Kids giving presents to teachers, bus drivers, etc?

So, when I went to elementary (public) school in Canada wayyyyyy back in the 70s absolutely no one gave presents to his or her teacher.

Fast forward to the 21st century, my kids are 7 and 8, and my wife insists on buying a small gift for each of them to give to their teacher and another to the bus driver. She does this at Christmas and year end: today. (BTW - They’re in a Catholic school so the Christmas thing isn’t a hot button.)

  1. Is this normal in your part of the planet?
  2. When did this become standard practice?
  3. Do you agree with this? I mean, if everyone participates, each teacher is taking home a loot of 20-odd presents twice a year. And the bus drivers with double runs could score 100!
  4. I’m thinking this ends in High School with multiple teachers and all, right?

I disagree with this. They’re only doing their job. They get fairly decent pay, a shit-load of vacation time, and a pension plan! They should be giving me presents!

In the lower grades, it’s pretty common to give teacher gifts, and for just about any occasion. However, IME, it’s more of a token remembrance than anything the teacher would actually want. I used to save up meaningless stuff I received (such as bath salts) and just pass them along at such times. No big deal.

Eh, it’s not like it’s required or anything. I usually give my daughter’s teachers a little gift basket from Bath & Body Works at the end of the year, just to show my appreciation. It’s only because I want to, and because my daughter gets a kick out of giving the gifts. She’s only in second grade though, and I don’t see myself buying a present for every teacher when she gets to high school.

By the way, I’ve done things I considered stupid (like giving out gift bags to other kids when it was my kid’s birthday) just because if that’s the expected custom, I don’t want to embarrass my kid.

When I was that age, yes. My part of the planet was then a SW Suburb of Chicago.

Well it was standard practice when I was seven or eight. I’m forty now. I don’t know particularly WHEN it started - I, as most kids do, assumed it had gone on forever and ever and ever and frankly never questioned it.

Not everyone did it - it was only some kids. Since I was one (a kid) I do not know how the dynamic worked in other families. Now when MY son was that age, I did small (I mean REALLY SMALL - I would make an ornament or something for the teacher) gifts - but then quit after he started third grade because THAT teacher was a bitch. Then I couldn’t afford even that - I just started sending a bag of candy or something for the holidays.

It ended after elementary school (6th grade).

We are giving you a present. We are giving you back your snot-nosed little punk kid, hopefully with some education he obviously isn’t getting at home.

Well, my kids are perfect obviously, so that doesn’t apply here. :wink:

I never saw it growing up. Fast Forward to current with my kids. We contribute towards gifts to my daughter’s (3rd Grade Teacher) at Xmas & End of year and 3 in all for my Son’s (Kindergarten). Teacher, assistant and latchkey.


About 1/4 to 1/3 of my drivers come in on the last day of school, or the last day before Christmas break with either a card, or some kind of small gift.

The unwritten rule here is that if the gift involves any kind of quantity of food, it gets passed, or left in the lounge.

I’ve gotten presents from my students at christmas, of course they all had the brilliant idea of buying me chocolates. 15 boxes of chocolates in the hands of a bachelor is not a healthy situation! I ate one from each and then gave them all away.

Shouldn’t parents teach their children to be generous?

I tell them my generous tax dollars are paying your teacher’s salary.

Nah, I didn’t really mean that. Sure, generosity is a good trait to be passed along. I was just wondering (this morning) as my kids got on the bus, when all this started, and if it was wide-spread in other places. Like I said, no one gave teachers a gift when I was young.

Still waiting to hear from Australia, NZ, UK, etc…

My mom’s a teacher. I am poor. This works out well, as every year just before Christmas, she is given approximately 834 gifts she doesn’t want. She gives them to me, and I give them to all the people on my list I’m socially obligated to buy a present for but can’t afford it.

Every year she recieves:
2 dozen coffee mugs. She’s been teaching for 23 years. She’s single and lives alone. She doesn’t even need 2 coffee mugs.

2 dozen crappy handmade or dollar store christmas tree ornaments. She’s 58 years old. She has plenty of nice ornaments she’s bought or been given over the years. There’s an occasional nice ornament which she will keep or which I’ll use on my tree, but trust me when I say most of them are total crap.

1 dozen boxes of crap chocolate and 1 box of nice chocolate. Guess which one we keep! :smiley:

Smelly candles, smelly bath stuff, smelly dried plants to put in bowls, smelly oils, smelly smells. She jokes every year that she better wear more deodorant, because obviously the students think she reeks. Problem is, she’s asthmatic and highly sensitive to scents, so she can’t use any of this, even the nice stuff.

Assorted ceramic dustables. Angels, candlesticks, bells, apples, etc. If she kept all of these, her house would look like a Victorian melodrama.

Mystery gifts. These are white elephants. Sometimes they’re just weird, sometimes they are unidentifiable. The teachers actually compare and laugh over them in the lunchroom. The crucified stuffed moose with mini Christmas lights hanging off his felt antlers was one of these.

Gift certificates. DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! She loves these. Restaurants, Target, movie theaters, whatever. Loves, loves, loves. Raves about 'em. She and other teacher friends pool them and go out together for a nice dinner and a movie.

