The Gift that a Present Brings.

Today was the last day of term for the children, and of course the school corridors have been filled with the squeals of delight, laughter and happiness of the children as they get to play with their own toys and wear their own clothes.

The chatter in the staffroom has consisted of "how many boxes of maltesers have you had?", "I've had three bottles of rose, my children know me so well" and "Little Johnny brought me a beautiful bunch of flowers, look how gorgeous they are!" and it is lovely to hear such jollity from everyone at such a fraught time of year. But I've had a little cry in the toilets four times today.

I have worked in that school for six and a half years and been a teacher for ten years. Since I've gone back after having The Boy, I work part-time and cover the teacher's non-contact time.

Not one child or parent has given me a card or present as a 'thank you' present, and I am the only person in the school to not receive anything. Cleaners, secretaries, dinner ladies, cook, caretaker, LSAs, head teacher and teachers all had something. Even the lollipop lady had flowers and chocolate. But me?

It is not about the chocolates or wine or value of anything. It is not that I am having a sulk because I am the one who has been left-out. Presents from children at the end of the year are a token to show that they and, let's face it because they buy them, the parents appreciate your work with their child.

I have read much this week on twitter from people complaining about having to buy presents for their child's teacher and I understand that frustration. But no-one is forcing you to spend Β£10+ per adult. Just a home-made card from a child is brilliant. The nicest present I ever had a was a German chocolate-cake from one of my students who knew that it was my favourite and had helped her mother bake it. (Incidentally, my most awkward present was Β£30 cash in an envelope)

Don't think of it as a tip or an obligation; think of it as a token of your thanks for how hard that the teacher has worked with your child. Think of it as a sign of recognition that teaching is an all-consuming job. Think of it as just a small gesture to show that they are appreciated.

Because I currently feel worthless and unappreciated.

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  1. Laura Weight says

    Oh no πŸ™ bless you. thats not very fair. I'm sure you are appreciated and I know you do a fantastic job, i'm just really sorry no one brought you a card it. did you get hugs at least?

  2. says

    Please don't feel worthless and unappreciated, as you say, it's the parents that have been a bit thoughtless, not the children, I'm sure the children really valued their time with you!
    I have been organising the card and present for my son's class, (they don't break up until next wednesday) and it is definitely easier to get some parents to join in and take part that others, but I'm sure deep down they all appreciate the teacher and TA's. I know one mum was busy getting ready to go on holiday and just couldn't ge ther head round to sorted out the comment for the card and contribution for the gift, but I think she was just so busy being a mutli-tasking mum, that she had 'dropped one of the balls' that she was trying to juggle – it wasn't personal.
    Anyway, just wanted to say, even though you might have felt a bit down, try to be in the 'now', rather than re-living earlier in the day and do something nice for yourself – have a lovely bubble bath and give yourself a pat on the back. Have a look at my Mellow Mums blog for some tips πŸ™‚
    Take care x

  3. says

    I'm so glad I've just read this because it hadn't even occurred to me to buy a card of present for my kids' teachers. This kind of thing was always taken care of by my wife before we swapped roles (I forgot birthdays, too) so thanks for the prompt. You are absolutely right: we have much to thank our teachers for. They mould and nurture our children when they are not in our charge and a gesture of thank you is the least we can do. As soon as my wife gets home from work, I'll head off down the shops to correct this oversight. I can understand your being upset. Small compensation, but my kids' teachers will get a pressie as a direct result of what you've written here.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Just have to say that a year later and your comment, action and resultant post is one of the best bits of my blogging for me. The fact that someone took on board what I said and did something as a result made me feel so much better, thank you!

  4. @somethingblue_2 says

    I can't believe nobody gave you a card πŸ™ I must admit I'm a little worried about the protocol re giving presents etc once JW goes to school, I'd hate to get it wrong. You do a fantastic job and I can fully understand why you would feel unappreciated after a day like today. Chin up though, you now have 6 or so weeks off with your gorgeous boy xxxx

  5. says

    I was the EFl teacher in a school for many years and did not have my own class – however i taught 0ver 100 children compared with the 30 that each class teacher taught. Let's just say I know how you feel. I'm so sorry this has happened – people just don't think.

