With the end of the school year having just passed, I was reminded that this can be a HOT TOPIC! Group gifts can cause drama anywhere, but today I am going to use the example of teacher gifts.

Here is the scenario: Room Mom sends a note to all parents telling them that there will be a group gift purchased for the teacher at the end of the year. The room mom tells everyone that there is no pressure to contribute, but if you would like to contribute to the gift, please send in a check toward the purchase.

Sounds easy, right?


I have been on a couple different sides of this gig: 1. Being the teacher, 2. Being the room mom, 3. Being a parent who contributes. In each instance, the same problems seem to always arise. I am wondering if there is someone out there who has found the solution because after 18 years of being involved in some sort of school setting, I still haven’t found it.

My list of questions below summarize where the drama ensues. No matter how trivial these questions may seem, I can promise you that there is always a parent (if not, the majority of parents) who have asked the same thing or created a ruckus over one of the questions below:

1. How much to contribute
Should the room mom specify an amount that should be donated? Not everyone can afford to contribute the same amount, but is it OK to have some parents send in $5 while others send $100? (There is literally that much of a difference at times.) If someone does send in a large amount should that be acknowledged? Should parents be given an approximate amount so they don’t feel cheap? Does the amount even matter or is it the thought that counts?

2. Whose name goes on the card
What if all but one kid brings in money? Do you sign it from the whole class anyway? What if only half the class brings in money? Do you just sign names of those who contributed?

3. If there is an assistant teacher
What percentage of the donated funds should go to the teaching assistant? Is it half and half? Does the primary teacher get more? What is fair?

This is a great forum to discuss topics such as this one and try to come to a consensus on what works best. Please share your thoughts by commenting below. (You may do so anonymously by not filling in your name or email, but please use courtesy toward others when commenting.) Hopefully we can generate a good discussion while this topic is fresh on everyone’s minds and then next year when it is time for teacher gift-giving, I will remind you about this blog and hopefully we can all look back for some answers!