets a good work postcard.
In future if my dds give a teacher a present (less likely now they are at secondary) I will get them to include a proper letter, with their address on it so that the teacher can use it to send back a thank-you (if they want). I can understand that some people need to protect their address but I am from an era when you could look most people up in the phone book if you wanted to find them, so it feels odd that so many people feel their address is something to be closely guarded.
People actually want to live in such a climate of fear that you can't make a spontaneous, friendly gesture? -
Look up the addresses on the Internet- easy enough if the data base bothers you.
Our school heads send 'thank you' notes for gifts to home addresses. A lovely handwritten note is a nice thing to send to a child (teaches manners too!).
DD's y6 teacher sent thank you cards to pupils' home addresses last summer. It was a lovely thing to do and it didn't cross my mind to feel it was an inappropriate use of data.
I get the difference. I do. I wouldn't do it myself, for reasons clearly demonstrated by the reactions on the thread. But just wanted to make the point that home addresses are readily accessible, and accessed, by teachers.
The thing to remember is that the pupils you want to send them to have most likely not got the suspicious parents or they would never have given the presents! They would have had a lifetime of the parent saying 'why give a present for doing their job?' And if they give a present the parent has generally picked it, without reference to the child who knows the teacher. They probably don't get that the teacher likes the homemade card with personal message and 'in' class jokes, better than anything.
I wouldn't worry.
Home addresses are readily accessible by anyone- something you realise if you do family history as a hobby.
I don't see the issue as a data protection one really- surely it's about sending a personal note out of school-time, in an envelope addressed to the child. Cute at primary level, not so cute from a male teacher to my 13 year old dd in the hols. Postcards are visible to everyone and addressed presumably to the parents, not the child.
I had exactly this experience, an older man in a professional setting sending me a lovely card with lots of compliments and urging me to keep in touch when I was in my teens. I knew exactly what it meant.
The OP has the absolute best of intentions, but not all teachers do and young teens/adults. I think it makes it easier for the teachers and for the students if they have a close working relationship in school-hours so there's no room for misunderstanding. This doesn't preclude a warm friendly interaction at all.
Actually more.... She's broken the law by misusing DPA files.
She could face a fine up to £5000 in a magistrates court and up to £500,000 in a high court if a judge deems it , custodial sentence, criminal record, all of which can make her lose her job....
If I remember rightly a estate agent just missed a custodial sentence for not regathering with the IOC and was finned hundreds of pounds because of it. The IOC take misuse of the acts serially and supports custodial sentences
My DS gets a thank you card from one teacher he's had twice and it's lovely.
I think some schools just have very different policies. Our school for example insists all communications go via the school system so a teacher contacting a pupil without it going via the office would be a big no no. Some others have a policy of the teachers sending anything themselves. The fact that the op is querying this suggests that her school probably does everything through the office. I will add our school office is open all through the holiday so a teacher can drop anything off for posting at any time.
My niece aged 13 in high school would adore this.
Dd's year 3 teacher did this, we thought it was so lovely that she wrote a personal thank you note. Never occurred me it was a breach of anything, it's just a nice thing to do.
Good grief! I retract OP- don't send them. Common sense has gone out of the window- in view of this thread don't. The paranoid always win- no one dare risk normal human interaction. I dare say people would also have reasons why you can't even give them a note when back at school!
DS teacher sent thank you cards during the holidays & also also sends birthday card if a pupils birthday falls during a holiday.
No problem with that here, I think it's lovely.
Why is this a personal not professional issue?
In her role as teacher, she is thanking a child who gave her a gift as their teacher? How is that not within her role? Are teachers not allowed basic manners?
I honestly don't see the issue, but how many thread do we see on here saying the teacher has done this etc....
Their was one the other day where a teacher showed the boys the loos because they were not urinating in the urinal/loo and basically done a vocal and and sight teaching lesson (basically showed them the pee on the floor in groups) but the parent deemed it a private act, hence the showing of the pee on the floor was unacceptable, and breached her sons privacy...
DDs geography teacher took a years sabbatical just before the gcses. DD received a lovely, heartfelt card from her in the post, she was delighted and I was very moved by the fact that the teacher took the time to do it.
The fact that she would have probably taken the address home with her never crossed my mind. Now that it has it doesn't change my view. But then again Im sensible
This thread is bizarre.
In an era where people splash every tiny little bit of their lives on social media, over the internet for anybody and their aunty to access, people are getting their paranoid knickers in a twist about a teacher sending one of their pupils a fucking thank you card.
I look forward to the day when all schoolkids are assigned a number at school instead of using their names and are completely anonymous in every way.
As are the ones who want to protect their careers coco, it's a sad state of affairs, but needs must to protect them within the laws, acts guidelines and procedures that are their to benefit and protect both parties.