  6. says

    I am so sorry that no one even thought to get you a card. As you say a home made card means possibly more than a store bought one. I can totally understand why you are upset. I hope you have a much better day tomorrow x

  7. says

    I'm sorry to hear this has upset you so much but I'm sure it's not because you're not appreciated. From a parents perspective I ask my kids if they want to get their teacher a present, Hanna always says yes, Sam usually says no, it's a boy thing. When he was younger I always got the teachers a present but I have never bought for the teaching assistant (except in Reception) or a teacher covering for their 'usual' class teacher, not because I don't appreciate the work that they do but because it's difficult to know where to draw the line. It's easy to overlook the part-timers especially if you don't have a regular class………
    When I worked in after-school club most of the kids got the supervisor a present at the end of term or at Christmas and I felt a little bit hurt if I didn't get something too because I was the one that they spent more time with, played with, and had a laugh with….but the parent probably didn't know that and usually they are the one buying the present.
    Don't be sad, I'm sure it is just like Midlife Singlemum said…people just don't think.

  8. Cherrymum1972 says

    Its very hard working part time and getting recognized for what you do in the same way full time staff do. I always felt that hour for hour I probably worked harder than full time staff as I felt I had more to prove. Part time workers and part time mums try so hard to do both jobs properly, and that sense of guilt coupled with not being appreciated is crippling. The uk public sectors would fall apart without us part time working mothers.

  9. Nathan Cornish says

    I am sure everyone of the parents appreciates your contribution to the way their child has developed this year. I am sure all the children will miss you through the holidays. Every child needs a great teacher who cares

  10. says

    It's hard to know where to stop. We draw the line at teachers and teaching assistants assigned to their class. For me, that's 2 teachers and 3 teaching assistants and for me, as a parent on a small budget, that's more than plenty. The HT took reception on Fridays for most of the year and we haven't got her anything. I suspect that's what you have fallen victim to. I think the children have been taught by pretty much all of the teaching staff at some point in the year. We did an extra present for the reception class teacher who went on Maternity Leave three weeks ago. The person covering her till the end of term – the Deputy Head – we have got a present for, because he has taught the children during the year and both of the children have got a lot out of being taught by them.

  11. says

    Oh it's hard working part time in a school when you don't have responsibility for a class. You do feel a bit out of it. I went back for 2 days after I had my daughter and covered PPA time and was never in the same class twice. The advantage is you can stay out of the politics and of course you can actually leave once the marking is done – but I did feel a bit left out when it came to end of term rituals.

    I am sure you're appreciated by the children and the staff. It is just one of the reasons why it is nicer to have your own class. That and the fact I lost load of stickers, pens and two jumpers because I kept moving from class to class.

  12. KatieB says

    Oh I'm so sorry chick, I'm very certain it doesn't mean that you're not appreciated, I'm sure you are very much so. People just don't think (or assume someone else will do it so they don't have to bother). Please don't take it personally, you're clearly just an unfortunate victim of circumstance, the time you spend with those children matters very much even if no one tells you that. I would be over the moon if you were my children's teacher and you would be extremely appreciated, for you do such a wonderful job with the boy. Sending big hugs xxxx

  13. LagosMum says

    I know I tweeted with you earlier about my experience when leaving school last year… But forgot to tell you – what felt worse was when a parent said (a couple of years ago): 'X insisted that we have to buy you this.' *That* made me feel so much worse because the parent didn't think a gift of appreciation was necessary! Am I being ridiculous?

    • LagosMum says

      Sorry – having said that, I am aware that it's my job to give the children an education and not expect a gift of appreciation. But I didn't need to be told that.

  14. Msissa says

    Oh, bumholes to feeling like that πŸ™ you know the kids enjoy their time with you, don't you? They just don't have the capacity to pass that on to their parents yet (it's a tiny – but very important – part of their day), and parents just can't manage more than they already do.
    Nobody ever remembers the speech & language therapist either…I had a couple of years of being bothered (it was the lovely comments in the teacher's cards that upset me) and now I just make sure I eat ALL the biscuits and chocolates that end up in the staff room.
    Big hugs x

  15. says

    Oh hon, so sorry you didn't get anything. You fully deserve a massive thank you too and it sounds a bit unfair. *Hugs* for you. I hope your day got better and the 6 weeks holiday goes some way to making up for it. We know you are worth it!!

  16. says

    Big hugs – the role of a teacher is so important regardless of whether you work part time or not. I'm sure the kids appreciate your hard work hun xx


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