Letter: How Much Should We Tip Teachers Without it Looking Like We’re Flaunting Our Money?

Can I send a question with a poll? Basically, our Rov told us in our situation that the first place we should give our maaser to is to our children’s teachers.

Chanukah is coming up, and we want to tip very generously, but we don’t want to flaunt our money. (I tried approaching the school and they want to only do it if we do it universal for all the teachers, not just our children’s teachers, which obviously would make our children’s teacher get much less, so this is not an option).

I’m wondering how high I can give that it won’t be flaunting our money.

My wife spoke to a cousin who is a teacher who teaches in a well-to-do school, and she says every year she had about 3-4 parents that give her about $500 4 to 5 times a year, and then about two parents that give $1000 a few times a year. Once every few years, she has a parent that gives $5000 a few times a year. I don’t know if this is normal, or this would be considered inappropriate and flaunting our money, which we are not trying to do at all.

Is it possible to take a poll to see what is the highest amount that we can give and still be considered appropriate?

1 $250
2 $500
3 $1000
4 $5000
5 $10000
6 $10000+
7 $25000
8 $25000+
9 none of the above

A Parent Trying To Do What Is Right For The Future Of Our Children

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  1. Give the teachers whatever you can they need it it’s not flaunting your money when helping someone out. If you want you can give the money to a friend to give the teacher the money anonymously.
    I would be more worried about flaunting money with the car you drive clothing you wear vacations etc

      • Did you take a poll before you did any of the following… Built FANCY house? Leased LUXURY cars (x2)? EXTRAVAGANT vacations (few times a year)? Bought ABUNDANCE of food? EXCESSIVE Simchas? INSANE money on clothing? I suspect you only ask if your flouting your money when you don’t really want to do it.

          • He’s not bitter; he makes an excellent point. It’s a misplaced question.
            If your helping your teacher, that brings your child לחיי עולם הבא, all of a sudden you’re worried about flaunting your money?
            Go ahead and flaunt it, just support the amazing people who teach our children.

  2. I think it should be up to each parent to give what they think as every child is different and every teacher is different.
    Our tuition has gone up so much recently due to inflation and our income has not. I think this whole teachers and money conversion should really stop. Teachers do work hard I am not disagreeing with it and they should get paid more. However the ones that are suffering are the middle class as everything has gone up and all we are trying to do is make ends meet. However since we are not teachers or in chinuch, we don’t get a break.
    Torah Umesorah came out with raising money for teachers therefore since they stated this all questions or concerns should be directed to them and not on a public forum. Many people are getting upset.

  3. No such thing as flaunting if your giving it to a Rebbi how about house clothes cars vacations that’s when you can ask about flaunting but that’s never a question for some odd reason

  4. Assuming you truly want to help the teacher and you don’t want to show off, why don’t you just give a “small” tip with a letter, and then send a much larger amount anonymously. There are many ways/organizations that can help you send a check that doesn’t have your own name on it.

  5. It all depends how many teachers there are and the amount your giving. But definitely isn’t a TLS discussion what to do. Just do what your comfortable giving and there’s no reason to think your flaunting your money. They can all use any extra money you give. Either give anonymously to avoid people talking about you and just tell your kids teachers. Or why don’t you give small to everyone and give your kids teachers extra separately by going through the any of wonderful organizations we have …if you need the tax receipt.

  6. How about giving a large tip($2000) and saying I understand many parents cant give this year but I didn’t want you to lose out so hopefully this will make up the difference

  7. As a teacher
    We don’t feel your flaunting anything!!
    We appreciate every penny!!!
    Gove as much as you want!!
    We need it
    Believe teachers are very underpaid and typically under appreciated if you can give us A lot
    We really could use it!!

  8. Giving with purpose from your heart is not flaunting. You can represent the entire class and together with the parents that contribute you can give it together with your large sum as the class representative. No amount is too much.

