The great dilemma of giving gifts to teachers

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Every year - but it often happens at Christmas too - it's always the same story: the class chat gets excited and every chat between parents always ends up on the same topic, the gift to teachers. Do it or not do it? And if so: how much to collect? What to buy?

That of the year-end gift is one a tradition that has long been widespread in Del Paese (and not only) e regulated by law. Like other public employees, in fact, even teachers cannot accept gifts, "except those of modest value occasionally made in the context of normal courtesy relations", as established by a decree issued in 2022 by the President of the Republic. This modest value is indicated as not exceeding 150 euros, but - the decree specifies - the individual administrations (therefore the individual institutions) can also provide for lower limits. We asked the parents who follow the Facebook page of to have their say on the subject and, as expected, many comments arrived.

Mauro has no doubts: "The teachers raise the children for five years, they teach them to read and write but also to be together, they settle quarrels and mitigate dislikes, they manage pre-adolescence and Is there anyone who gets stingy for five euros at the end of the year?". A post that triggers the division between those who think that the parents are raising children, not the teachers, who are only doing their job (for which no gifts are due) and those who emphasize that however it is a very special job . Ylenia writes: "It's one thing to just do a job, it's another to do it well: realize that a student has problems and create a tailor-made path to help him, or become a bit of a psychologist to support a child with parents who are separating ". Ditto Roberta: “After the family, teachers are the people who follow the children the most in their growth, doing more than what they are paid for”. And to justify the yes to the gift, Isabella and Donata use words like "education" and "gratitude".

But there are also those who add other food for thought: Emperatriz and Costanza, for example, underline that this too is a form of consumerism. While Ivana expresses opposition "because there are those who can give 100 and who can give one", so the request for money for the gift could embarrass some families, even embarrassing children. In this regard, there is no lack of suggestions: from the start, avoid involving families in difficulty (which, however, could experience the gesture as a humiliation), request a truly symbolic sum, offer gifts made by students.

Read also: Gift to teachers, what is the right price?

The theme also ignites abroad: last December a group of Scottish parents, Connect, launched an appeal to think twice before embarking on the purchase of a Christmas gift for teachers, underlining the exaggerated consumerism that exists. is now behind this custom and the difficulty it can create for destitute families. The initiative was supported by Scotland's main teachers' union and the Child Poverty Action Group. And in the same period, an ironic article on the topic of Christmas gifts to teachers by the financial journalist Clear Barrett was published on the Financial Times website.

“The question is thorny because nThere is no a priori right or wrong attitude: he is right - or rather, he is not wrong - both the parent who sees the gift as a gesture of good education, and the one who even considers him demeaning of the role of the teacher "he comments Daniela Bulgarelli, professor of developmental and educational psychology at the University of Turin. “The best way to deal with it is talk to each other serenely (preferably in person), do not assume that you are necessarily right and, when possible, seek mediation, which could be to do a useful gift to the class". A solution that is in fact widely practiced in various schools, together with donations to charity.

(Article published in May 2022 in the magazine Focus Scuola for teachers)

Meaning of Focus School

Focus Scuola is the magazine aimed at teachers of primary and lower secondary schools.
Available only by subscription, it costs 69 euros (annual subscription, 10 issues) or 99 euros (two-year subscription, 20 issues).

  • gifts to teachers
  • school parents relationship
  • 6-14 children years
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