Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Tis The WHAT?

Certain things really bug me! Especially when it's the holiday season and gift giving is a HUGE part of it. Who says giving a small token of appreciation to a teacher is a conflict of interest? According to Chancellor Klein, in today's New York Times Article New Rules for Teacher Gifts: Apples (but Perhaps No IPods)By SUSAN SAULNY

New York City parents who want to buy holiday gifts for teachers have a new $5 per student spending limit, according to a rule Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein imposed earlier this year.
"The rule falls under the conflict-of-interest section of the Chancellor's Regulations, and was intended to help students who could not afford to contribute money to class gifts, officials said. The regulations also state that individual gifts from students or parents to school employees should be "principally sentimental in nature and of insignificant financial value."

Here's my problem with this as a parent, teacher and an administrator...yes I wear all three hats, like many educators do.
1) My husband and I enjoy giving my children's teachers a small gift during the holidays because all year long they are GIVING TO OUR CHILDREN. There's NO Salary that can measure up to what a teacher does. Just think about it, when soldiers are in war, we do what we can to make sure they have extra; care packages, letters etc. The response from them oftentimes is "I'm just doing my job." Of course there's no comparison, but jobs where giving is the MODEL...we should be able to give back. It's also a good lesson for students.
2) Most teachers don't parade their gifts around to students who can't afford to give.
3) Why isn't administration giving teachers gifts? The old argument that teachers have so much time off isn't a viable one...or that teachers get out at 3:00.
4) I don't know about you, but I see many students able to afford many items costing more than $5.00.

Teachers work all of the time. There's never a moment we teachers aren't: attending conferences, buying supplies, on the phone with parents, attending meetings, grading...grading...and more grading, blogging, Teaching, consoling, administrating,
. Oh well, I could go on...so I will, aftercare programs, coaching, proctoring, testing, parent coffees, going back to school... (feel free to add to my list)

Anyway, during the "gift giving" season my advice to Mr. Klein would be to allow people the opportunity to give parents and students the freedom to express thanks their own way. It's really NOT A BIG DEAL.

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