Honestly, I did not expect any gifts from my students on this day.
Well, to me, the irony is that any teacher that “expects” to receive something in return for their hard work probably isn’t deserving of any.
Not to mention tutors, where we are sometimes treated more like an “employee” rather than a teacher.
I often tell my students that the best gift they can give is improving their learning attitude. When the attitude is right, more often than not, the results will come thereafter. And results is an internal KPI that I use to assess my performance.
But I would be lying if I say it makes no difference to my feelings whether I receive a physical gift or not, especially when the gift is a thoughtful one. Well, I am human afterall.
A few days ago, I received a tub of Haagen Daz icecream from one of my P6 students.
How did you know I love Haagen Daaz icecream? – Shell-shocked Mr 15HWW
“Erm, we read a feature on you a few months ago and found that out. So my parents and I thought you would appreciate this.”
I was featured on the Sunday Times quite some time ago but she was one of the few students who did not mention anything about the article at all. So I had assumed that they probably did not come across that article.
So I was really really surprised that not only had they read, but they also remembered and made an effort to pass me something that I would definitely appreciate. At the very least, I am quite certain that it’s a unique gift and she did not pass tubs of icecream to the rest of her teachers.
As an uber-rational economist, I had almost always firmly believed that cash gifts are almost always more economical than item gifts. But this time round, there is no doubt the intangibles firmly outweigh the $10 price tag.
Together with a laminated copy of that newspaper article that a student’s parent/friend gave me, it’s also made me reconsider my position on gifts. Besides being more deliberate in my gifting, I remind myself to be more appreciative of the gifts that I receive.
Even though it’s just a freezing tub of cream and sugar, it definitely warmed my heart. For the day, the week, the month and likely many more future moments. A thoughtful gift can indeed be priceless.