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Go Ask Mom

Lynda Loveland: Hitting them when they're down

Posted February 19, 2014

Lynda Loveland

Teacher Appreciation Day is coming up in May and this year may be very different than last. The Wake County School System is reviewing their teacher gift policy.

It sounds like it started innocently enough. The policy is vague and they’re trying to define it a little better. But it may end up being a big pain in the rear for a lot of people. The review may result in a dollar limit set on personal gifts and a ban on gift cards as personal gifts, emphasis on “may." It’s not a done deal.

First of all, I’m not worried about someone trying to buy influence with a teacher. Really?

Secondly, gift cards allow a parent to give a teacher exactly what they want. If that's how I want to say thank you for educating my child than so be it! I can only imagine the backlog of candles, fake apple items, chocolate, bath supplies and coffee mugs that teachers must have at home.

Maybe part of this review is about parent’s feeling pressure to give teachers something. Pressure??? IF there’s any pressure, it’s to give something monetary to the teachers because they don’t get paid squat! North Carolina ranks 46th overall in teacher pay, 46th!

Did I miss something or are our teachers responsible for educating our next generation of leaders? Here’s an idea, let’s freeze teacher pay for a few years, cut down on assistants and take away extra compensation for acquiring higher education. Oh wait, that looks familiar. I think I saw that listed as the definition for insanity!

There’s a much bigger issue to be addressed than whether or not teachers can get gift cards. I tell you what, if teachers get a raise, a significant one, I won’t buy them a gift card. Deal?

Disclaimer: I realize teacher pay is decided by the state and not the Wake County School System. I’m just highlighting a bigger issue.

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's The Mix Morning Show. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here for her Facebook page.

13 Comments

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  • MindBomb Feb 22, 2014

    As an instructor, I did not get into the profession to receive any thanks or appreciation, let alone gifts. Many people are in thankless jobs where they are overworked an underpaid. What makes teachers think that they are the only ones experiencing that? No, it's not right that we are low paid, but at the same time, teaching has never been known as a profession with huge salaries. I have never wanted or expected gifts from my students, and I have a real problem with teachers complaining about the mugs & cheap gifts they receive. Did it ever occur that the student in your class who gave you that cheap dollar store gift, that they probably couldn't afford in the first place, did so because they enjoy your class and look up to you? Show some appreciation for the thought, cheap gift or not. The gift I want to receive is that they learned the subject matter in my class, along with valuable life lessons, and expanded their minds to ask questions & learn more about themselves and the world.

  • SaveEnergyMan Feb 22, 2014

    ELeigh, no kidding. My wife is a teacher and we maximize that $250 teacher tax deduction for buying supplies every year, usually spending well over $300. Schools can't or won't buy the needed supplies because of cuts. And no, if we use a gift card from a student we don't count that against our taxes. Thanks for the message Lynda.

  • selk1997 Feb 22, 2014

    I say ban all the flowers, chocolates, mugs and other non-necessities and allow gift cards to stores like Staples, Target, Walmart, or other office supply place so the teachers can purchase supplies for their classroom that the ever shrinking school budget does now allow.

  • Josh Anderson Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    I fully agree that you should be able to give a teacher a gift. I also tend to agree with you that teachers might be underpaid. Unfortunately, I don't believe that they should complain. Why? Teacher salaries are well known going into the job. If you don't want to get paid that poorly and stick around at that pay rate, don't be a public school teacher, or at least not one in NC. If you get to college and your advisor or your parent don't give you all the facts about the teaching profession, they have failed you. Teaching is a profession where you are not going to get rich, it is supposed to be about the reward of helping a child accomplish something.

  • jwstevens04 Feb 21, 2014

    This teacher thanks you for your supportive comments!

  • br549znc Feb 21, 2014

    You should probably go ahead and buy them a gift card because the possibility of them getting a significant raise isn't that great.

  • Amy Smathers Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    I bow to you! As a former teacher and a friend of many, thank you thank you thank you!!

  • Taffy Feb 20, 2014

    Way to go Linda. I fully agree. Because of the continually decreasing budgets for supplies, the teachers put in their own money for supplies as well as asking parents to by simple basics. It's not like they're making a lot of money for the time, effort & love they put into teaching our children! Maybe the teachers can forward all the apples, mugs and assorted sundries to the state legislature in a huge truck & let them then drop this stupid idea!

  • bhenderson Feb 20, 2014

    If you want to "thank" teachers, you should show it by telling them, as well as putting it in writing. I think that the problem with gift giving is that not all families can afford to buy gifts. It makes the ones that don't have a gift to give feel bad. I think that is awful.

  • kelsland Feb 20, 2014

    I completely agree with you Lynda. To one of the previous posters...perhaps rather than getting angry with your schools PTA for working to appreciate teachers join in and help. It isn't about amount or what you give....just find some way to give appreciation to teachers. Our teachers are paid so poorly and give so much to our children that I personally think the least we can do is give them a gift...a gift in my opinion still doesn't give teachers the appreciation they should have for all they do but its the only thing in my power to do along with volunteering and helping them in anyway I can. Gift cards are the best thing to give teachers because it gives them the option of getting exactly what they need for their classroom.

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