Monday, December 26, 2005

feelin' grinchy :)

Merry Christmas, all! My weekend was full of hustle & bustle... but now that Christmas is over, I can relax and enjoy my week off. One glorious, beautiful, amazing week all to myself. The best Christmas present of all. :)

And speaking of presents… The families in our parish are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Many are single parent families, who work two jobs and receive some sort of monetary support to send their children to a Catholic school. Despite their financial hardships, I have always found them to be unfailingly generous. No matter what the holiday, there are always presents (even when I don’t expect them). The gifts range from the pricy (jewelry, tote bag, J-Lo perfume, Gap scarf, restaurant gift card) to the cheap and/or tacky (dollar store teddy bear, mug w/candy, glitter encrusted Virgin Mary candle) to the inexpensive, yet thoughtful (home-baked cakes and cookies, framed picture of me w/student, hand-painted personalized wooden apple sign for my classroom door).

So I was quite surprised this year when I only received a present from one child in my room.

At first, I was disappointed. I’ve been teaching for six years, and I’ve always gotten Christmas gifts. Then I talked to a few teacher friends, and I tried to be a little more realistic about the whole thing. Usually, I get things that I don’t need or can’t use. I wind up re-gifting them, or displaying them in my room for the year before shipping them off to Goodwill. Plus, I know that the parents in our school aren’t rich. I shouldn't expect presents from them just because it's Christmas.

So now I’m just confused. It reminds me of a waitress who doesn’t get a tip – is it because the customer forgot to leave one, or did they purposely not tip because the service was bad? Is there a reason that only one student got me a present? Was it just an oversight? I have no problems with any of the parents or children in my room. There have been no confrontations, no unusual circumstances, no major disciplinary actions taken. The other teachers had bags full of gifts when they left on Friday. So why no presents for me?

I realize that this sounds incredibly greedy. Please understand that it’s not really presents that I want from them. It’s acknowledgment, appreciation, thanks. Nothing expensive. A thoughtful gesture. I just feel overlooked, that’s all.


la maestra said...

i just came back from my annual xmas trip to bucks county, pa and i found myself wondering the same thing... my cousin went to great ends to buy nice, thoughtful gifts for all of her daughter's catholic school teachers. she said that each class has a homeroom mom that is responsible for a group gift, then parents usually give an individual gift as well. i think my shock was obvious when she told me that. i got four gifts and a card, which pales in comparison to what i got last year for valentine's day. i know my kids can't afford anything extravagant, but it did strike me as odd and made me wonder if it had to do with me personally. shrug. ok, back to no-thinking-about-school vacation mode! have a wonderful week!!!

Pikake Anuhea said...

I understand where you're coming from. It's not being greedy, it's a human feeling.
I've actually wondered how I'd feel if the students and parents didn't give me a Christmas card or a small gift in appreciation for all of my work. The holidays are a very busy time for the families of my students, especially for those whose parents work extra jobs.
It's really easy to get all wrapped up in the holiday season and overlook those who you really appreciate. What also happens is that we tend to forget what Christmas is all about...the birth of Jesus, the greatest teacher ever.
Reflect, renew, and enjoy these next few days off. =)