Extravagant teachers’ gifts

A couple of interesting debates have come up this week – the first on whether the 10-week-long school holiday should be at a time of year when you can actually go outside in Dubai, rather than during the furnace-like summer when every cell in your body screams for water if you venture outdoors.

But the debate that piqued my interest was the issue of teachers’ presents. This is the week when teachers in the UAE are being gifted with all sorts of things, from expensive spa vouchers to Swarovski jewellery.

They deserve it. Of course they do. But there’s a growing body of opinion that this is all going a bit over the top in Dubai.

mmon700l.jpgIt used to be that children would buy a little something, perhaps pick flowers on the way to school, or even better, make something for the teacher along with a card and that was that. Of course, very few children walk to school in Dubai, and they tend to come from families in which Dad is something big in oil or banking. (I’m generalising, not everyone is rich in Dubai, but it’s true our children are transported to school. There’s far too much traffic, so we drive – ruling out hand-picked flowers.)

It was suggested in the media this week that what might be happening (and I’m just saying) is that parents are trying to outdo each other. Otherwise, how would you explain why teachers have been asked to pick out furniture? And why collections are running to as much as 2,500 dhs (£450) per gift – with a whip-round for the person who collects the money too.

One commenter, a teacher herself, pointed out that they do far more than teach these days (good point). Admin work, after-school activities and weekend workshops are all expected. “I think teachers are under appreciated by parents so any gift I can get from them is worth it!” she wrote. “I spend more time with and thinking about their children than they do.”


“Why is it OK for a business man to gift potential clients or customers with fancy dinners and presents, but not OK for parents to give gifts to the teachers,” she wrote, stirring the debate. “Let me know what a business client thinks of a hand-made card!”

No comment. But I’m guessing that, working in Dubai, she won’t be disappointed.

Personally, I’m so thankful to my boys’ amazing and altruistic teachers for everything they’ve done for my children over the past 10 months that I’m very happy to fork out for something thoughtful. Ask me again a week into the epic holiday, and I’ll probably be sending flowers and chocolates too.

[Dabs eyes with a tissue – is the school year really all over? Sobs.]

10 thoughts on “Extravagant teachers’ gifts

  1. Teacher gifts can be pretty extravagant here too – we did a collection for one of the boys’teachers who is getting married, and it seemed to buy half her wedding list!

    • My tip for class mums in training is to collect the money at the beginning of the year, then use the fund throughout the year to buy the presents…. seemed to work really well for both my boys’ classes this year. I take my hat off to class mums – I don’t think I could do that job! xx

  2. Kathryn says:

    A teacher wrote those comments? As a teacher myself I am utterly gob smacked! She is clearly in the wrong profession!

    • I totally agree that they do far more than teach, but you can never underestimate how much parents love, worry and would do anything for their children. That bit of the comment was what hit me, coz even when my kids are at school, the worrying never stops! xx

  3. Really hard one. I want to make a teacher feel appreciated, especially if they’ve gone the extra mile – and they ALL do! But also, they are just doing their job. I don’t give a present to my dentist, doctor, librarian, etc etc.

    I do tend to give the teacher a gift, and I also write a card, saying how much I have appreciated them over the year. My daughter made a card for her teacher, and put hours into it.

    I also feel it’s a little unfair, as class teachers get gifts, but not so much the art teacher, music teacher, PE teacher, school administrator, etc. They’ve all worked hard.

  4. A Cutler says:

    Indeed, you could be giving gifts to everyone who comes into contact with your child, but as a primary teacher myself, I know how long we truly spend with young children – hours and hours of every week, for most months of the year !! Teachers don’t get the handsome salaries of bankers / doctors / lawyers etc. so a class collection of £10 each from thankful parents is not in quite the same league as bankers bonuses !! As one parent told me when we finished school, ‘It is now pay back time’, as they will have to entertain their little darlings for 6 weeks, rather than donating £10 to a class collection for the teacher who has their demanding child and parents for the rest of the time ! Now who can begrudge that ??

    • That’s a really good point about the salaries A – I have to admit, I have to stop myself giving my sons’ teachers bear hugs and inviting them round in the holidays, lol! we had such great teachers this year and I saw my boys develop so much. Hope you have a wonderful summer holiday A! We’re in Woking from 19th – mid Aug if there’s any chance of a meet-up with Mandy xxx

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