DD's coming to the end of her first year in school, I'm a bit confused about what to get present wise. There is a class collection which will be split equally between the teacher and the 3 assistants. I thought this was a good idea just to all contribute what we can afford and buy one big gift for each member of staff, but it seems that most parents are contributing to that and getting a gift from their child to the teacher as well! Some aren't getting presents for the assistants, just the teacher. I am , I don't want to offend (or DD to be the only kid without a parcel for each member of staff) but I'm definitely not made of money at the moment!
Woman's hour has an item on this as I write! I get one for the teacher, but I don't for the TAs. I think it's all gone a bit over the top really but maybe I am just a bit baa humbug. If there is already a class present that you have contributed to, then this all seems excessive to me - unless the teacher has really done something particularly special for your child and you want to give a more personal thanks. There's no expectation at secondary where I have ever worked, so I was a bit surprised to find this going on when my DS started primary. Plus I think I have a knee jerk reaction against being pressurised by what I perceive as competitive parents at my DS's school. Personally I think a homemade card is the most appropriate thing, but I would have to sweat blood and tears to get DS to do this now!
From memory my mum only did an end of year gift once, and the teacher in question turned me from an obnoxious brat into a much more conscientious child! A home made card is a great idea, and a box of chocs or a bottle of wine. I have overheard talk of an ipod <faints>
In the school nursery where I used to work three out of the five teachers and all the TA's would put all edible gifts in the staffroom and they would be shared by everyone during the year, any toiletries would go in the staff toilets for general use too. The other two greedy ones would take theirs home and still use/eat everyone elses.