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Gift opening: in front of class or at home?
Old 12-21-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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I've always opened any gifts I've received from students at home. That way if any student did not bring a gift, they did not feel bad about it as I opened all the others.

I was discussing this with a fellow teacher in the lunch room today. She asked when I would be opening my gifts. I told her my opinion on that. Her response: "Well, that is just wrong! You should acknowledge the gift by opening them in front of them!"



Ummm... I'm thinking, that's her opinion, and she is entitled to it. But to flat out saying "your wrong" was shocking to me. What do you all do about gift opening?


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How rude!
Old 12-21-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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I can't believe anyone would just come out and say "you're wrong"!

I'm a first year teacher and I plan on opening the gifts at home. I know that last year, during my internship, my coop teacher and I opened gifts on the last day of school and there was one little girl who cried because she didn't bring a gift. That completely broke my heart, so I'm planning to open the gifts at home this year.

What is the etiquette for this? Do I need to send thank you cards?

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opening
Old 12-21-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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I don't like the way she responded to you, but I do have to agree with her. I know as a parent that I like for my child to see their teacher open their gift. They usually help pick out the gift, and it really thrills them to see the teacher open it.

My students usually start bringing in gifts a few days before we're out for break. As I stand in the doorway to greet them, they hand me the present. Then they stand by my desk waiting for me to open it! It only takes a minute, so I always open it right then, make a huge deal out of it, hug/thank them, then remind them to get started on their morning work.

I write out the thank you cards during my planning time that day, so they can take them home in their folder that night. Parents know I've seen/appreciate the gift, and the child is a happy camper.

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my opinion
Old 12-21-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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is that if you give a thank you card promptly, the parents know that you appreciate the time and money they spent. As for the kids, I gauge by their expression. If they are looking expectantly at me when they hand it to me, I always ask if they want me to open it now. If they do, we open it behind my desk while everyone else is doing their morning stuff. If they hand it to me and walk away, it's usually the case that they don't even know what's in it, and I just do the thank you card.
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My 2 cents
Old 12-21-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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I don't really think she said anything that awful. I have found, because I tend to be sensitive too, that people usually just talk in conversation, and words come out, and they aren't edited for the-absolute-most-polite-way-ever wording. I don't think that she meant you are wrong and horrible and mean and Scroogey to prefer to open your gifts at home; I think she just meant that was the wrong way of thinking, that the kids are excited to see you open the gifts they brought for you and it's a fun time, just enjoy it and go with it. I am very conscious of the way I speak to people with whom I work, because I want to be seen as friendly and helpful and nice - someone who can be trusted. So I am conscious of that and therefore, "watch what I say." Maybe this woman is someone who just talks.

I can definitely see why you choose to open your gifts at home and in fact, I have not thought of that before. It makes sense!!

I am one who opens gifts with the kids. My class loves to stand around and see what I get and they all make comments and say how nice things are. I do ask the giver if I can open it now and if they say yes, that is how I do it, if they say no, I tell them I will open it Christmas Day. I have told children who make comments about not having brought anything, or "I am bringing you a present tomorrow," I always respond w/ "Oooh, presents are fun to open, aren't they? My best present is my class ... and you help give me that everyday." I don't want to minimize a gift, but I also want children to know that THEY are more important than actual presents.



Last edited by Mrs.EastCoast; 12-21-2006 at 06:34 PM..
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gifts
Old 12-21-2006, 06:43 PM
 
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I don't really make a big deal out of the gifts. I open them as the students bring them to me. They are always excited to see my open it. I feel like I am being rude to them to not open the gift. My opinion is that it is like a birthday party. I hate to go to a party and them not open gifts. It takes the fun out of the party. However, I don't do it all at once, so the ones that don't bring one don't really thing anything about it.