I feel so sorry for teachers
In my work I have access to all the addresses of every person in the county within a certain age range. I often send letters of congratulations to people I've worked with for their progress/achievements.
I thought I was being nice, did not think for a second anyone would think I was stalkerish. And I'm a 34 year old woman and these might be 16/17 year old boys!
It is sad that sending a simple thank-you is such a minefield.
I had a lovely teacher for yrs R to 2, many years ago. She left the school when I finished yr2. A few years later when I got a full scholarship to a London private school (a very big deal for my parents as they were on the dole and had left school at 14 themeselves with no qualifications), she sent me a congrats letter to say how pleased she was that I'd continued to do well. I've no idea how she heard or how she had my address but I was very touched by it. Neither I nor my parents regarded it as sinister.
Having said that, my parents always read any post I got as a child. I can't remember what age they stopped doing that.
Do it, its a lovely idea. We have had Thankyou cards sent to our home from teachers before and dcs were really pleased.
Good lord I'm guilty of this. I always write to my pupils to thank them for gifts and their parents often tell me how thrilled they were to receive my mail. This is so sad, I'm now reconsidering whether I should do this, we are a prep school so have 8 weeks for summer hols, the parents are hugely generous (gifts often cost between £30 - £40) not thanking them for 8 weeks seems rude.
Particularly when the school data base is set up in a way that every time I look up a parents phone no, which I do regularly I also see their address, it's not like I don't know where they live.
Op - you obviously know their names and rough area they live in. Look them up in the phone book (on-line), then you will not be subjected to such pathetic nonsense.
I understand about DPA, but ffs.... How many outraged parents hand out their address willy nilly for grocery deliveries, raffle draws etc?
It is a lovely idea and one which should be appreciated
Sad world we live in when every adult that comes into contact with our children is regarded with suspicion.
In your shoes I really wouldn't OP, if a card from you came to my house from one of DS's high school teachers it would he thought of as a lovely thing to do but you really need to keep yourself safe in this climate.
How bloody sad that this is considered a breach of data privacy. I would be delighted for my children to receive such a note, as would they.
wigglesrock and others
You do realise that teaching staff have access to your address and contact details whenever they want don't you? Or they certainly do at every school I have taught at!
If I asked my HT for an address of a child to send a personal letter, like a thank you letter, I would be allowed - no problems whatsoever. In reality I wouldn't even need to ask - there are paper files with all contact details in the office for all teaching and admin staff to access and use.
I doubt very much that even "in this day and age" a teacher would be disciplined or worse for sending a thank you card to 3 pupils.
"Last year's teacher zipped round on his bike and hand delivered the notes to all the children. I was really touched that he had done this - there were loads of kids in the class!"
I now have a huge crush on this teacher mawbroon mentioned. In my mind's eye, he's kind, and funny, ever so slightly tousled. A little bit nerdy in public, passionate in private. Don't run my daydream, mawbroon; I'm a little bit in love!
I get the DPA issues, but I think it's tremendously sad. I treasure a note I received, over 20 years ago (sob) from a much respected and like teacher.
I'm not sure it is a breach of data protection though.
It is within normal duties at a school to have access to pupils files including their contact details.
The gift was received from a pupil - it is directly related to work reasons. The OP didn't receive a random gift; it was linked entirely to her job/work.
Therefore the response, the thank you letter, is also linked directly to their work.
Personal misuse would be very different imo.
Hulababy in my school only the administration staff are allowed (they are exempt from the IOC register) everything has to go through the office. Hence why I asked if teachers were exempt from it ?
Thanks again all of you for the sensible responses. Just to clarify, every member of teaching staff has access to every student's contact details and can access them from home as well as at school. As I said earlier, I'm very sad about it but I won't be taking the risk that any parents feel the same way as the minority on here.
This is ludicrous. My DTDs received (separate - hoorah for their lovely teacher) cards from their teacher last summer, posted to our home address and they were thrilled. I was very grateful that the teacher had taken time to write them.
I teach secondary. I have access to home addresses and phone numbers and am expected to write/call home fairly frequently for any number of reasons. I sometimes do this out of "office" hours to avoid the inevitable answer phone tennis if parents are at work and I'm teaching when they call back.
The stalker/weirdo comments are laughable. I'm in a play this week, and two 15 yr old boys who I teach are also in it. I've driven them home after rehearsals and will be driving them home after the shows. So they're in my car, late at night, and I'm dropping them at their front doors. Does that make me unprofessional?
Very odd views on here. In secondary schools, we have access to students phone numbers and addresses and I wouldn't bother the office staff when I need to look them up. I can assess them from home but generally don't really need to, but what would be the difference between looking them up at work or at home.
Sending a thank you card is a lovely gesture.
Just email - I do this (parents' emails are on the system, and all kids have school email addresses) and it seems to me to be friendly but professional.
