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To think a class whip round for teacher's Xmas present shouldn't come to £££

(632 Posts)
lollapaloser Tue 19-Nov-19 00:04:15

My child is in first term of reception class. The class rep asked all parents in the class WhatsApp group if we'd like to contribute to vouchers for a Christmas present for the teacher. I said probably not, I'll just get DS to make or buy a small token something (from him). And wouldn't a group gift be better at the end of the school year?

Anyway, an 'experienced' mum with older children said a £10-£20 contribution per child/family is normal and it's split between the teacher and TA. Given there are 30 children in the class we'd end up with between 300 and 600 quid, which seems bonkers.

Turns out I was in a minority of 1 in thinking it was OTT/tacky/morally wrong. A few people jumped in to say how much the teacher does, caring for our children every day, going above and beyond, how wonderful she is etc. How none of us would think twice about spending £20 on a takeaway. Another said she couldn't get a bottle of wine and chocs for £20 so it's a good deal, plus it saves her time. And that she sometimes also bakes or whatever as well as the donation.

There are just so many things about this I don't agree with. It's the teacher's job, she's not a saint, wouldn't it embarrass her, she'd have to declare it, could it be seen as bribery, I think the parent who suggested we can all chuck £20 away without thinking about it is clueless about most people's finances, I think the thank you should come from the child, not the parents in a grand gesture of performative gratitude, if Teach is so wonderful why wouldn't you go to more effort, larger value doesn't equal greater thanks, if we're raising a big chunk of money wouldn't it be better spent on equipment for the school, etc . . . I could go on.

This is in a (turns out more affluent than I realised) London suburb. Everyone else has responded saying they'd transferred money, mostly a tenner. I know in the grand scheme of things a tenner isn't much but that's not the main point.

I actually emailed the school about this and whether their gifting policy could state a cap on gift amounts. But their reply just said parents can give what they want and that it isn't a policy issue as doesn't affect the children.

I reckon I'm the only one of 30 sets of parents not contributing. I now feel a bit isolated from the group for thinking differently.

schafernaker Tue 19-Nov-19 00:08:59

As a teacher in a school with massive budget cuts I’d love you to buy me 30 glue sticks 😂

BlackCatSleeping Tue 19-Nov-19 00:10:18

I think for the sake of a tenner, I’d just chip in. My friend always gives her daughter’s teacher mugs or plant pots. I’m sure the teacher must be sick of them.

I do understand where you are coming from but I think you are maybe overthinking things a bit.

Chocmallows Tue 19-Nov-19 00:11:51

I usually only get teacher's and TAs Terrys chocolate oranges at Christmas and cards. More at the end of the year (e.g. academic diary set for next year).

In this situation I may pay £10 just to ensure my DC fit it. I would worry the other parents would bitch discuss and it would get back to DC.

ilovesooty Tue 19-Nov-19 00:17:45

I'm a former teacher and I agree with you. I think it's awful that some parents feel they have to go along with this stuff.

MummytoCSJH Tue 19-Nov-19 00:19:42

I always give something from my child only, regardless of whether the rest do a whip round. Often it's something we've baked (hygenicallygrin). This is as a thank you from us for supporting my child, not because they're entitled to a gift. As you said - it's their job. They get paid to be there and choose to do it, and most of them would prefer cash gifts to go towards supplies so they don't end up paying for anything extra out of their own pocket. £600 or £300 each is insane.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 19-Nov-19 00:20:04

Sounds about right for an affluent London suburb.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 19-Nov-19 00:23:18

Posted too soon
Clearly you are not under any obligation to give but I suspect that many parents would spend a tenner between the teacher and the TA if the bought individual gifts.

Muddlingalongalone Tue 19-Nov-19 00:24:06

I'm actually hoping one of the keen non-working parents who picks up & drops off everyday will do this for dd2's reception class. It's so much easier than having to try & think of & get something appropriate.
It was great with dd1's class til the group's got mixed up & she was away from the chief organisers!
@schafernaker dd1 made me buy green biros for her teacher last year! I have no idea whether they were spot on or he just thought I was crazy for the rest of the year.

InglouriousBasterd Tue 19-Nov-19 00:26:19

We have this - supposedly 5-10 pounds but realistically everyone ends up putting in a tenner as a shaming message goes around saying ‘only 60 quid raised’ - we are also a London suburb but a real mix in the class of poor and very wealthy. The teacher usually ends up with at least £150 in John Lewis vouchers, plus wine and chocolate shock

schafernaker Tue 19-Nov-19 00:27:57

@Muddlingalongalone right now you'd be my favourite parent ever!

