Monday 22 April 2013

Hot Topic: A Fine Line Between Gifts and Bribes from Students

When I was in grade school we'd always get our teacher an end-of-the-year gift as a way to thank her for teaching us that year. In return we'd get a thank you card from her. Nothing else was expected.

Now that the tables are turned and I'm the teacher I find that many gifts have strings attached. Students may give gifts when they come to ask you to raise their grade. I've seen gifts range from a coffee to expensive jewelry and cosmetics. I've heard that in the Middle East gifts can be even more extravagant, such as designer clothes or vacations. In order to avoid this situation I let my students know what is an acceptable complaint and what isn't.

I also refuse to accept gifts from students because I don't want them to think I can be bought. I know that some students are accustomed to giving gifts for holidays or at the end of the year. If they really want to give me a gift I ask them to wait until the semestre is over and all the grades and grievances are done with. I simply don't want to be accused of favouritism or taking bribes.


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