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Is it time to re-think end-of-year gifts for teachers?

Last updated:
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Friday, May 17, 2019
A teacher holding a bunch of yellow flowers surrounded by children

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching. Can you believe it? It seems no time at all since we were all taking photos of our children in their new one-size-too-big-but-they’ll-grow-into-it school uniforms at the front door, doesn’t it? Where has the year gone already?

Up and down the country, parents’ WhatsApp groups are buzzing with chat about a thank-you gift for the teacher.

“Is anyone buying Miss [insert name here] a thank-you gift?”

“What do we do about a thank you gift for the teacher this year? Anyone got any ideas?”

“Are we doing individual gifts this year, or does anyone want to club together?”

“Oh, I don’t know what to buy? What does she even like?”

And so on…

A quick Google search for ‘teachers’ gift’ and you’ll be instantly inundated with ideas. But does your child’s teacher really want another ‘World’s Best Teacher’ mug? #groan Or, a personalised plywood something or other? #yawn

We don’t think so.

And nor do the 1,200 teachers and teaching assistants who took part in a Mumsnet surveyin 2018, which revealed some of the extraordinarily bad gifts they have actually received. Partly-full bottle of wine, anyone?

· A bag of potatoes

· Jewellery “which I'm sure was stolen for me”

· A re-gifted reed diffuser from the Christmas raffle (“I know because I’d put the raffle ticket on it”)

· An opened, part-drunk bottle of wine

· A “Plan Your Wedding” book (“I was in no way close to getting married”)

· A thong

· A stolen car radio in a carrier bag

· A box of half-eaten chocolates

· Lube

· Aftershave (“I’m female")


Interestingly, nearly two-thirds (64%) of teachers and teaching assistants who took part in the survey said they would like a heartfelt, personal note from their pupils. And 57% would like to receive the same from parents or carers.

Two thirds of the survey participants (62%) say they donate unwelcome gifts to charity and 42% say they re-gift them.

The survey discovered that 68% of teachers and teaching assistants worry about children feeling left out if their parents can’t afford to contribute.

It also revealed that retail gift vouchers are the most desirable purchased gift for teachers and teaching assistants. Ta dah!

“This feels like a classic gifting struggle: hassled parents trying to do the nice thing but not at all sure what to give (and occasionally going very wrong indeed), and teachers inwardly quaking at an avalanche of scented candles and wishing they could have something cost-free and personal. The ideal solution seems to be a low-pressure class collection for a voucher and a scrapbook full of messages from the small people concerned.” – Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder

There are others, too, who you may like to say thank you to with a group gift. Sports coaches, for example, or music or theatre group leaders. There are so many wonderful people who give up their valuable time in the evenings and weekends to encourage our children in their favourite activities.

Certainly, no parent nor child should ever feel under pressure to buy their teacher or coach a gift. A handwritten note in a homemade card or even just saying ‘thank you’ directly to that special person will always be the number one.

But if you do decide you’d like to organise a low-key, no pressure class or group collection, then we’re perfectly placed to help. The beauty of a GiftRound collection is that it’s super-easy and efficient. (And what’s more, we don’t do mugsJ)

· Create a Collection

· Invite contributors

· Manage the Collection

· Choose a gift voucher from one of our quality gift providers

· Transfer the collection money to the organisers bank account and purchase any gift or give the collection as a monetary gift directly into the recipient’s bank account

Take a look at how quick and easy it is to organise your collection.

Written by our guest blogger:  Becky Smith