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Getting gifts from students (Read 8902 times)

Offline pianoslav

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Getting gifts from students
« on: December 13, 2013, 07:02:39 PM »
 I often receive gifts from parents around Christmas, and besides thanking them, I don't really know what to do. Is their a social expectation for me to give them a gift in return? How do you usually react when you get gifts from students (or their parents)?

Offline cabbynum

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 07:51:33 PM »
I give all my students a pencil
That says happy holidays with snow on it. I've been given cookies so far. I say thanks and don't complain. Because let's be honest, who doesn't love cookies.

I think you're fine not giving anything in return
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Offline ted

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 09:05:03 PM »
Here's a funny one. As a schoolboy, I always bought my piano teacher a bottle of whisky at the end of term. That used to bring a thirsty glint of anticipation to his eye and was good for some more improvisation. Last year, fifty years later, I met up with his only surviving daughter.

"Oh no !" she exclaimed. "Mum and Dad never had any drink in the house."

Now there is a mystery worth pondering.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline twinklestarpurgatory

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 12:11:36 AM »
As a student, I give my piano teacher a gift at Christmas.  The gift is usually $50 plus some flowers (this year, a Christmas Cactus).  I do not expect anything in return.  It is just  a show of my appreciation for all her hard work and patience.   

I suspect any other students who give gifts to their piano teacher feel the same. 

For me, a smile and a thank you are all that are required to make it worthwhile. 

Offline pianoslav

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 04:51:59 PM »
I think you're fine not giving anything in return

I know reciprocity is not required for gifts, but I feel like there are certain social conventions for gift giving in general. For example, if someone takes you out to dinner (strictly platonic), the courteous thing to do in return is to take them out to dinner or something equivalent. This isn't required of you, but it would be very nice if you did. I was wondering whether or not gift etiquette is different for student-teacher relationships than in other situations.

I give all my students a pencil

I think this is a great idea. Maybe I'll do this, or a bowl of "Christmas candy" for students to pick out a handful. Thanks for the idea.

Offline twinklestarpurgatory

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 08:23:24 PM »
The two relationships are significantly different.  Piano teachers are professionals who are performing their duties to the best of their ability in exchange for the tuition we pay.  Hence they are not friends.   

Bluntly, in a teacher-student relationship, the teacher is a paid "employee" (for lack of a better word), and hence the Christmas gift is more like an employee getting a bonus at the holiday and hence does not require reciprocation. 

Most of us adults understand that you have many students and that reciprocating the gift giving would be unrealistic.   I/We just want to make sure you feel appreciated for all your hard work, not to mention the H-E double hockey sticks we occasionally put you through.  Let's face it, your job is tough and the financial payoff is moderate at best.  If you were to get a load of students who gift you at Christmas and you felt obliged to reciprocate, there go your entire December tuition payments to purchasing said reciprocal gifts (not good). 

These are my thoughts only and I hope others who gift their teachers feel the same.   Hopefully, the employee analogy may put you at ease at not feeling a need to reciprocate the gift. 

If you really wanted to do something, give each student a Candy Cane during the last lesson before the holiday.  They're pretty inexpensive and the kiddos and the adults would love to suck on one on their way home. 


 




Offline slane

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 03:11:14 AM »
Twinklestar is right ... the student is showing their appreciation for the teachers effort.
Same as when we give my daughter's school teachers presents.
I will give my piano teacher a present next week and expect nothing in return. Why would I? I don't think I've enhanced his life at all. :)

There is a modern trend to think of presents in some sort of tit-for-tat fashion. Miss Manners deplores this attitude.

So just accept their presents with grace and gratitude and don't worry about reciprocating.

Offline dinulip

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 03:00:34 AM »
I send the parents - by postal mail - a nice blank greeting card, and write by hand something like:
 
'Thank you so much for the lovely gift and Happy New Year'. 

That is precisely what my first piano teacher (a nun) did each time my mother gave her a Christmas present...  That was in the early sixties -- when people still had manners...  :)

Offline pianoslav

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 06:16:55 AM »
I just ended up buying a pack of 65 candy canes for $2, which is more than enough to give out to all my students. That way I can say Merry Christmas to everyone for an affordable price.

Offline 1hummingbird

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #9 on: January 11, 2014, 07:37:17 PM »
Why not give or receive a small gift around holiday time?  Usually it is simply a small token of appreciation for the instructor, or for a continuing student.

I used to give a small gift to each student, but then I realized that many parents took this as a need to reciprocate with a gift to me, but it shouldn't be that way.

Now I give each student a choice of one sheet music piece, and usually I will also give them a holiday card.  If parents reciprocate that is fine, if they don't, that is fine too. 

I tell my younger students that the gifts that I like the most are the ones that he or she made; e.g., a drawing of a piano, or a self-portrait of themselves at the piano.  I save these, and they are fun to look back upon as the student grows older. 

Offline pianoslav

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Re: Getting gifts from students
«Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 04:58:11 AM »
There is a modern trend to think of presents in some sort of tit-for-tat fashion. Miss Manners deplores this attitude.
For me, this is more of a cultural difference, not a modern trend. In Russia (and other former Soviet countries), every time you visit someone's house (no matter if it's a holiday or not), you bring a small gift for the host. You can google "Russian gift giving etiquette," if you have any doubts. For example, http://www.1worldglobalgifts.com/russiagiftgivingetiquette.htm

With giving and receiving gifts so often in the Eastern European culture, it becomes uneasy for me when I suddenly receive a ton of gifts from my students, but I have never given them any gifts. I guess this is why the gift giving etiquette is confusing for me when it comes to western culture, especially when it comes to a teacher and student relationship.