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Teacher Gifts


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Can someone help with the proper etiquette involving Christmas gifts for your child's dance teachers? I find it to be a bit of an uncomfortable situation either way (to give or not to give...and then how much to spend) as dd has several teachers, and one of them is the dance studio director. I've noticed in past years that many (but not all) children bring in a "little something" for the teachers and I never know if it is "expected" or is it looked upon as trying to "buy favoritism".


If it is, indeed, customary, what types of things do people find are "acceptable" gifts?

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DD has been going to the same studio for 9 years now. Most of the time we have given a gift to each of her instructors. Just something small that we know they would like based on their likes/dislikes. We haven't done this every year, but when we get a chance we do. One of the things we have learned is to not get ballet-related gifts. The instructors get so many ballet-related gifts every year, they wind up with too many things hanging around and some times they just want a break from ballet. We have also tried gift certificates to restaurants and other shops that we know they enjoy frequenting. It doesn't have to be a large amount since it is the thought that counts.


I don't think an instructor would be offended by a gift because people give gifts for school teachers as well. On the flip side, I also don't think they would be offended if you don't get them something. I think they understand that sometimes it just isn't in the budget to do so.

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  • Administrators

autumnrose, I do not expect gifts from my students, although many of them do like to give something. It is certainly not expected, and definitely is not about buying favoritism in any way whatsoever!


As far as what to give, that is totally up to ones' ability to give and what they want to do. Since nothing is expected, it can be anything or nothing. There is a thread somewhere, a big thread, about gifts. Check through the parents forums and Cross Talk, or do a search for gifts or Christmas gifts. :innocent:

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My DD likes to give something small to each of her teachers and the people who play piano for her classes. She usually makes them an ornament or bookmark or something else handmade along with a card she's made that usually has a note inside about how much she enjoys her ballet classes. I'd say about half the kids give something to the teachers - often times it is flowers or a flowering plant.

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  • Administrators

Just a little suggestion from a teacher....nothing with a ballet theme like ceramic pointe shoes or ballerina ornaments! I'm afraid most of us are somewhat overloaded with those. Personally, a Starbucks card is a GREAT idea :innocent::D:wacko:

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Gifts from students are not expected at all. Although they are appreciated, not necessary. Full agreement with Victoria here, no ceramic pointe shoes or ballet related objects of art please. :innocent:

Edited by vrsfanatic
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A gift is a small token for those who you have appreciation for. I in no way expect a gift, ever. I have received lovely homemade candy (chocolate buckeyes!) that the kids made with their parents. I have also received the other end of the spectrum of a gift card with a generous (almost overly generous) amount on it. I never worry about it feeling like 'buying' a teacher's favor, because you cannot buy my favor. I look at it in the spirit it was given. Children love to give things...


This is a tough economic time. Honestly, a small card with a hand written note from the child or family is just wonderful. I gave my students candy canes (for the older) and holiday erasers (for the younger). They were thrilled. It doesn't take much to let people know they are appreciated :innocent:

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Ditto to what others have said, gifts are not expected, but I've never seen them as an attempt to curry favor, either. And no ballet themed things! When I was teaching multiple pre ballet classes a week, I once recieved in total 69 (no, I'm not kidding) ballet themed gifts. Not that the thought wasn't lovely, of course. It was....but I was drowning in a sea of painted pink tulle. My favorite gift from a student was a hand drawn card and a long stemmed pink rose.

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In the studio my DD attends, there is a request for no gifts to the teachers. Instead, they provide an opportunity to give a gift to a needy person, in their name. This year my DD's class "adopted" a needy family (the Salvation Army acts as the go-between) and each student had the opportunity to give something that the family needed, in the teachers name. WE gave some baby clothes, others gave diapers and other necessary things. Last year, her class "adopted" a soldier.


The studio sets all this up, and it is a really nice way to give to people in need at the holidays.


I am not a teacher, but I imagine that the best gift a student can give is hard work and a good attitude.

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  • Administrators

Amen to that last sentence, Myers! :yes:


I like what your studio does instead of teacher gifts. Very nice idea, and I think children really love the idea of giving something to help other children who don't have what they have.

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I just want to add a little something else...


My child has seen some ballet themed things in the store and begged to get it for her ballet teacher (the other one, not me, lol!). And, while I know that the 'ballet theme' stuff is not high on the list :green: , my child thought of the teacher when she saw the item. So, we got her ballet themed hand towels. She was so gracious when my daughter gave them to her.


I have more ballet Christmas ornaments than I can count. For many years I did not put them on the tree. Now, my daughter absolutely loves putting every ballerina on the tree. And, she makes comments on their technique, lol!!!! And, I can fondly remember each child who gave me the ornaments, and I tell her about each kid while we decorate the tree.


So, really, it *IS* the thought that counts :yes:


p.s., though, my absolute most treasured gift is the handwritten notes from students. I have saved every single one, and sometimes look through them, and they still make me cry. :blushing:

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b1...that is wonderful to hear about the notes you receive. I always try to write these because as a parent, I appreciate so much what my children's ballet teachers do for them. I see these as an opportunity to express my gratitude to them in a way that I might not be able to as well verbally.


I have given little edible treats...jelly beans or chocolates or home-made cookies. I figure, everyone eats, and even if it is a treat that the teacher doesn't care for, maybe a family member would like them. This way, when they are gone they are gone and there is no question as to what to do with the gift! I agree with others, though, that it is the thought that counts. My two littlest dancers love to give their teachers a little something.

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I suspect that Miss Victoria enjoys those Starbucks drinks!


In my experience. the gifts never need to be large...the tokens are always appreciated. However, the time to begin thinking about these is in the Summer.....have supplies on hand and help your DKs make cards or some sort of gift that is handmade. We have done in the past, bookmarks, jars of pre-made mixes for soups and cookies. For those, decide on a theme, collect everything, and either put together on a weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. Now that we are into scrapbooking, we are thinking of making sets of easy to make note cards for next year. This will be a Summer project.


As a child my DD put together shots of a production in an inexpensive dollar bin album. Years later we heard that this particular gift was fondly remembered and kept. Teachers rarely see actual photos now everything seems to go digital, and that the kids are putting them in their phones and on Facebook and such.


However, when in stress mode, we have relied on the ever-accessible and ever-appreciated gift card. $5 or $10, it doesn't matter, it is always easy to get and always appreciated.


And another idea is that I have seen student class levels get together and organize a gift for each teacher.....if each student chips in a dollar or two, the gift becomes one that has substance. Quite often the students are able to figure out a fondness or hobby or a particular avocation that a teacher has, and then can acquire a gift certificate for that. Often music comes to mind...an Amazon GC so that new class music CD, or just a movie that was desired, can be purchased. If enough $ are collected, then I have seen teachers being given a lunch or dinner for two out to a favorite restaurant.


Finally, I agree that those handwritten notes are special. As a teacher in my past, these have been treasured, and bring out the best in both the giver and the recipient. Often, when kids are putting words to their memories and thoughts, the sweetest and most memorable moments are revealed. Those are easily the sweetest of all gifts.


Just do remember, that as teachers in academic settings CAN receive way too many apple-themed gifts....so can ballet teachers see far too many dance-themed gifts. Please do refrain!!

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Manicure/pedicure gift cards are nice. You can get a "regular" manicure gift card for as little as $10, or spend more for the "spa" manicure or pedicure. This works well around the holidays or at the end of the year, as the teacher is often just finishing Nut or a Spring performance and a treat is certainly in order.


And yes, we have given Starbucks cards as well. :sweating:

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