I am a Georgia teacher, but have recently read many facebook posts from my Alabama friends in reference to a new law that could potentially land teachers in jail if they accept gifts from students/parents. These gifts would be equivalent to bribary, according to this law. However, many think this is just silly. You can read more HERE.
While I have never once thought of a gift from one of my students as a bribe and I have never once provided any favors for a student or parent due to their gift giving, I have been troubled by one aspects of receiving gifts from students......the feeling of those students who can't afford to give gifts. I work in a diverse school. It never fails, each year I have students walk into my classroom the last day before Christmas with big bags with beautful curly ribbons and bows who are super anxious for me to open my present from them. I also have students who walk in with nothing more than they have each day, their bookbag and maybe a few school supplies. I always worry about how these students must feel about not being able to give me gifts. I always want to underplay my appreciation for the gifts in an effort to preserve their feelings. On the other hand, I do not want the students who bring me the gifts to think I am not appreciative, because they too have feelings and I would never want to hurt them either. So what's a teacher to do?
First of all, I always tell my students that the BEST gift they can give me is to be kind to one another and always do their best. But next year, I may take a different approach. Instead, I think I may request that in lieu of a personal gift, students/parents wishing to give me a holiday gift choose an item off of a classroom wish list and buy an item for our classroom. Or if they are happy with the job I am doing, they could write a letter to my principal telling her so. On of the best gifts ever given to me, though not given as a gift, was a two page letter that a mother wrote me telling me what an impact I had on her child's life and the he will be a better person because of me. She also went on to mention that people in her family never went to college, but she is sure her son (who was only 8 at the time) would and would attend the same college I attended because I talked so much about it. WOW! Can it get any better for a teacher than to hear those words? Those are the kind of gifts I wish all parents would give me.
What are your thoughts on teacher gifts from students?
"Teachers make great thieves"...ever heard that quote? It is a very true! Most of our great ideas are "stolen" from someone else. Not all ideas on this blog are mine. I try to give credit where credit is due. However, if you find that an idea should have been given credit but wasn't, please let me know.
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