Gift-giving Etiquette for Teachers

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Teachers play a big role in their students' lives. They educate, as well as shape the ideas of their students. It is normal to want to give a token of appreciation for a teacher's hard work. It is important to learn the etiquette behind acceptable and unacceptable gift giving for teachers.

Appropriate Times

  • The best time to give a teacher a gift is around the holidays, teacher-appreciation week or at the end of the year. It may seem like a good idea to buy a birthday present for a teacher, but this is not the optimal time to give a gift. The present should signify your appreciation for the teacher's hard work, not the celebration of their birth. Also, birthday presents are typically reserved for friends and family, so it is not quite appropriate for a student to buy a birthday present. Most importantly, gifts should never be given right before grades are given for a paper or report card. This can be seen as a bribe for a better grade.

Gifts to Give

  • Small, thoughtful gifts should be given to a teacher. Lavish, expensive gifts are inappropriate for a teacher/student relationship. It's also important to think outside the box, since most teachers get a pile's worth of mugs, picture frames and candles. Flowers, stationery and food items are all good examples of gifts to give to a teacher.

What Not To Give

  • A student should never give a teacher anything that's too personal. A teacher-student relationship is a lot like a relationship between an employee and boss, so the same rules regarding gifts apply. Cash is a completely inappropriate gift, as well as another gift that could be mistaken as a bribe.

Giving Privately

  • The best way to give a teacher a gift is to leave it on her desk when she's not looking with a note saying it's from you. Not only is it a nice surprise for the teacher, but there's no pressure for her to react in a particular way to the gesture. Do not give a gift in front of the class. This can be seen as a way to gain credit for something, instead of a selfless act. It can also be seen by students as a way of gaining the teacher's favor.

Considerations

  • Although there are rules of etiquette to consider, it's important not to put too much pressure on yourself to get the perfect gift. Put yourself in the teacher's shoes and think about what you would want to receive. Etiquette is about being respectful, gracious and making everyone around you feel at ease.

References

  • Photo Credit apple center image by Claudia Soto from Fotolia.com
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