What is the deal with all of the gifts given to elementary education teachers these days? What happened to little Johnny showing appreciation for Miss Smith with a shiny apple? When did it turn into mandatory gifts for teacher birthdays, Christmas, staff appreciation days and end-of-the-year teacher gifts?
I can think of no other profession where it is commonplace to fund and provide such excessive celebrations for its employees. Especially ones that have health care, summer vacations, increasingly random school days off, etc.…
(By the way – I was a high school teacher for a few years, so I’m not talking out of my ass here…)
And, as I have observed, this phenomena only happens in elementary school. These teachers get paid on the same scale as junior high and high school teachers, but it feels mandated for parents to give, celebrate, recognize, etc. for this subset of educators. Why is this?
Are our elementary school children such assholes that in order to retain elementary teachers we parents have to go overboard with all of these celebrations?
It’s not like bribing the teacher for better elementary grades is worth anything. Elementary grades, in the grand scheme of life, don’t mean jack shit. Quick, what did you get in math on your third grade report card? Can’t remember, can you? See what I mean?
Think about where you work. What happens on your birthday? Do you get a whole slew of people bringing gifts that were selected from a list of favorite things that you disseminated when you were first hired?
You just go to work and do your job.
Personally, these mini and all-too-frequent celebrations feel like the forced tip/gratuity included policy that some restaurants invoke – which pisses me off. Tips and extra shit should be given for going above and beyond, not just doing what is expected. And if your teacher is going above and beyond, and your kid feels compelled to show his/her teacher their appreciation, by all means LET THEM. Your kid should do it, not you. Just don’t make it mandatory for all us parents to give for every little thing please.
Teachers are important, don’t get me wrong. But I have a feeling they’d rather see the money parents pour into these bullshit gifts go towards other things that would support them better. Like hiring an art teacher or helping to pass smaller class size initiatives, things of that nature.
But I bet above all, these cherished elementary school teachers would rather we as parents give them the best gift a teacher can get… a respectful child. And, as a bonus gift, a non-pussy parent that can recognize when their kid is being an asshole and support the teacher when warranted… which let’s face it, is the vast majority of the time.
I guess if all that fails, there is always a Starbucks gift card.