Sharon DeVellis: Inside Scoop


End-Of-School-Year Gift-Giving Etiquette

Who To Buy For And What To Give

“Which teachers do I give an end-of-year gift to?” is the nightmare parent equivalent of “Who do I tip at a salon?”

My older son has a class teacher, a music teacher, an art teacher, a french teacher, and an educational assistant who helps out in the class. My younger son has his class teacher, a student teacher, and a gym teacher.

Let us not forget the crossing guards who help them get across the streets safely.

That’s nine individuals who help educate my boys. If I were to buy each of them a $10 gift card for coffee, that’s $90. And as much as I’d like to purchase every teacher a gift because they do a job I could never do in a million years, it’s not in our budget.

So what’s the etiquette?

Are end-of-year gifts mandatory?
No. But it’s a nice way to show appreciation to your child’s teacher. You know how sometimes you do a happy dance as you send your children off to school knowing that you won’t have to listen to fighting for another six hours?

Your child’s teacher doesn’t have that option. The fact that she shows up every day means you should actually be throwing her a parade and naming a holiday or your first born after her. Since that’s not going to happen, a small token of your appreciation would be nice.

Are you supposed to give gifts to all of the teachers?
The short answer is no. If you are going to give a gift, give it to the teacher your child spends the most time with and/or if your child has a special relationship with a teacher or a teacher has really gone out of his or her way to do something for your child.

Can you give to only one and not the rest?
Yes. This isn’t about being even-steven. However, a short note thanking the other teachers for their work throughout the school year would go a long way. Who doesn't like to be told they made a difference?

How much are you supposed to spend?
There is no set amount and it is all dependent on your budget. Anything goes–from a hand written card to a bottle of wine–there are hundreds of options for a gift that will be appreciated but won’t break your bank account.

Anything but coffee mugs. Pretty sure there are no teachers who need yet another #1 Teacher mug.