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Urgent Question

I got gifts (ok, I got Target gift cards) for both of Mia's teachers and the preschool music teacher, since music was the highlight of Mia's life this year. But do I have to give a gift to the preschool director? She was very kind to Mia and very patient with me while we worked through (most of) the screaming crying fits about going to school. And if I get a gift for the director, I must have to get a gift for the assistant director too, right? And if I get gifts (more Target gift cards, obviously) do they have to be the same amount I got for the teachers ($25), or can they be less based on these people having less interaction with my child?

It isn't the children that need to come with manuals, it is all the rest of it.

Comments (40)

I'd skip the director - just go with the ones who had the most interaction with Mia.

I think you're okay not to buy for the director's. I have given to a principal of the elementary school once, but she was willing to bend some rules if my kids needed medical interventions that were against policy. She never had to do it, but knowing that the kids were safe gave me peace of mind. Even then, it was a $10 gift.

As a teacher, I want to thank you for not purchasing clutter for Mia's teachers!

We never buy for the director, just the teachers. Don't feel bad about it, I'm sure the director would rather any gift go to the teachers anyway...or at least that what I tell myself. :)

This crap always confused me when my kids were in preschool! What I did was get gift cards for the teachers and then baked a big batch of cookies. I gave the cookies to the director as a gift for the whole school.

I think the director is optional but if you are wanting to show your appreciation to her you could always get her a thank-you card. That way you are acknowledging her helpfulness without having to add yet another gift card to the mix. I hate how the teacher-gift thing always snow balls and you end up buying for people who really don't have any interaction with your child out of guilt...goodluck!

Call me crabby, but when did it become a requirement to give gifts to your kid's teachers? I never did when I was a kid, and my kids don't do it now. Isn't the tuition or tax money I fork over to pay their salaries enough?

Holy crap, that is a lot of money. Sigh. I don't know what the correct answer is. To complicate matters, at our old center (and they are still there 1 day/week), the staff is pretty fluid, so there were at least 6 or 8 people caring for our two girls on a regular basis. They did have a set head teacher and assistant head teacher, but there were other people with them every single day and just as "loved", so it felt exclusionary to just give gifts to the people with titles.

Our solution for Christmas last year? We gave small gift cards to the titled teachers and had pizza lunch delivered for the entire staff as a surprise on the Friday before the holiday.

It's really complicated for me. See, I am generally a big tipper and believe in thanking people for a job well done. But that's for personal service people. When we used a sahm as a nanny, we gave her a christmas bonus of one week of salary, which is standard for a nanny (so I hear.) And in a restaurant, we tip 20% plus $2 (force of habit, I don't know, it just seems like a nice little bonus, so if the bill is $30, we leave $8; if the bill is $50, we leave $12; seems like the server will appreciate the extra little exponentially more than we will miss it.) But I don't tip at McDonald's. And in fact, I get a little huffy about tip jars at places like ice cream counters. I don't get tipped to do my job. I am not in the service industry. And neither are McDonald's workers, or the lady bagging my groceriers, or technically, the fella packing ice cream into my cone. Hairdressers, servers, bellhops, etc., are in the service industry. So, I see nannies as a group that is somehow personally serving me, so I owe them a weeks' salary. But I see the employees of the center deserving of a treat and a little acknowledgement, but not some sort of tip/bonus. Aha, maybe it's that in the case of a daycare center, I am not their employer. Let the company give bonuses! They employ them!

Sigh. But of course, this makes me sound and feel cheap and selfish.

This doesn't help you. sorry.

How about a nice note to the director and no gift? Just gifts for the teachers?

I agree with someone above and thank you for going the gift card route! Because they will actually go to use and not take up space in the attic. Also, no, I wouldn't feel obligated to buy the director anything.

And I just *have* to respond to the person who said that our taxes are enough to pay the teachers:

No they are not. Teachers have to put up with crud that most of us would never even imagine in both the public and private schools in our country. They rarely get the thanks or appreciation they deserve and trust me, they don't do it for the average $15 gift they get at the end of the year! But they do appreciate the gifts as a small show that what they do made a difference in the lives of your child(ren).

(stepping off my sopabox now)

End of the year gifts? Really? I did holiday gifts and teacher appreciation gifts and now end of the year gifts? My goodness!

