November 22, 2005
To Gift or Not to Gift.
November 22, 2005 12:24 PM
An anonymous 1L here at Boalt wrote to me to ask whether it is proper to give gifts to your section profs, TAs, Legal Research and Writing instructors, etc. I responded with a resounding no. I have never been a fan of buying gifts for teachers (or bosses). It just strikes me as a bit tacky. If you want to show your gratitude, I think it would be far more effective to thank them for the time they put in on your behalf. But a gift? I am open to persuasive arguments to the contrary, or just juicy stories about section-wide debates about buying gifts, how much to chip in, etc.
I sent my LRW instructor one of those dopey little candygrams that some organization was selling on Valentine's Day. Not because I had a crush on her (though several people did), but because she had been really kind to me when I was having a rough time completing work. I think it's appropriate to give small gifts, of the "token of appreciation" type, for someone who has gone out of her way to be helpful to you individually. Giving a gift from the entire section to a particularly good prof seems weird -- isn't that what the extra long standing ovation is for?
We all went in on a gift for our 1L Legal Writing prof. I didn't instigate it, and thought it was a little weird, but he really appreciated it. It probably depends on the dynamic of the section. We were all really "close," I guess.
I think we got flowers and a nice cigar for our small-section prof, but he'd had us all over to dinner at his place twice during the semester, and I believe we gave him the "gifts" when he'd had us over for that final dinner of the semester. So I think that was more, "Hey thanks for giving us free food and booze," more than it was, "Hey, thanks for being our prof." Ya know?
I gave/chipped in for a gift for my professor. Not because I genuinely care about them, but because I'm a tremendous douchebag.