Should teachers get presents at the end of term?

Posted on March 26, 2010

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Chocolates might not be as swish as a handbag, but they're more ethical

I’m guessing if you’re a PGCE student or a teacher reading this, the resounding answer is “yes!”

My mum’s a teacher and I would absolutely love it when she came home on the last day of school with a veritable selection of chocolate, wine and other goodies. I was particularly happy with the alcoholic contributions – as she’s a non-drinker, any booze given to her took a direct route to me and my sister. Weyhey.

But, as always, it’s all fun and games until somebody spoils the party. And that somebody is The Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

According to a recent article from the BBC, present-giving has become increasingly commercialised. The ATL claimed that, in a recent survey, 93 per cent of its members had received gifts. The most popular? Chocolate, of course. But the lists provided by those surveyed also showed opera tickets, a mulberry handbag and champagne.

I think I’d be more inclined to be a teacher if I got those kind of presents at the end of term.

But therein lies the problem. The union is concerned that the whole business is getting rather competitive, and some teachers say its unhealthy for parents to be competing in this manner. Some could even interpret the practice as bribery to get their children better grades.

Personally, I don’t think a box of chocolates does much harm.  The lavish offerings probably aren’t necessary, though, and could be interpreted to have some ulterior motive. There are surely better ways to thank a teacher –  I know my mother, for one, much prefers a handwritten sentiment from a child who’s only just learned to write.

Image from Smaku‘s photostream @ Flickr.

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