You can guess what I give my kid’s teachers.

Of course, she is gracious and appreciative to the kids. They’re sweethearts, and they all mean well. It’s a definite case of “It’s the thought that counts.” But sometimes, you just have to wonder what they were thinking! :smiley:

Sure! They should be generous to their teachers and fellow students every day. Generous with praise, generous with time, generous with effort. If they really do find “the perfect gift”, then it’s great, whether or not the teacher like it, she’ll understand the sentiment. But with so many of these gifts, it just seems obvious that the parents are cramming something in a gift bag at the last minute so they don’t seem parsimonious. Many times, the student doesn’t even know what’s in the bag until the teacher opens it. That’s not generosity, that’s something else. I’m not sure what.

At primary school, it’s common enough although certainly not universal, either at Christmas or at the end of the school year. Typically it’s chocolates, a couple of tiny knick-knacks which typically the kids have brought home from holidays, and a few handmade items (e.g. cards the kids have made themselves). Nothing extravagent, and if anything the latter is more appreciated, because it’s a genuine gesture.

Yep, it mostly dies out at secondary school, with exceptions where children have a more individual relationship with specific staff - as a music teacher, I get this, and so still get a few boxes of chocolates (which I do not need!) from older children. Add to this a couple of children from families who are particularly into the gift-giving thing (am I right in thinking that this is particularly true of Chinese cultures? One set of parents got a DVD imported from Hong Kong which they knew I couldn’t get here, and have also been the source of some rather nice wine…which I do not need :stuck_out_tongue: )

Oh, and the bus driver thing doesn’t really apply.

I’m younger than most in here (21) but it was fairly common when I was a kid. Not everyone did so of course–I don’t think I ever did*. But it happened. We would also sometimes pick handfuls of dandilions and give them to the teacher after recess. And that, my friends, is how I came to learn about hayfever.

It did continue into high school, for specific teachers we liked. One of my french teachers had a frog collection that students helped add to. (She should’ve had a witch collection too, for all the jokes we made)
*Scratch that, I seem to recall doing so in grade 2. Which is somewhat ironic given that he was far from a favorite teacher of mine.

I’m a teacher. I also teach in a very affluent district, so what I say should be considered with that.

I disagree with this. They’re only doing their job. They get fairly decent pay, a shit-load of vacation time, and a pension plan! They should be giving me presents!

I understand that you don’t want to give teachers gifts, although your attitude about it definitely differs from mine. And, for the record, time off for teachers is NOT “vacation time.” We do not get paid for spring break, winter break, and summer break. Many teachers work during the summer, also.

Also, I shouldn’t be getting you a present. I can’t imagine why I would give you a present.

We get presents at winter break, teacher appreciaton week, and at the end of the year. Not all teachers get gifts. Those of us at the middle school tend to get a lot, (because we have more students). I couldn’t tell you what percentage. At each of those opportunities, I probably get gifts from 1/3 of the kids, but I don’t know if every kid gives something at least once, or if it’s the same ones each time. (I realize that in most cases the parents pay for the gifts.)

My personal opinion is that three times a year is too much. It’s mostly gift cards, and those are wonderful and appreciated, but not necessary. It is definitely not a hardship in any way for those who give them, but, still, I feel it’s too much. And I have never felt like there were strings attached. They are given with genuine respect and appreciation.

My advice for anyone who doesn’t want to give a gift but would still like to show appreciation:

  1. Don’t give anything. I have a lot of students, and I do not keep track of who gives me what.

  2. Have your child write a personal note. I love those.

  3. Put us on your xmas card list. I like getting pics of the kids…most people take those pics in cool and/or humorous places and the kids like it when I put them on my bulletin board.

  4. Have your kid draw a picture. The kids do that for me, anyway…I hang them up and they love it.

  5. Make a donation to the school or library or something like that.

  6. Likewise with a charity.

And if you really want to give to the school, volunteer for recess or lunch duty. Go to the PTC meetings. Go to the board meetings. Heck, just stop by and say hi.

I have my kids write thank you notes at the end of the year for their teachers. Gift certificates at Christmas. I handed off my son’s thank you note last year to his kindergarten teacher (he wrote it himself!) and said “I thought you’d like this more than a ceramic apple” She started to laugh - she’s only been teaching a few years and already can cover several trees in apple ornaments, if she keeps them.

Other gifts teachers appreaciate are things for the classroom - books, especially. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on things, and books for the classroom are often treasured and used.

I hope I teach my kids to have generous natures. But I also hope I teach them not to waste their money or time on bath salts for someone who may just throw them away, Christmas ornaments for someone who has too many of them, or ceramic knick knacks that need to be dusted…if you have money to waste on that crap - give it to the PTA.

I gave stuff in elementary school (or better “I was sent with presents for elementary school in the early 80s”) but as said above, it was a very token gift. Bath salts, a candle, a jar of candy, etc. Nothing over the top. The equivalent of “an apple for the teacher,” which has been going on for at least a century now.

When I was a kid in the 80’s my mom would bake cookies or make candy or whatever. I only gave a gift to a bus driver once, to a lady who was exceptionally nice to me. Mom made cookies and such all the way up through high school.

Think of it as the new “Boxing Day”.