How do teachers deal with gifts from students?

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Saturday, December 15, 2007
— It's the season of joy.

Joyous hearts want to share the feeling.

One way to share is to give something special to the special people in our lives.

Special people often include teachers.

We asked Janesville schoolteachers how they deal with gifts from their students and what the limits should be. Their responses are food for thoughtfulness:

-- "I have never felt that any teachers expect gifts from their students. ... The gifts at the high school should stay in the realm of cards, sharing Christmas cheer and thanks for a class well taught. When gift certificates of a monetary value are given to restaurants, etc., they can make a teacher feel uncomfortable and may make other students uneasy as well. My favorite gift would be a card with a personal message."—Lori Barry, Craig High School

-- "The look on their faces when they give you the gift is the best part. They're so excited and proud. ... I appreciate cards made by students as much as anything."—Mindy Remley, Lincoln Elementary

-- "My favorite gifts from students are ornaments, especially those with pictures. They are functional, decorative, and make me feel a bit of nostalgia when I pull them out every year to put on my Christmas tree. I have also appreciated gifts for the classroom."—Elizabeth Raduly, Jefferson Elementary

-- "As an ELL teacher (teaching English to students who speak other languages), dealing with different cultures, where refusing a gift is seen as an extreme offense, I take no chances."—Kari Alvarado, Craig High School

-- "Usually, the students simply give a card and a candy cane, and I just appreciate that the students have thought of this gesture of holiday kindness. ... My favorite gifts have been cards with personal greetings or handmade items such as cookies or candy. ...I am satisfied when students wish me happy holidays and really mean it."—Nicole Hilbelink, Craig High School

-- "As a guidance counselor who also is the chair of the scholarship committee, I do not wish to have any appearance of impropriety. I find it is best not to accept gifts. ... On occasion a student will drop off a Christmas cookie, send a daisy, or drop off a candy cane. I think not accepting these gestures might be rude, ... but generally, I think it best not to accept."—Sharyn Sheen, Craig High School

Barry added this thought for parents:

"Thanks for raising children that view their teachers as people, too. It's a joy to share the daily holiday cheer with our students in the classroom."

Last updated: 11:04 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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