Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Gifts

‘Tis the season for socially expected gift-giving, one of the few things I really don’t like about the holiday season (after all, who could object to lights and mulled wine to brighten the dark winter nights?). Call me a Scrooge if you will, but I always try as much as possible to avoid situations like this, and have made mutual non-gifting pacts with most of the important people in my life in order to avoid the pressures, disappointments, and inefficiencies that come along with the whole process (this includes birthdays too). After all, isn’t it more fun to give and get “just because” gifts whenever they happen to pop up than to confine them to arbitrary dates?

But I digress.

Whatever our usual attitudes toward gifts in our personal lives, it often happens that the end of the Fall term brings with it a small pile of gifts from students. I remember my own first time on the receiving end, which also happened to be my first time in front of a classroom: during my year abroad as an undergraduate I worked part-time teaching English in a local high school, and several of the students took it upon themselves to give me some local treats to celebrate the season. I was eating panettone for months!

More recent years have seen mostly cards and fewer actual gifts, which is fine by me–the unequal power in the student-teacher relationship always makes me feel a little uncomfortable about receiving things from students, especially those students with whom I don’t have a particularly close or long-lasting relationship (it’s a bit different if you’ve known each other for several years and have developed more of a friendship).

Which leads me to today’s question:

How do you feel about student gifts? Are there students you regularly exchange gifts with? Have you ever received anything unusual? Have you ever received something under cover of Christmas that could be construed as a bribe?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

Featured image: Geschenkhamster

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Dan

Dan

Dan has a PhD in historical musicology and has taught music history and theory at a major Canadian university. He mainly studies music from the Italian Renaissance when he's not busy performing stand-up comedy or playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. He occasionally tweets as @incontrariomotu and blogs about geeky stuff at The Otaku Skeptic. He is also the glorious editor-in-chief of School of Doubt.

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