I sent thankyou cards as soon as possible. This year the majority of the students pitched in for a big gift. I sent a generic thank you that I typed to everyone. Then, if they also gave another gift I sent a handwritten thankyou.
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Maybe this woman is someone who just talks.
Oh, she is a woman who "just talks", all right (and loudly!). When she said this to me, I realized that this is not the first time I have heard her say similar things to other teachers. Her opinion is always the right way, and all others be hanged.

I understand why others open gifts in class (including the reasons stated here) and whatever works for each individual doesn't bother me. Today my kids were so involved in their party - eating and opening their Secret Santa gifts - that they didn't care about my gifts.
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Carefully
Old 12-21-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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What I did this year is to open the gifts as the children arrived in the morning and were doing their morning work/settling in/choosing books, etc. That way it was special for the child to see me open it, but the others were busy and didn't notice. That was the way I handled not making the kids who didn't bring a gift feel left out or unimportant. I teach first graders and they usually want to see the gift opened in front of them!
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:38 PM
 
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I have always felt funny about opening them in front of the whole class so I do not do it, but I do immediately make a big deal of it with the student who brought it to me and ask them to place it on my desk. When the students get busy with morning work, I invite them back privately for me to open with the child. I give them a hug and thanks and make big over it. Later in the day, I write a thank you card and give it to the child to take home.
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opening gifts
Old 12-21-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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i'll open gifts if a child requests for me to, but most i unwrap at home.

i send thank you notes to their homes in the mail--they love to receive real mail! (don't we all---and it is a dying art form--how sad...)


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In the Class
Old 12-22-2006, 01:13 AM
 
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I open the gifts in the class and have felt awkward about it at times. I don't remember bringing gifts to my teachers or anyone else doing it either as I was growing up. I wonder if anyone did and I missed it or maybe the teacher didn't open them in class or did so privately with the student that brought it. Does anyone else have such a memory? I'm sure buying the teacher a gift at holiday time has been going on forever. Mailing the thank you notes is a nice touch. I think I'll send my thank you notes that way this year. Great idea!
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Thank you notes are a must
Old 12-22-2006, 02:36 AM
 
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Regardless of how/when you open the gifts, a thank you card/note is a must. This is the only way that most of the parents are assured that you did receive the gift (especially if you teach younger kids!) and besides, it's just polite. I am one that also mails home my thank yous. I have the address labels ready to go, and I type my thank yous on fancy Christmas paper.

So, the other question--gift opening. Two years ago, my first year teaching, I received a gift from everyone in the class and I opened them in front of them. I remember, as a child, sitting around my teachers in a big circle watching them opening every gift and being genuinely excited about each one. I believe I portray that same enthusiasm. Last year, I received gifts from most of the kiddos and agained opened them all together. None of the students who didn't bring a gift seemed upset--they liked seeing what others brought.

This year, I have about 5-6 ESL students in my class and some don't celebrate Christmas and several are very low income. I know I won't be receivng as many gifts this year, so I've been opening them privately. Today is our last day, but five kiddos have already brought in gifts, which I opened as soon as they gave them to me.

I believe it's important to open the gifts with the gift giver there so they can see that you appreciate it.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:14 AM
 
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I once had a teacher suggest to me opening the gifts at home because if a student didn't bring in a gift they may feel badly. If it was a gift from "the class" then I opened it in front of them.
I also agree that thank you notes are a must even if you open in front of the students - I always felt the note set a good example for the students and was an acknowledgement to the parents.
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Old 12-22-2006, 08:23 AM
 
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I always ask if I should open it now or later. Only once have I had a child say to wait until Christmas. The other students seem to enjoy watching me open the gifts to see what was brought. I don't really think there is anything wrong with opening them at school or at home. I do like being able to write my thank you cards immediately - otherwise I get busy and sometimes forget or even worse forget which child gave me which gift.
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My Experience
Old 12-22-2006, 09:03 AM
 
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I have been teaching for 8 years and yesterday I opened my gifts in front of my class for the first time ever. I will never do it again. One of my students gave me a stuffed animal (from home). When I opened her gift, another student laughed and hurt her feelings. I felt so bad. I did everything I could do to make her feel better, but it didn't help.