I would in fact prefer to send a handwritten card, but I don't lest parents take offence at my writing invading their personal space. Mind you, I miss the days of handwritten reports, too, as I feel they were more personal. "House style", my arse. Excuse for lazy teachers to use a bank of stock
sentences phrases, more like.
Oh, and ds (7) received a lovely postcard a week ago from last year's TA who is on her hols. He was most chuffed, as was I.
I think it is a lovely idea. As a parent I would love it if my child received such a card.
I am terribly sad that it is thought of as 'stalkerish' (really??) and a 'misuse of the system'.
Is the school still open? Could you pop the cards into the office and ask them to send them? That way you are not accessing the system as it were...
If parents have allowed their child to buy a personalised gift they are not likely to be the type of parent who is going to go weird if their child receives a thank you card in the post for said present. They are far more likely to be the type of parent who will appreciate the gesture.
I just remembered that my son has had a birthday card in the post from his teachers over the past two years (birthday falls during the holidays). He loves getting post and has been so pleased that his teacher remembered his birthday. I would say that sending a thank you note is even more relevant than a birthday card. Fortunately I am a normal (some might disagree) person and I don't go making complaints when people do nice and thoughtful things for my children.
What bloody weird kind of person would be upset that a teacher sends their child a card to thank them for a present. Bloody weirdos.
Oh fgs. Get over yourself. Send the cards
What's with the data crap? We access this data 24-7
Altkinmum - I assume they are at many schools. I know that I have always had access to pupil files inc contact details at every school I have worked at - secondary and primary. I don't even work as a teacher now - I am a TA, but as teaching staff I still have access.
It isn't stalkerish at all but as a secondary teacher too I wouldn't do it. Somehow crosses a professional line and could be frowned upon by many. If they are still at the school next year even if you're not teaching them can you get them a thank yoy note through their form teachers?
I see why you don't want to send the cards following some of these replies
It is sad though, I have received thank you cards for the children and it would not occur to me that it would be an issue
Especially as I know teachers that are working this week and so would be in school anyway
Our secondary send congratulation cards out as well (don't see too many of those!!!)
Look them up in the phone book. If the address is freely available, then there are no dpa issues.
You're not far off Cheesetoastie123 . I have no idea about the passionate in private bit though lol
He's a fab teacher and ds is delighted that he will be in his class again next year.
If you're allowed to access data already for the purpose of communicating with the parents, I can't see that this would be against the act, so long as you addressed the letter to the parents? The act forbids a) people who shouldn't access the data accessing it and b) the data being used for purposes other than that for which it was collected (which presumably in this case is to communicate with parents about their child?) Am not a lawyer though!
I think it's very sad that many people feel it crosses a line. It certainly wouldn't for me personally, though I can see that (as PP alluded) some people would have reasons for being careful about who has their address.
Funnily enough, the postman just brought a card for my daughter from her teacher. Clearly, she is worse than Pol Pot. Or, at the very least, hasn't read this thread. I will complain immediately. Or, you know, shrug and think 'that's nice'.
my dc loved receiving postcards or thank you cards in the post from teachers , sad world if people think its wrong .
Send the note - parents/child freaked out or touched
Don't send a note - parents think teacher is rude/didn't like the present, child disappointed and assumes teacher didn't like the present.
Possible outcomes. No doubt others will think of more.
Goodness me, this thread! I wouldn't blink if my kids received a thank you letter from a teacher, mainly as we've received quite a few over the years.
I also didn't mind when my 14 year old son was hugged by his female English teacher. Obviously, on MN this means she's grooming my poor darling rather than recognizing an upset boy could do with a hug. I just emailed her and thanked her.
This paranoid MN reflection on life is so sad.
I think it's a beautiful idea. We focus so much on the negatives of what people do, in general, that we forget to say thank you when people have actually been kind and thoughtful.
I have been out all day and so it was lovely to get back and find that the thread had taken a wonderful turn and the sensible majority have come to the fore! It was very depressing to go out thinking that a teacher couldn't write a simple thank you letter any more.
to those who expect normal social interaction for their DCs.
Can't you find their details in the phone book?
Even if they are ex directory they are generally easy to find on the Internet.
I'd just do it. I mean, surely no reasonable person would complain to the school about there child receiving a thank-you note? And if they're the type of people that have put lots of time and effort into choosing a gift then they're unlikely to be moany bastards.
If you have previous experience of the parents an they are not complete loons then I think you should do it. I would absolutely love it if my son got something like this off his teacher.
I'm a secondary teacher too.
I'd say give the thank you cards in September in person.
I took notecards into school on the last day of term so I could write them more or less on the spot as thank yous for any gifts then managed to find the students before the end of the day to give them. Gifts are rare in secondary but I was surprised with a few last year and at Christmas so came prepared this time.
I think it's fine to wait until September to give the thank yous. (Students block school out of their minds in the summer holiday!)