A thank you card fashioned from a drawing by Mia with a kind note from you will do perfectly for the director and assistant director.

We've always said a big thanks to our teachers on the last day of school and then sent them a card a few weeks into the summer just to let them know how much we miss them and hope they are enjoying their well-deserved time off.

I'd say in this situation, a thank you card or note for the director would be appropriate. But if you never had any interaction with the director, you'd be fine to just stick with the teachers.

I agree with the tipping comments above - I refuse to tip into a jar where I have had to walk to to pick up & pay for my own food. But I don't think that applies here.

I think that end-of-year gifts are excessive. I'm not a teacher, but I would think a pile of crap at the end of the year in lieu of a heart-felt thanks would end up feeling kind of empty.

You rite gud. If you can express your genuine appreciation for the director's behaviour towards Mia (and yourself) that might actually resonate with her in a way that patio glasses from Target would not.

Again, not a teacher, but I have a wallet full of gift cards of various denominations and I have no idea what is left on most them. I can't imagine what a teacher might have at year-end. If they're not properly managed, it's just another form of clutter. Can you get together w other parents & get a larger gift-card? Or has that ship sailed?

Keep the gift cards, a nice thank you note, or drawing from Mia thank you should do the trick!

I'm not a mom and I'm not a teacher--so I'm probably going to sound like a bitch and piss a bunch of people off, but the teachers get presents for...doing their jobs? I think a thank-you note sounds just fine. Good luck!

Wow you are generous! The most I would spend on a teachers gift is $10 and this year I got off really cheap-my 7 yr old wanted to get her teacher a cactus and the teacher's aide a plant. I found both at Lowes for under $4.00!
I would skip the director's gift. A thank you card would be nice and appreciated. Maybe Mia could draw a picture for her? But again, $25? That is really alot to spend.

I think it's just the teachers. If you buy for the director and then the assistant director and then...

Well you might as well mail one of those gift cards out to me while you're at it.

I am not very good at this. I completely forgot about Christmas gifts until I arrived at their little concert and saw everyone else walking in with gift bags. "Teacher Appreciation" was just a week ago ... I brought flowers, goodies from our home garden and ran an errand for the school. I am completely at a loss for what to do for end of the year. Gift cards seem reasonable but anything less than $20 seems cheap (to me) and that adds up. Grr.

I'm kinda with Traci that tuition should be enough but then I think about caring for a pack of 3'tall individuals with OCD and I suddenly feel very bad for them.

So ... to answer your question, a thank you card, if anything for the director. I still am clueless as to what I'm going to do. If only I had more vegetables to give away.

Teacher opinion: It's okay if you don't. It's not necessary. If you do, you can go with a lower amount, say $10.

I think that $25 is a really generous gift. I do receive such generous gifts, and am usually surprised by the generosity.

When I wasn't a classroom teacher, I was surprised by any gift, and it was often of a $10 value.

Whatever you do is the right thing to do.

End of year gifts? Wow.

My boys are in 1st and 5th grade. I do holiday gifts and teacher appreciation gifts. I have never done an end of year gift. I never will.

I wouldn't buy a gift for the director. I think of it as a combination of "Don't tip the owner of the salon" (even though the director is not ((usually)) the owner) and "Directors make way more money than teachers" and "Teachers are way more involved with the child than directors are, and it's kind of like a gift from your child, funded by you."

Seriously, no need to gift the director or her assistant at all, but if you do at most a card from Mia and/or a cheap bouquet of daisies from the grocery store (or maybe some mint or something prettier from your yard).

What are the other parents doing?

As a former teacher, thank you for remember the teachers and for giving gift cards that are actually usable instead of another apple coffee mug! :)

I would just buy for those that had the most direct impact on Mia.

As a former teacher, thank you for remembering the teachers and for giving gift cards that are actually usable instead of another apple coffee mug! :)

I would just buy for those that had the most direct impact on Mia.

I had the same type of question...and found out that most of my friends only do the Christmas gifts (oops, teacher appreciation week? what is that? Oh well, I'll catch up, my guys only in Pre-school).

And my husband would agree with all of those who asked why we should tip someone for doing their job. I'm not sure that I do, but we're strapped for cash right now, so I'll think about it more next year.