I will never, ever open up gifts in front of my students again!
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Not anymore
Old 12-22-2006, 09:13 AM
 
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I have opened my gifts in front of students but after reading the post I think it is best to wait. I can see how students can get hurt who do not bring one. Also at my school some parents try to out do each other and the kids get caught up in the drama. Even the teachers brag about their gifts. It can be too much at times. This year I will open them at home and send out thank you notes.
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during prep
Old 12-22-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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I open presents during my prep period. I also make thank you notes on the computer, and have them copied ahead of time so that I can quickly fill in the kid's name, and thank you so much for xyz. It's quick and easy, and the thank you notes are on their desks when they get back from special. The kids who brought gifts know that I appreciate them, and the kids who didn't are not embarrassed.
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:55 PM
 
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I usually open them in private at recess or lunch or prep time... I write each child a personalized christmas card.

I don't like opening presents in front of everyone... I don't want the kids who didn't bring anything to feel bad... and I'm afraid that if I get a terrible gift it'll show in my face =o)

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I open at home
Old 12-22-2006, 04:08 PM
 
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I know that many of my kids would like me to open the gifts at school, but I feel that for the child who didn't bring in a gift, it can be embarrassing or even upsetting. I have a few children on limited incomes, and getting a gift for the teacher isn't in the cards. I also like to open at home because I like to make sure I keep an accurate record of who gave what so I can do the thank-you notes. It can get a little chaotic with all the kids around you. Your colleague can do what works for her, but she shouldn't challenge your personal decision. I'm with you.<!--CHRISTMAS1-->
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I have always opened the gifts either at home or while the children are out at recess and such. I don't want the children who didn't bring one to get upset, I send a thank you note in the mail because I agree kids love to get mail. This year I got a necklace from one child and a santa pin from another and wore them the next day, they were so excited. If a child asks me to open it, I tell them if they hang back at lunch or after school I will open it then and do, and they are happy.
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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Thank you to all of you who have helped me feel better about not opening at school. I see that we are all on the same page about it. Most definitely I am mailing thank you notes to each child who gave me a gift.
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gift opening
Old 12-23-2006, 06:21 AM
 
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I always ask the student if they want me to open the gift up when the give it to me, or at the party or at home. Its always been......when the give it to me. They are usually really excited when they present it to me.<!--CHRISTMAS2-->
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gift opening
Old 12-23-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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I have this same dilemna with the students asking when I would open them and the same replys of "I didn't get you anything". I told them I will open the gifts on Christmas Day since they are Christmas presents. Afterwards I got to thinking, I wonder if some of them didn't realize what they "bought" me because mom did the shopping?? Perhaps next year I'll ask if they want me to open then or at school.

This also reminds me of a time I put the thank you notes on their desks after vacation. One of my adorable boys thought they were invitations to my birthday party since my birthday usually falls the week we return!!! I thought that was so cute that he thought I would invite them all to my party
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I've always opened gifts in class
Old 12-24-2006, 04:41 PM
 
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On average I only get about 30% of my students giving gifts - sometimes up to 50% but they are so excited and they want to see me open the gift. And the whole class always gathers around and they love to watch me open gifts, I wouldn't want to take that away from my "kids".

This year it was really cute, one of my girls gave me her hockey medal - I'll keep it in my desk in case she wants it back later (or her mom does). I'll have to let mom know after Christmas.

I talk to my students about 2 weeks before Christmas and inform them that I know not everyone can afford or have time to buy me a gift and that I love homemade gifts, cards or even a picture they have drawn because it is the thought behind the gift that truly matters. So while store bought gifts are nice and I know have been chosen special, so are pictures and homemade gifts because I know so much care has been put into creating them.

And I make a fuss over any gift that is brought to me and during the last week of school there is always some time and plenty of paper for them to make cards for me if they want.

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