I'm primary, and I always write thankyou notes, as do my colleagues, and post them in the holidays. Had nothing but positive comments about it.
Sometimes I think I live in a parallel universe when I see some of the
crap views on here......
OP please don't let the paranoid, sad, ridiculous comments on here make the world that bit more miserable. It's a kind, sweet and HUMAN thing that you want to do. Make the gesture, just do it! Send some joy out into the universe
Even if they are ex directory they are generally easy to find on the Internet.
But there's a reason people go ex directory, ie they don't want people finding their address and contacting them!
Maybe so- I am just pointing out it is easy! We don't even know they are ex directory!
They are ex directory because they don't want to be looked up by anyone- not because they want to hide from people they know ,who want to thank them!
We have had a few thank you notes during the holidays. Dd1's teacher sent a personalised letter to each child with pictures of them throughout the year round it. It must have taken her ages. Each one was individual to each child and she put at the end 'I may not be your teacher anymore but come and see me anytime if you need to chat'.
Both DDs got cards through the post from their teachers, it's not the first time either. Primary though, if that makes any difference. They loved it and I thought it was nice too.
Thoroughly depressing. And I say thank you for a thank you gift, just as for any other gift.
Those girls would have been over the moon, OP, I bet.
Could you maybe send them a lovely email on the school email system? Not the same , I know, but something.
You sound a lovely teacher.
Send the cards dammit!
The DPA is there for many reasons. This isn't one of them.
We've had a card sent to our home address from a teacher, it was lovely and felt really special.
Definitely send them - the students will be delighted to receive them! I think the reason most teachers don't send thank you letters to the children through the post over the summer is simply the price of stamps!
My DC have had thank you letters from teachers over the holidays. by those saying it is weird and stalkery.
It's worth remembering that these people are not just some random beings , they are teaching our children every day, they've already been vetted etc. I always presumed teachers had access to pupils' addresses anyway. When ds was ill after an op his teacher called in to see how he was.
My dd (primary age though) received such a thank you card from her teacher today. She was absolutely chuffed to bits that her teacher had sent her a personal thank you.
In the "olden days" you could get anyone's address from the phone book. Lots of people ar now ex-directory, but some aren't. If you know the surname and parents' names, easy peasy!
So the DPA argument is true but still ridiculous.
Anyway, DD's teacher sent me a facebook message to say thanks for her present (primary). We is mates, we is!
It's the nice sort of gesture I would think about doing. Then I think about some of the over reactions we've had to deal with as a school to seemingly innocent and reasonable things over the years and remember that it's just not worth it.
Unfortunately, some people react like a few people have on this thread, using comments such as "misuse of data" and "stalkerish". There are some people who see malice in very action and who are hell bent on getting people into trouble. And then there are the downright paranoid.
Don't do it, the career you love
and are despised for is not worth it.
I'm getting bitter in my old age but having to be answerable to unreasonable people for 20 years will do that to a person.
My DC have received similar cards from teachers and we thought they were lovely. They were little cards with a short note it.
I think that if the pupils are lovely enough to go to all that trouble they will have lovely parents. It is highly unlikely they are going to have the suspicious, miserable types who misinterpret it and get upset about 'misuse of data'.
my dc have received thank you cards at primary school - they have also received "excellent effort" postcards from secondary - I have no issues at all with a thank you or a card from school.
A thank you in person was fine in secondary - why people feel the need to write to say thank you for a thank you present they have already thanked the giver for profusely in person is beyond me.
It smacks of over-egging the relationship...
The child has been thanked - what would another thank you be for?
I see a never ending round of "thank you for your thank you present, I know I already thanked you in person, but thought I'd thank you again on a card", "no - thank you for your lovely thank you card"..... etc....
I suppose it depends on whether you are a person who writes thank you letters and makes your child write them. I am, and so am grateful for adults setting good examples. To say that you get a never ending round is ridiculous-that is not how it works.
I do write thank you letters, when I have not seen the giver to thank them in person.
I write a thank you to thank someone - if I have thanked them already it is superfluous- and therefore not to thank them but for some other reason - duty/showmanship/whatever.
OP didn't see the giver to thank them- that is the entire point! It was when she opened them and saw how much trouble they had been to finding a personal gift that she wanted to thank them properly.
but she did thank them profusely for the gifts. she just didn't open them there and then. As far as the children were concerned they were thanked.
She was being polite- she would have thanked them profusely whatever. It was once she opened them that she wanted to make a personal thank you to say how touched she was by the gesture. Why can't she? I'm sure that most parents are not so miserable that they can't understand that.
It seems to me, JustAShopGirl, that you want to keep the teacher firmly in her place as Just a Teacher- and not allow that you can have a special teacher that your children value.
And a special present, with letters, deserves more than a 'profuse thanks' in a corridor when rushing to a lesson.
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