Dear Snarky – The Teacher Gift Grab


Dear Snarky,

This week marks the dreaded, or at least by me, Teacher Appreciation week. You know the one where the class mom sends out fifty emails basically making you feel that if you don’t bring in gifts for your child’s teacher your family is going to be placed on some black list for the rest of time?

Wasn’t the Kindle FireHD and the $100 gift certificate from the class at Christmas enough to let him/her know they are appreciated? Or the basket and bouquet at Valentine’s Day bought by the class? Or the $150 gift certificate for the teacher’s birthday from the class? Or the giant basket of goodies, flowers and restaurant gift cards during parent teacher conferences enough? 

 Also, my kids have multiple teachers which even at five dollars a card can really bite into my family budget. I personally would just like to ignore Teacher Appreciation Week, and the upcoming End of Year teacher gift free for all, but I don’t want my kids to feel bad either. What do you do?


Going Broke Mom

Dear Going Broke Mom,

Take a breath, relax and know that I’ve got your back. What you’re suffering from is known as A.C.M. – Aggressive Class Mom fatigue. This is the parent that treats her stint as Class Mom as a competition where her talent is brow beating other parents via email disguised as gracious chit-chat and making snide comments at school drop off and pick up. Her goal is besting the other class moms in the “Look, look I did more for the teacher and had the best class parties!” category.

When my son was in kindergarten the class mom wanted all of us to contribute enough money to get the teacher a $1,500 PRADA bag! I know, totally crazy right? The class mom had the math all worked out.

There were 18  kids in morning kindergarten and 16 kids in the afternoon class. Making a total of 34 kids. If each family contributed only $50 then the teacher could be rocking a Prada. I declined to participate in the Prada purse shakedown and got the teacher a movie gift card instead.

That said, you are under NO obligation to get a teacher a gift. How, do I know this? I asked many, many teachers and contrary to popular suburban lore teachers do not spend their recess break comparing their gifts and one upping each other with who has the bigger gift card tree.

In my survey I found that the thing teachers appreciate any time of the year is a letter or email from a child or parent telling them how much they have enjoyed learning. If your letter is especially praise worthy several teachers suggested that it is equally awesome if you can co copy the principal.

Trust me, people who teach didn’t go into the profession for a Starbucks gift card. So don’t stress out and give the gift that keeps on giving a daily heartfelt appreciation for education and the people who dedicate their lives to it.