Where I worked, a few of the parents got little gifts for the teachers but not all of them (the parents that is). And it was definitely *only* the teachers. Gift cards to places like Target or book stores were always the best gifts because they allow a teacher to get more things for their classrooms without dipping further into their own pockets. It was always nice to be able to pick up some new learning tools or books to add to the classroom collection.

I vote for thank you cards for those you're wishy-washy on for gifts. Esp. if you can include a Mia-drawn picture. I think that's more than enough.

I read through some of the comments and I thought you might like a former preschool teacher/nanny's input. No, the director doesn't get a gift. If you give the head teacher something, don't forget the assistants, and no, they do not get less just because they are the assistant, that is a slap in the face to someone who is equaly involved with your child. It is not a tip, and the teachers do not expect it. However, most preschool teachers, even in hoity-toity private schools, work for next to nothing (the most I ever made was $11/hr, and I thought I was on top of the world) and absolutely no benifits. They do it because they love your kids, and they do deserve a little appriciation.
Didn't mean to get all bitchy on y'all. I'll stop now.

Wow I've got alot to learn before I become a parent. I never knew that teachers got end of year gifts...we never did this when I was in school. We didn't even give Christmas gifts to teachers. Maybe things are just different here in Canada. Sorry I can't help with the dilema, but I think a card drawn by Mia as suggested by others is a good idea.

wow, I must be totally oblivious, I never even considered getting any of my kids' daycare teachers anything for Christmas or otherwise. One teacher that's in the infant room and essentially helped raised my son and now my daughter is leaving Friday and I was trying to think of an appropriate gift to get her, but aside from that 20 bucks last x-mas to donate towards a staff lunch was about as much as I did. But, we pay them for 2 kids, full time, we pay on time and for the whole month up front. That counts for something, right? Maybe we're just not as tip heavy in the Midwest?

When I was a kid, we always got something the teacher could use. In pre-school, I think we got finger paints or something.

I've followed the same line of logic with my kids and usually (when we are back in the states) get a gift card to the local teacher's supply store.

As for the director, I think if you just take the time to say "Hey, thanks for what you do around here", that'll really mean a lot.

Wow! You are awsome for even thinking of it. My son has been in preschool for almost 4 years and I never even thought to do that! That must be one of the many reasons I'm not in the "mommy" club everyone else seems to know about but me :) Anyway, I think if you feel you need to get something for the director I would just make all of them the same. No hurt feelings and all that. :)

So, I say they can like what they get or they can suck it. That's my vote.

Oh, HI by the way! Nice to bloggy meet you.

I say, since there was a special relationship, a nice note says alot. I assume the director is the big cheese but whenever I compliment someone who has a boss, I try to make sure the boss gets a copy too. I am a nurse and when we receive nice thank yous that name us specifically, they go into our file and can positively affect our performance review/raise. If you feel obligated to get a gift, I think a nice plant is plenty.

I think the gift giving has gotten out of control. I stopped a few years back and got a bunch of crap for it from other moms. I think words and notes do the job nicely. I have made exceptions though - for example, my childs teacher is educator of the year this year and she has been FABULOUS and I did make her a small gift. Nothing huge - but she will get a very nice thank you note. But really, where does the gift giving stop? I"m a scrooge I guess.....

I say gifts for the teachers and personal thank you notes to the others. Including a drawing by Mia or having her sign her name would be a nice touch.

Write a nice note. It means more than a gift card or gift and will be treasured by the adults who work so hard (for so little money) to take care of kids all day. As a teacher, notes from parents and students meant more to me than any gift I ever received -- I still have them and they can do wonders when you're having a crappy day.

No kids and I'm not a teacher, but I do have several nieces and nephews. When my niece was in preschool last year my sister (a class mom) collected like $5 or $10 from the parents and bought the teacher & assistant each a gift card to Barnes & Noble. Some of the kids made cards/pictures for them.

They gave the director some flowers (not a super-pricey bouquet, either) which I guess they all contributed another couple of bucks for. All told, I don't think it cost any of the parents more than $15 tops for all the gifts.

Isn't there a class mom doing something like this at Mia's school?

My daughter is about to complete her first year at prek and I truly believe that b/c of her teacher's guidance and dedication to her development, my daughter has learned so much. I give to show my appreciation not because I feel like I have to. And in this economy, I'm not able to give a lot but I think a gift card to a coffee shop or book store of maybe $15 will do.

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