It’s the end of term here, which means the usual rigmarole of buying teachers’ gifts. When I was at school in the ’80s, teachers’ gifts were pretty much unheard of. Any child who brought in a present for the teacher was looked upon as some sort of nerd who deserved a turn in the Poking Tunnel™. I believe this was something unique to my school and memory fails me as to my involvement, if any, in its invention. Anyway, the class formed two lines facing each other and the
victim chosen one would then walk (or run if they had any sense) through the ‘tunnel’ as fast as they could, receiving finger prods along the way. Ah, happy days!
How times have changed. In previous years at my children’s school in England, I bought gifts for the class teacher, plus the teaching assistants and the PE teacher. Mustn’t forget the dinner ladies. Oh, and the librarian. Not to mention the Cubs leaders, swimming instructors and piano teacher. The list went on and on. When my kids first started school, and my enthusiasm for crafts hadn’t been completely obliterated, I would help make posters, cards, hand-painted cups and themed gift baskets. One year, I actually went to the effort of making a framed picture of a tree decorated with photos of each member of the class complete with a speech bubble containing their quote about how great the teacher was. This Blue Peter phase didn’t last long and, after developing a severe intolerance to all types of glitter, paint and coloured card, I downgraded to shop bought gifts. I didn’t mind because I could easily pop into TKMaxx and find a few lovely gifts that looked like they cost £30 but really only cost £4.
In Rome this is impossible. Here I can only find gifts that look like they cost €4 but actually cost €30. And the giving frenzy seems to be of a much higher level here. I saw a pupil laden down with bags from designer shops, bottles of expensive balsamic vinegar and beautifully wrapped gift baskets. Another child had boxes from Tiffanys. There were huge bouquets of roses. Cases of wine are the norm, not single bottles. Methinks my cut-price offerings won’t cut the mustard here. Or slice the olive tapenade.
But luckily, I’ve found a group of like-minded mums and we’re going to stick to our (tight fisted) principles and club together. €15 each towards a ‘Smart Box’ – kind of like a Red Letter Day experience – for the class teacher. Job done. Hopefully, by September, all the teaching assistants, dinner ladies and other helpers will have forgotten who did or didn’t give gifts, so my children won’t be stigmatized for having a cheapskate for a mother…
What do you think? Do you like to show the teacher how much you appreciate them with a thoughtful gift? Or is it just one more chore to add to the list??