Teacher Gifts

Posted: June 27, 2014 in Education, Humanity


*The following photo is taken from artist Dave Granlund. Though, my “Today’s Words” would be different: Coach, Lacoste, Jack & Jones*

On AM640, they had yet another segment on how horrible teachers are – this time it was regarding our acceptance of teacher gifts at the end of the semester/year. I don’t really mean to bash AM640 since I am an avid listener, but every time it’s a topic regarding education, it’s parents calling in to explain the awful things their child’s teacher has done recently.

Up until yesterday (when I first heard the segment), I had no idea that the giving and receiving of teacher gifts was such a debatable topic…and a heated one at that! My parents were those who had me give my teachers gifts when I was in elementary school and I am pretty sure that continued into high school. When I began my teaching career as a grade 7/8 teacher and I received my first teacher gift, I was very surprised. I think I can speak for every teacher when I say that gifts are NEVER expected, but ALWAYS appreciated when they are given.

The point made numerous times on the radio yesterday was that teachers shouldn’t be awarded extra for simply “doing their job.” That reminds me of a Dwight Schrute quote from The Office when he says: “Why tip someone for a job I’m capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did, however, tip my urologist because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones.” I suppose the big question then is: Are teachers really just “doing their job” or is it not as simple as that?

Teachers are asked to be guidance councillors, psychologists, parents (to some degree), babysitters (in another sense), and role models on top of being granted the authority over a child’s education. Of course the rebuttal to all of that is…teachers knew what they signed up for. So, with that all being said, I am not on one side or the other. I am certainly against receiving money (never have, thankfully), though I have received Tim Horton’s gift cards and the odd time a gift card to the LCBO (liquor store) – I suppose that’s receiving money, to a certain extent. Other gifts include thank you cards, bottles of wine, gift baskets, and other tokens of appreciation.

Are teachers just “doing their job”? Absolutely. Though, it is one of the most important careers out there (if I may say so in the most biased way possible). I mean, you wouldn’t tip your doctor – but again, the rebuttal from some teachers would be that they are well-compensated for their career choice. Another argument is that servers are just doing their job, but then again, the rebuttal is that they are not well-compensated for their job.

So…the age-old question: Who is tip/gift worthy?

I’ll repeat again – never expected, but always appreciated.


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