  9. I’m appreciative of the fact that some people have a lot of money (which I don’t) and want to help teachers. My question is this- is your goal to help the teacher or is your goal to have the teacher be eternally grateful to you and remember you forever and tell all the teachers in the teacher’s room about how special you are? Because there are so many ways you can accomplish the goal of the teacher getting more without “flaunting” your wealth. You can give whatever the standard is, or even a bit over the standard and then have the school give it to the teacher as an anonymous bonus from a parent. You can choose to collect “as much as people want to give” from all the other parents in the class and then add to that for the teacher- this way the teacher is grateful to ALL the parents equally. You can completely avoid the question is what’s the fine line between giving a lot so that we’re viewed as regular people with some extra money vs. flaunting our wealth and making us become the talk of the school.

  10. Is this a real letter? Do you know how much it hurts the average person who is struggling with inflation and so many raised expenses, to read this letter? (or maybe in the greater Lakewood area the not-wealthy people are the minority, that’s what it seems to me these days) Why are you posting this on a public forum? You already asked your Rov where to give your maaser. Ask him this question as well instead of flaunting your wealth to the entire Lakewood Scoop, even anonymously.

  11. This person posted this also on another frum forum with frum women. She has every excuse in the books why it can’t work to give anonymously. Either by calling the kids school and paying off their tuition or finding out who their Rav is . She claims her husband davens in Bmg so he doesn’t know who the rav if the teachers is. In my humble opinion she’s trying to do it where the teacher knows who she is hence the excuses.

  12. If you want to make sure that your kid has preferential treatment, then give as much as you are able. But if the goal is to give the teacher so that he/she can teach with menuchas hanefesh, with patience and love, then find a way to get the bulk of the money to the teacher anonymously, while giving a personal cash gift that is normal in your kids’ school. if all the parents are doing 500.00 a few times a year,then by all means, give it. but if it the the balebatishe, gevirishe parents who also do Yerushalayim for Sukkos, Florida for Chanuka and luxury hotels for Pesach are shpritiziong money to ensure that their kid gets the A’s and the recommendation for the desirable Mesivta or high schools, then find a tzniusdike way to help that teacher. No self-respecting Rebbe or teacher wants to feel beholden to parents because of they have been bought.

  13. Coming from someone who had worked with rebbeim:
    Give what you can no matter how much. It is money well spent.
    If you can’t afford a lot (and is real not that you could afford everything else besides this) a heartfelt letter accomplishes the same thing if not more. The rebbe/teacher will feel appreciated and will look out for your kids.

  14. Not every teacher is qualified to accept maaser oni. You need to be sure that the recipient fits the halachik criteria to give them Maaser. Besides, Maaser is meant to be distributed first to family, poor talmidei Chachomim, aniyei ircha, etc. You need to get this straightened out before you offer 25000.

  15. I believe this is the solution to the underpaid teachers and people complaining that the school owners are making a mint.
    Well to do parents should start tipping the teachers generously 250-1000 a few times a year and the teachers will feel appreciated and stay in chinuch. Almost every class has 3-5+ parents that can afford to tip generously and this won’t negatively effect the middleclass.

  16. Please stop bashing the letter writer. In his letter he implies that he doesn’t want to flaunt why can’t we assume he doesn’t flaunt with everything house, car etc.

  17. As a teacher, I would not appreciate too large a gift. It would feel like a bribe. I have actually refrained from cashing checks that were too much.

    You can mail $ to his house with an anonymous note though. Then you can send as much as you want.

    Or you can find out where he davens and give through his Rav. Not as Maaser but as a well deserved anonymous gift.

  18. @Huge Gvir – As a teacher that’s been devoted to the community for nearly all my life and gave all my efforts selflessly away I understand that 150k+ may be a little much for some. Personally, I am offended if someone tips less than 50k. 75-100k I believe is a respectable amount. Thank you!

  19. I give $100 2-3 times a year. I wish I could give more. they deserve it an need it. If yungerleit new that they would get an additional several thousand $ in tips total throughout the year it could help them at the least consider the career

  20. As a rebbe for close to 30 years, I don’t believe there is a limit, although this conversation sounds a like fantasy.
    In my yeshiva, the chanukah gifts are distributed to all employees which gives me a grand total of $80, that’s $4.00 from 20 students!
    Some years I don’t bother cashing the check.
    Some years I feel like writing the parents a thank you note for their generous $4.00 gift.

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