Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Teacher's Pet

Ok, so after three months, The Dictator "graduated" her Friday morning, two hour, "classes."

Parents were invited to hang out on the last day. So, of course, I went. I had too. I mean, The Dictator "graduated" her two-year old class! How could I miss it?

Anyway, as soon as I arrived (Fashionably late, of course - some things never change!) I noticed a counter in the classroom was covered in presents, and gift certificates for Starbucks and Chapters. All for the teacher.

I'm not the most on-the-ball mother. I'm not. But it's my first time BEING a mother, so how was I to know you were supposed to bring a present for the "teacher" of a two hour class, once a week, for three months, for a two year-old?

Of course, I remember being a kid in class and bringing my teachers a gift at the end of the year. But I was with that teacher, five days a week, all day, for ten months.

Anyway, I felt awful for being so stupid for not knowing that you were supposed to bring the teacher a gift. (And, to tell you the truth, The Dictator likes the teenage-assistants in class, better than the teacher.)

Thankfully, at The Jewish Community Centre, where the classes were held, there is also a gift shop. I ran into it, and bought the teacher a $75 gift. It was a pretty necklace. I think she'll like it. I know, I know. $75. But it was that - or a bookmark.

Of course, the gift, wrapped in the bag from the Jewish Community Centre, reeked of "This was a last minute gift. I'm so stupid I didn't know I was supposed to bring you a gift" gift.

When you buy a last minute gift, it has to be a good gift. Right? But things have certainly changed.

My best friend Robo, who has four children, said that, between all her children and all the classes they attend, she has to buy ten gifts. That adds up.

But at least I'm learning. Always bring the diaper bag. Always buy the teacher gift...This learning curve, I tell you. It's big.

And, now I still feel guilty for not buying the two assistants in class a gift too. So, I'm going too. But what? What do you get teenage assistants of a two-year old, once a week, class? Frankly, is it rude to hand them cash? Because if I were a teenager that's what I'd want. (It also makes life easier on my end.)

But, it feels too weird to do that...or is it? And now I have to find these teenagers too. Argh!


Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

What a generous gift! I tend to "overgive" when it comes to people who take care of my girls

And I don't see any reason why teenagers would object to cash.

1:45 PM

Blogger Jennifer P said...

Here I was worried about saving for my kids education -- now gifts too? Definately gift certificates for the assistants. The mall, Starbucks, the Gap...and if the don't like them, send them to me.

1:47 PM

Blogger metro mama said...

When Cakes goes to school, her teachers are getting a thank-you note from her.

For the assistants - Starbucks gift certs?

5:42 PM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I had such a struggle with the daycare teacher gifts at Christmas. I went through this whole issue of how much is just right/not enough. Because do you overspend and look like you are one-upping or do you just guess?
My friends were so sick of the issue.
ANd I thought htat a gift certificate for Shoppers Drug Mart would be cool (I would like that) but everyone I asked thought it was insulting.
I debated for months over the Christmas gifts and I made a gift basket filled with stuff including a Gap gift certificate. They seemed to like it.
And then when we left the daycare I was really attached to this one teacher (as was my son) and we made her a mug at one of those pottery places. It was so sweet.
But, graduation from a class? That's kind of weird. Like, you don't buy your swimming teacher a gift.
It's so tough.
By the way - I don't think cash is tacky.

7:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

gifts for teachers are a whole lot different from what they were when i was a kid... i am a teacher and this year i recieved over $700 worth of gift cards from the students and families in my class. (This was obviously a good year!)Although this may seem excessive,i would argue that the people who look after children are guiding many peoples prized possessions and thus certainly deserve a gift card or two.
anyways go with a gift card to the mall or aritzia for the teenage girls. they'll love that.
also - i read your blog religiously and love it! (though i do miss you post column
:-( )

10:57 PM

Blogger Petite Mom Blogger said...

My kids aren't in school yet so I havent had to deal with the gifts and they may never have to if I homeschool.

If they do go to school, their teacher will get a small personalized gift.

I say give the teens cash. They'll love it!

5:28 AM

Blogger littlepinkcar said...

repeat after me: CASH IS KING. especially for teens. get a little blank note card and write 'thanks from the dictator' in it and stuff it with a $20 (or whatever) in each card à la 'gratuity envelope' system that we use at the hairdressers/spa.

8:53 AM

Anonymous chelle said...

hmm who is to say a nice thank you card with some cash inside is not a good gift?

I am in awe the things I have to look forward to when Becca goes to school! I think I need to start making jam or something! I will be the Jam Mom! hehe

8:53 AM

Blogger Mom101 said...

I so hate the whole gifting teachers thing. It's my understanding that the NYC private school teachers encourage ENCOURAGE cash gifts.

I am not ready for this.

10:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too had to get into the business of getting gifts for daycare teachers at Christmas. A friend of mine at work told me that her son's first grade teacher sent a note to the parents saying that she had a wish list for Christmas and they were all things she could share with her little friends. The list was comprised of materials that she wanted for her classroom but was not part of the school budget: certain books, CDs, special art supplies.


2:54 PM

Anonymous Naomi said...

I have to tell you, this is shocking to me.

FIrst off, that's a very generous gift, and very nice.

As a teacher (albeit a high school teacher), i personally think the tacky part was the teacher leaving all the gifts sitting out for others to see. For a once a week, 3 month class? I don't think a gift is required at all.

Then again, I don't think a gift is ever REQUIRED.

I dread when my son goes to school!

(I actually got 3 gifts this year, as well as some trees planted in Israel, and I was VERY touched!! Gifts in high school are very rare!!)

5:18 PM

Anonymous Nancy said...

I do give gifts to our girls' day care providers, but I'm with you -- I would never have thought to get something for a teacher that had such a short-term interaction with my kids. Geez, now I'm wondering if I should have brought a gift for Mimi's ballet class teacher... (we missed the last day of class so I don't know if anyone else did the gift thing.)

I think cash for the teens would be fine, and much appreciated by them. We did provide cash tips for the teen assistants during my daughter's birthday party a couple of months back -- just $5 each (which the locale suggested), but hopefully it was appreciated.

5:51 PM

Blogger JennC said...

HMV gift certs. They'll certainly love that...

In France it's the norm too and every year, it completely slips my mind.

But then I'm the odd foreigner mom so I'm generally forgiven...

6:50 AM

Blogger Ali said...

i'm very big on gift cards for teachers.
usually starbucks or chapters.
they ALWAYS appreciate it - much more than some little trinket that they'll either throw away or end up regifting.

8:09 AM

Anonymous Melissa said...

I would buy a small gift for a teacher that my child had all year, but a once per week one hour class? I don't think so!

7:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm - I always bought my kids teaches a stress mask and a card that thanked them saying that the world might be a better place in 100 years because they were important in the life of a child...I am betting that they thought the card was cheesy, but really needed the stress mask.

9:21 AM

Blogger ninepounddictator said...

Just an add on.

I do think teachers should receive gifts. Small or big, at the very least a token that you appreciate them. I love the idea of handmade gifts, also the teacher who asked for things for her class.

Teachers have one of the toughest jobs around. And, whether they expect presents or not, should be irrelevant.

The deserve it.

1:35 PM

Anonymous Miss Pink said...

In High school you don't have to get your teachers gifts because you have too many. I got my english teacher a gift at Christmas and she cried because she never gets gifts from her students.

7:32 PM


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