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.


10 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – The Teacher Gift Grab

  1. monica says:

    I totally agree! Things have gotten very out of control in schools. Everything has come down to money! My parents were dirt poor when I was little and in school. I never got my teachers anything. I said Thank You a lot though. I honestly believe thats all teachers want. To be appreciated and recognized. Not by gifts but my genuine appreciation!

  2. Suze says:

    I’m all about appreciating teachers (I could/would never do what they do) but some of the crap people think teachers want makes me insane. The ecard you posted at the top says it perfectly. I think that a nice thank you letter goes a long way if funds are tight – but if you’re going to spend money don’t buy lotions/candles/mugs/apple crap. Get a visa gift card or a gift card to a place THEY WILL USE!

    We had teacher appreciation week back in March during an otherwise dead time. I’ve heard of several schools doing it now right before the end of the year? Am I the only one that things that is masochistic? There is enough stuff to keep up with this time of year without adding a week of extra stuff to remember.

  3. Jennifer says:

    So I have to confess I have been this mom this year to an extent. Our PTO (which I am no part of) decided on a Friday that every room mom should email all parents and ask them to bring in an item each day of teacher appreciation week starting that Monday. Two weeks ago! School is almost out and now they want me to collect for a class gift. Have they lost their mind? I did however, throw out there in my email that this was in no way my idea.

  4. Teachet in the South says:

    Heck, I am a teacher and I like gifts. However the gifts I like would be a box of pencils or paper, because kids can remember to bring their Iphone every day but never seems to remember a pencil.

  5. RNmomof1son says:

    61% of the students at my son’s school are on free or reduced lunches. There’s no collection happening when these parents can’t afford a 0.50 pack of Crayolas for their kids schooling. I discovered Ms Teacher had a Scentsy Warmer so I gave her the latest Scent of the Month bar(as Im a rep) I figured a little sucking up couldn’t hurt. At Christmas time, I gave her a $25 plug-in warmer and two Scentsy bars. For the end of the year school gift, I might give her another Scent of the Month bar and a $25 Applebees gift card or maybe one to Macy’s or something because she’s a fashionista and a health nut to boot.

  6. Jr High Teacher says:

    I’m a teacher and what I value most is a note of appreciation. Dead serious. Secondly I like chocolate. M&Ms are fine.

  7. Lisa says:

    I have always disliked collecting for a group gift. Everyone go get your own gift card and put it in a card with a nice hand written sentiment.

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