Now, 20 years and several steroid injections later, the only thing "small" about today's teacher's gift is the diameter of the gift card. Instead of sniffing daisies, teachers these days spend their summers getting facials, dining at upscale restaurants, and buying new wardrobes, all complements of their former students.
I firmly believe that teachers deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication, yet my depleted bank account has left me wondering if we as a society have become too generous in our gift-giving.
Last week, the room mother of my children's preschool class sent home a letter soliciting contributions for a class gift. The suggested donation: $20 per child. With 15 children enrolled, the amount collected totaled a whopping $300. Even though the donation was technically "voluntary," parents who opt out or give less than the "suggested amount" risk being labeled as ungrateful or (gasp) cheap.
Last week's contribution wouldn't be so hard to swallow if 1) I wasn't already paying hefty monthly tuition fees 2) I only had one child in school (I have three) 3) it was the only gift I gave this year. Like Dunkin Donut shops, teacher gifts keep expanding in size and increasing in number. Preceding the "last day of school" teacher gift was the holiday gift, the Valentine's Day gift, the Mother's Day gift, and the birthday gift.
Given the current rate of inflation, I figure that by the time my kids reach junior high, teacher gifts will be handed out every Friday and will come standard with rear brakes and automatic transmissions. Needless to say, I'm looking for a second job.
UPDATE: In response to this article, pediatrician Dr. Gwenn emailed momlogic the following: "Massachusetts has a law in effect to limit giving to $50 per family because things were getting so out of control. We also have new nonprofit groups in town we can donate to in honor of a particular teacher, but the money benefits the entire school. Our giving program is called "Hats Off To Teachers" and it is fantastic - and tax-deductible."