I'm a secondary teacher so we don't tend to get gifts, however my list would be:
1. Glue
2. Blue/black pens
4. Green pens

AnnieAnt Tue 19-Nov-19 00:31:55

I also appreciate someone organising a collection for end of year but usually would expect to pay no more than £5-10. It's just too expensive at Christmas with 4 DC, so we usually just do a handmade card and two boxes of biscuits, one for the staff room and one for the office staff.

I was thinking about this earlier (whilst buying donations for various school fetes which I will doubtless be expected to buy/attempt to win back), as there was a nice heartwarming story on the radio about this today. Hoping the attached article link works.

Josette77 Tue 19-Nov-19 00:32:45

I usually get gift cards for everyone who teaches ds. I don't see it as bribery, it's a thank you. I get you don't want to and that's fine but calling the school over this seems a bit excessive.

fastliving Tue 19-Nov-19 00:33:08

When I was a secondary school teacher I would have liked all parents to buy their own kids some biros - every bloody lesson I had to scramble around for some because some kids wouldn't have any! (wealthy area)
Please no teacher mugs/tinkers, it's just landfill.

forkfun Tue 19-Nov-19 00:37:37

Same where I am. It's completely crazy. Worst thing is, the parent who organises is records carefully who has contributed and then signs the card only from those kids. So if you haven't got money, are forgetful or whatever else, your name isn't on the card. I don't participate as I find it quite horrible. I always write an email to the teacher at the end of the year thanking the teacher/TAs with specific points of why I value them, how they helped my kids, etc. My good friend is a teacher and she told me it's really nice to have a few cards/emails like this when it comes to CPD time and appraisals.

RowenaMud Tue 19-Nov-19 00:39:20

For my DC1's first Christmas in primary school, I remember agonising over what to get a teacher I didn't know at all. I ended up with hand lotions and a bottle of wine. Putting money into a whiparound is so much easier and if I was the teacher, I'd appreciate a voucher far more than other people's tastes in lotions!

Mamboitaliano Tue 19-Nov-19 00:40:36

I did our own gifts for the first couple of years, but quickly realised that a tenner to chuck into a pot to not have to think up something, go shopping, wrap it, get child to write a nice message on it etc was actually money well spent. And teachers can then get something (like voucher) that they'll actually enjoy rather than 30 'best teacher' mugs. I love and appreciate teachers and always write a nice card at the end of a significant period (like changing teacher) but I think £10 to not have any hassle at all while some PTA mum does all the work on my behalf is a bargain.

shiningstar2 Tue 19-Nov-19 00:41:57

I think anybody suggesting these gifts should think of the less affluent parents and keep it to a £5 contribution. If there are 30 kids in the class this raises £150. This could be split down the middle with a £75 gift voucher each or could be £100 for the teacher and £50 for the TA. I think most teachers would be really pleased with this and it does away with all the endless mugs/chocolates/smellies without breaking the bank at what is a very expensive time of year.

FoamingAtTheUterus Tue 19-Nov-19 00:44:29

Make a pritt stick hamper.

Lumene Tue 19-Nov-19 00:44:47

I'm actually hoping one of the keen non-working parents who picks up & drops off everyday will do this for dd2's reception class.

Or you could just send an email/message yourself suggesting it...

Yappy12 Tue 19-Nov-19 00:44:49

OP I agree with you but think that now everyone's just about agreed to contribute you should too. As you say, they'll only bitch about you.

Yappy12 Tue 19-Nov-19 00:47:57

Think it should be no more than £5 each. What about parents who have 2, 3 or 4 kids? At my daughter's primary school, one teacher had 13 kids in total. One in each primary year, some pre-school and some at secondary.

Hadf to laugh at one Christmas party, one little lad said to the girl in my daughter's class: how many turkeys do you need at Christmas?

QueenoftheBiscuitTin Tue 19-Nov-19 00:48:40

I think it's a lovely idea, but it really alienates parents who just can't afford it.

BillHadersNewWife Tue 19-Nov-19 00:51:24

We always did it at my DC primary...usual was a tenner. It's very generous but I never thought it tacky. Better than the teacher getting 30 mugs or something.

Judemahmoodid Tue 19-Nov-19 00:54:11

You’re lucky your child isn’t in my child’s school, we give around £50 per head at both Christmas and end of year, plus cake and cards for her birthday.

Anything that makes our teachers realise how much we value her, we are happy to do, especially as we know that teachers are paid a pittance. (All relative obviously)

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