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    Joined: Nov 2008
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    I want to gather some information about this... DD has a great teacher this year, not in terms of giving her enough enrichment but in terms of being open-minded and flexible. So we definitely plan a present for the end of the school year. DS has had a very lousy experience this year. We can't wait to get out of there and I have a feeling that the teacher (and the school) is happy to see us leave, too. (We are going to a different school in the fall.) Are we obliged to give the teacher a year-end present? Thoughts?

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    There is never any obligation to give year-end teacher gifts. However, if the teacher has done something (anything!) good that you would like to encourage, there may still be some value in a small thank-you of some kind, even if it is just a nice card from your son, as positive reinforcement for the good elements, however few. Plus, it may help demonstrate that any animosity in the relationship is not on your side, or at least that the relationship was not wholly adversarial, which may or may not have value to you.

    The main complication is if the two teachers are in the same school, or otherwise likely to find out what the other received as a gift from you.

    In the past, some of the things I have given include small-ish ($10 range) gift cards to easy-to-use places like big-box bookstores, Target, Walmart, local-coffee-chain-of-your-choice; child-made thank-you notes; small food item (this depends a lot on what you know about the teacher and their food situation); small fun bath item (lotions, scented hand sanitizer, etc.); pretty stationery items (fancy pens, decorative paper).

    Most teachers I know very much appreciate a heartfelt card directly from the student, articulating something specific that was positive from the year.

    And for your great teacher, FYI: most states forbid PS teachers from accepting cumulative gifts of greater than $50-worth of monetary value per school year. Some have even lower limits.


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    JMO, but I'd still write a thank-you note to the teacher you can't wait to escape. Try to find something that you can thank her for. You may not *feel the love*… but leaving on a kind note never hurts - especially if you are in a school district where teachers transfer frequently and have friends in other schools or who talk amongst themselves etc. You never know where this teacher or someone she's griped to may end up someday… so overall, I just think it's a good idea to try to leave a positive thought as the year ends… even if it's nothing more than "Thanks for teaching dc this year." If there were things she did that worked, let her know what those were - you'll possibly be helping a future student in her class.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

    ps - how does your ds feel about her? From the responses we've received, the things that teachers seemed to love the most at the end of the year were gifts from the students themselves… not that gifts from parents didn't matter. Anyway, if your ds likes to do crafty things or build things or draw etc - you could just have him make a picture or model or something like that to give her.

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    While I don't think you ever have a true "obligation" per say, I'm sure the degree to which such gifts are customary varies by location. Here it's pretty much expected that each student gives *something*. While some families go all out, small items like a $5 gift card to Starbucks in a homemade card aren't uncommon. I'd say in my area it's expected like tipping a restaurant server - you're probably going to do it unless the "service" was truly atrocious. But keep in mind that my son's school is composed of primarily middle class families.

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    I ended up writing an email to the principal with the teacher cc'ed saying the good things that the teacher did that we really appreciated and how much DS enjoyed the school. Both the principal and teacher wrote back thanking me and saying they really appreciated the feedback. I think that goes much further than something hastily picked up at the store. But only if the teacher is good enough to do that.

    DD had a long-term sub for a couple months that was horrid enough I didn't feel the need to do anything. Her regular classroom teacher came in to say goodbye and DD picked flowers from our yard and also wrote a thank you note. I think it's the thought that counts, not the actual "stuff". If there are two teachers at the same school and you give one something and not the other, that could be awkward. In that case, maybe just an thank you note or email for the good one.

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    Thanks so much for everyone's perspective. I think we will try to gather enough good things to say on a thank-you card. DS can't wait to get out of there, he's had enough. The kids are not in the same school, DD is in our public school and DS is in a private school for gifted (except that the academics turned out to be really weak but the teacher felt really good). And thanks for the reminder about the total amount of gift per year--I do need to find out about that.

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    This printable wrapped around a few Godiva chocolate bars with a heartfelt note would make me smile:

    http://www.skiptomylou.org/2013/05/03/free-printable-candy-bar-wrappers-for-teachers/


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    My DD is a self described "fashionista" and really enjoys picking out gifts that are "just right" for people she cares about. Usually she selects a piece of jewelry but has also gotten a nice scarf or special box of cookies. She really puts a lot of consideration into each one. There is a chain here in the US that offers very steep discounts plus additional 20%-30% coupons so we can get nice gifts for about $5 each. Almost without fail the individual (teacher, OT, SW, para, etc) seems to have genuinely appreciated the gift, especially because DD really has a knack for matching their individual tastes.

    It is interesting how her selection has corresponded so closely to my view of individual job performances on her behalf. Last year she had a teacher for 2nd grade who did *nothing* for her. She had a very pleasant demeanor and to outsiders seems oh so nice. But she did absolutely nothing for DD. We made her IEP more and more specific in an effort to create a connect the dots scenario that anyone could follow. And yet this particular teacher just couldn't (or wouldn't) do it. A totally wasted year for a 2E kid who really didn't have a year to waste. Despite being oh so nice DD did not include a gift for her when selecting gifts for all the adults at school who worked with her. Yeah for that one we didn't even contribute to the class gift...

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    When I taught, I appreciated the heartfelt and specific notes the most. Just FWIW.


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