dgraab , Parent asks:

Is it appropriate to 'tip' school workers?

With the school year coming to a close (and Teacher Appreciation Week now past), I'm wondering if it is appropriate to 'tip' some of the staff at our daughter's school, who I know work very hard doing their best to nurture our child and others every day for little pay, such as...

>The lunch lady (or 'food service technician'), who provides healthy lunches with multiple choices for our picky eater, sends us nice little reminder notes when lunch money is due, and has a great daily relationship with our daughter (I also like the inspirational quotes she includes in the monthly lunch menu)

>The Sports4Kids coach, who encouraged our daughter to join the running club (which she enjoys greatly) and who keeps her active and interested in sports in general

>The after-school program staffer, who helps with homework and keeping the learning going long after the final bell rings

>And of course, her teacher, who has really fostered a love of reading and math in our daughter (and who our daughter will miss very much when she moves into her next grade and class)

I was thinking perhaps $20 gift cards to Target or Amazon for each (given discreetly), so they could choose something for themselves. But is this an appropriate way to show appreciation for school staff? Is it better to just give homemade thank you cards or treats?

What do you think?
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school
> 60 days ago


Answers (1)

bob , Parent writes:
This is a tough one.  I have friends who have lived in places overseas where a "gift" is a necessary thing if they want to get some particular service performed, like basic health care in a hospital, a visa processed, and the like.  "And here is a gift for you" was, for one such friend, a standard phrase used when seeking a service.

So I see tips as a slippery slope, especially when

1. some financial component is involved.  The closer to cash, the worse it gets.
2. the "tip" comes in advance of the work or service
3. the "tip" is given to someone who has some responsibility in evaluating/grading your child.

Despite this opinion, we did recently give a $5 Starbucks gift card to a teacher who, on her own time, ran part of the GATE program at my daughter's elementary school.  This inconsistency does bother me some, but it was after the very last session of the GATE group.
> 60 days ago

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