Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just call me the Grinch

This was my response to the email stating that each student in Parker’s class was expected to pay a $10 contribution.  The money collected would pay for gift cards for the teacher as well as another Kindergarten teacher who works with the class frequently.  The rest of the money was supposed to pay for gifts for each student given by Santa Claus, who would be at the class party since one of the moms was able to find a Santa suit.  Does any of this sound a little over the top for a Kindergarten class?  Or is it just me?  Whatever.  Just call me Mrs. Grinch. 

“I'm sorry but $250 for one holiday seems excessive.  I paid $30 in my second grader's class at the beginning of the school year.  This money included Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Week, teacher birthday, end of year gift, and any other party money or occasion for the entire year.  A class of 25 students paying $30 for the year equals $750 for the full year.  When that total is compared to the $250 proposed for this one holiday you can see why I'm concerned about the lavishness of it all. 

I will pay the requested $10 but I don't want to be paying this much money for every occasion that comes up this year.  Don't get me wrong.  I can afford it but I don't think it's necessary for each Kindergarten student to put so much money into a gift pool.  The class party is gift enough for the students but if we really want to give them something beyond that it doesn't need to be so expensive.  They're 5 and 6 years old.  A candy cane from Santa would thrill them. 

Sincerely,

Tristan Westover”

Given the fact that she did come down from $15 per student and gift cards for every Kindergarten teacher to $10 and gift cards for two teachers maybe I should have shut up.  I love Christmas.  I do.  I love the whole Holiday Season but I do feel disappointed with people who easily forget the purpose of the season and turn it into a gaudy one up each other expense fest under the guilt trip that ‘It’s Christmas!’  If some must be good a lot must be better right?  Not always. 

I keep coming back to the fact that this is Kindergarten!  They are 5 and 6 years old.  How is Gavin going to feel when he finds out Parker’s class was the only class in the school who had Santa visit?  Not only that but Santa gave Parker’s class books and Christmas CD’s as a gift so they could enjoy it longer!  Meanwhile all Gavin got was a budget class party with no Santa and no gifts.  And what happens when the kids in Parker’s class start expecting lavish parties with expensive gifts every year because the Room Moms set the expectations so high?  We’re raising adults not spoiled children.  At least I am.  Should I have shut up or did it need to be said regardless of the outcome?  I don’t know.  Just call me Mrs. Grinch. 

3 thoughts:

Sherron said...

I don't think that a child should be EXPECTED to pay anything for school events (with the exception of field trips if the PTA doesn't cover them). Not every parent can afford it. (my husband has 14 siblings and they definitely could not afford that much per child)
A gift should be optional, not required. I understand donating money at the beginning of the year for parties and teacher gifts, but keep it simple.
You were right to send the response that you did. People in charge need to know how other people are feeling.

Dawn said...

Dear Ms Grinch,
I am with you on this one. That is ridiculous for any class. (unless of course it is for the wonderful librarian;) There is no way Santa should be visiting only one class in a school if he visits at all. Do the Jewish children get a special visitor or do they not allow Jewish children in the school? How about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Good grief. I would take it to the principal and if that doesn’t stop it I would go to the school board. Someone should remind them that gifts are voluntary. Besides as a teacher it is more fun to see what little gift you student pick out for you.
Signed,
Ms Grinch’s mother-in-law

The Piquant Storyteller said...

This is why I blog. So people can validate my gut instincts when I start to think I'm actually the crazy one!

I agree that the best part of being a teacher was seeing what small gifts the students wanted to give me. One year my Room Mom gave me a Pampered Chef pizza stone. She had a lot of money and she was very generous with her money. But that was her gift to me. She never asked for cash donations from anyone.

FYI: I did turn in my $10 today. I said what I said and one thing I said was that I would pay it. The mom took the money, said thank you, and marked $10 next to Parker's name as if the parents who didn't pay would be contacted individually. There is a bit of a language barrier and certainly a difference in culture so maybe she just doesn't know how to do group gifts.