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Give It Up for the Teachers

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Who deserves a present more?

teacher with gifts

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I am room mom for my fifth grader and am organizing a group gift. Typically, one-third to one-half of the class joins in, but there's no pressure. Plenty do their own thing, or nothing at all.

When my kids were younger (and I had fewer), I would bake a large tray of baklava around the holidays and package that up for gifts around school. I did this until my mother-in-law, who taught for years, told me how much sweet stuff teachers receive around the holidays and how hard it is for those with health issues or those trying to watch their weight. I started to really think about the gifts then.

My youngest is in preschool, and my two older kids are in public elementary. For the first time, I realized how many supplies teachers were purchasing from their own money. I mean basic supplies like pencils and paper. I've found that if you ask the teachers what they would like for the holidays, they invariably come up with something for the classroom.

This year, our teacher told me she would like to purchase books for her class. I sent out an e-mail to the parents and told them to send an envelope home with my daughter if they wanted to participate. I told them to give whatever they were comfortable with, and I have already collected enough to give the classroom library a little boost.

When I give it to the teacher, I plan to enclose a note with any current coupons for the bookstore and maybe a link to a couple of my articles so she can stretch the gift a little farther. She was pretty excited when I told her that AAA gives a 10 percent discount on Barnes & Noble's website ...

I'm planning to give my son's teacher some math aids I know he's been eyeing that I was able to get for a good price after some searching around. The truth of the matter is, in this economy, with budgets and salaries trimmed to the bone, a great public education isn't free, and we should do what we can to help our kids get the best they can.

next: Spread Budget-Friendly Holiday Cheer
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 22, 2009, 6:51 AM

I ONLY give to pre-school teachers -they have the most thankless, under-paid job. Seriously, my old roommate is a preschool teacher in an affluent school district and she makes a whopping 30k year, for a FULL year, 12 month teaching job. So PLEASE give generously to you preschool/daycare providers. And they don’t get a classroom budget so they buy most of their supplies out of pocket.

Once they hit kindergarten no gifts - the teachers are making anywhere from 40-70k once they hit public school and they only work 180 days a year, summers off, winter and spring break, they don’t need a gift from me.

smoore December 22, 2009, 8:03 AM

I am a teacher, when I send my Holiday Party newletter, I always request for the students/parents to not send me any gifts. It makes me uncomfortable as well as most of the time I get things I have no use for.

Also, I do not send gifts to my children’s teachers. We have a teacher this year, who I work with, who manipulates her kindergarten class into bringing her things. I fell for it the first few weeks of school. I don’t think that’s fair to the children or the partents.

Some teachers seem to expect their parents to supply them with every little thing they think of. If the teacher cant afford to supply their classroom out of pocket I would not imagine the parents can afford it either.

oregonteacher December 22, 2009, 8:21 AM

I loved this article. Thank you for thinking of teachers in a creative, helpful way. I teach and this year I was overwhelmed with thoughtfulness my students and their parents. I wish I could have shared this link with them - as much as I love the treats they give me, I would love gifts to help my students even more.

As to the first commenter: I teach 7th grade and there is no way that I make 40k a year. Oregon requires a Masters degree to teach, and I will be paying off that debt for many years to come on less than 40k a year. Our salaries are public knowledge. Look it up.

I work close to 80 hour work weeks weekends. On breaks and in the summer I am attending conferences, workshops and college graduate classes to maintain my skills and earn continuing education credit. I do all of that because I want to serve my students to the best of my ability. Your comments are hurtful and degrade not only teachers, but students and schools too.

Our schools here in Oregon are in financial crisis. Let us not take that out on teachers or students. Let us support one another as parents, teachers and students. It is the only way that the education of our nation’s children can be successful.

Thank you, momlogic, for the kind and heartwarming article.

#1 Teacher December 22, 2009, 10:31 AM

I am a teacher - and maybe oregon is the exception - but teachers in my area make more than 40k. i havve friends teacing all over the country and I have to say while we’ll never be millionaires we make a great salary for what we do. We get great benefits, a pension and an insane amount of vacation time. On top of this I am doing something I love to do. I would feel weird accepting gifts from my students. I don’t get gifts for anyone just doing their job so why should I get one? I do make the exception for preschool and daycare providers as another poster mentioned.

Nicci December 22, 2009, 4:32 PM

Most teachers can get a 20% discount at barnes and noble if they go in for and sign up for the educator’s discount (its free). I have to agree with the above statement though I am a teacher I make less than 40,000 a year in Florida and I am constantly buying things out of my own pocket to support my classroom. We have no money for anything.

Anonymous December 23, 2009, 6:10 AM

Shouldn’t school supplies be provided from the school thru the school budget? Maybe teachers need to question where all the federal funding money goes? I know every year, the list of supplies I need to send in with my kids get longer and longer. Plus all thru out the year, they send home request for tissues, ziplock bags and many other things. Teachers make a good living for doing what they do. In my area, the starting pay is around 40 and with all the time off and benefits they get thru the school unions, I think they are doing better than a lot of other profressions.

Another teach December 24, 2009, 5:58 AM

As a teacher I completely agree w/Anonymous and #1 Teacher. We make a great living for what we do (and we do get an abundance of time off). Aside from daycare/preschool teachers, we do not need gifts.

I agree with Anonymous above - teachers need to question their school boards about the budgets. Our teachers banded together and refused to pass out lists that parents needed to supply. We made our district step up and re-distribute funds. It can be done!

Anonymous March 25, 2010, 9:36 PM

daycare and preschool teachers are different. You don’t need (minimum)5 years of post secondary education to become a preschool teacher, therefor the pay is expectantly lower. Why would preschool/daycare teachers receive the same amount of pay as someone who spent 5 years on a post secondary degree? And daycare/preschools don’t nec.have follow a cirric. so they don’t require the same amount of supplies.

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