Should you buy your child’s teacher a gift at Christmas?

At Christmas time it isn’t unusual to exchange gifts with friends, family and loved ones. But over the years an unspoken tradition seems to have surfaced, with many parents buying presents for their child’s school teacher at the end of term. While some see it as a simple token of gratification, it can soon spark rivalry and competition between parents.

In a recent survey, Mumnset found that one in ten parents spend £25 on Christmas presents for their child’s school teacher. It also revealed that a shocking 45% of the parent’s asked felt that there was a culture of ‘out-doing’ each other, while 8% would buy a gift as they didn’t want to appear mean compared to the other parents.

This unhealthy attitude towards present giving is not now, and another survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) from 2010 found that 93% of those questioned received gifts throughout the year, noting opera tickets, champagne, Tiffany bracelets and other treats worth well more than £25 as just some of the types of presents that were given.

Unfortunately, no matter how genuine intentions may be, the act of buying a teacher any form of present comes with various connotations of bribery, favouritism and ‘showing off’, as highlighted by the results of the survey above. So while this tradition does not need to be forgotten forever – with many children enjoying giving gifts to their tutor – it can be difficult to know what, or how much to spend on such a gift.

There are various gift-guides online (with presents all priced under £25!) to offer some inspiration that goes beyond the simple box of chocolates. However, for a low-key token of gratitude this remains a staple, popular choice that will be enjoyed by any treat loving teacher!

Ultimately, any decision towards buying a present for your child’s teacher should reflect your personal budget and views. To avoid the rivalry outlined above, dropping the gift off to the teacher before or after school, out of view of other children and parents can ensure you and your child distance yourself from being part of any competition.

So how much will you be spending on your child’s teacher this year? What is the culture towards gift-giving at your child’s school? Is there a policy towards teachers accepting presents?

Let us know in the comments below, or share your views with other parents in our online forum!

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