This note was in my son’s folder at school today:
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5th – 9th
If each family donates $20.00, we can make it a GREAT TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK for all the teachers here at C___ C___.
The money will be used to buy: Breakfast, Lunch, gifts, cards & more. Please place $20.00 cash into B____ M____’s folder ASAP!
All money needs to be collected by May 2.
I don’t have an issue with announcing that it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I didn’t know, and it’s always a good idea to acknowledge people.
Still, several things bother me about this request. And it’s not just about this particular request, and it’s not about the teachers. Its about office group gifts and family group gifts and a general shift to doing things out of obligation, not because we really want to.
I hate that these days appreciation equals cash. To me showing appreciation is making a personal gesture to thank someone for doing a good job, or showing extra care, or going the extra mile. Giving cash is, to me, the most impersonal of gifts. It seems to say, “you’re not worth the time or effort for me to either figure out something you’d really enjoy,” or, “you’re not worth the time or effort to give you something of myself.” That’s why I hardly ever give cash. That said, I know lots of people like getting cash and gift cards, including me. I’m not saying anyone should never give cash, but it should be the choice of the giver.
I also don’t like the note practically mandating a $20.00 donation. Especially when gas is now $3.67 a gallon, and milk is about the same. And when my grocery bill went up 25% this month and Husband’s income didn’t. Perhaps for some people $20.00 is too much, but $10.00 would be doable. No mention is made of a lesser contribution, and no telephone number is included for questions.
And if I do decide to contribute cash, I’d like the gift to be not quite so complicated. “The money will be used to buy: Breakfast, Lunch, gifts, cards & more.?” What, are we sending them to Club Med? If we’re going to give cash then let’s give them cash, or a gift card to Target or Barnes and Noble or Outback even Publix. Heck, they’re having to pay the same high prices for food and gas that we are.
And why must everything be a group gift? I really dislike group gifts, unless it’s to pitch in for a really expensive gift that I know the recipient would love to have.
I would like this occasion’s gift to be more personal. So I’m going to bake my World Famous Banana Bread and write each of the two teachers a nice note thanking them for investing themselves in Son. I’m pretty sure they’ll feel appreciated.