I read an interesting article today concerning Christmas gifts that teachers are given. The question raised is – Should teachers be allowed to accept these gifts?

I have never received anything of much value from children but some of the gifts I have been given could be perceived as ‘questionable’ in nature. And to be honest, this Christmas, I did actually receive several bottles of wine, even if I do not have an issue with it. I certainly do not encourage gifts in any way and I see the gifts as a recognition of my work with the children, from the parents.

A few years ago I received a crate of beer and 2 bottles of Scotch, which now sounds very extreme, but this was a gift that needs to be understood in the context of the location. I was working in a rural Australian school and for a large majority of the local population, drinking was seen as the end all and be all of entertainment and recreation. To give someone a book or gift from a shop was almost seen as an insult, especially to a male, so I was being honoured by the gift of alcohol.

I certainly think that teachers need to use common sense when accepting gifts and keep the whole affair very low-key. For one thing, not all children are able to buy their teachers gifts and the actual act of giving can become a problem in itself if not monitored.

Just as an afterthought: If anyone of my class are reading this article, please don’t forget I am diabetic and those chocolates you keep buying me really are ‘murder’… [Or perhaps that is the whole idea]