Read Reid

Steven Reid, LVCA Program Manager, answers tutor questions in an advice column. Tutors can submit questions to Steven at any time and he'll answer them here for the benefit of all. 

Dear Steven,

With the holidays approaching, I have a few questions about how to handle situations with my student. Would it be okay if I gave her a gift to celebrate? I'd also like to invite her family over to my house for a holiday meal. Would that be okay? I want to be sure I'm staying within the program's guidelines but I'd also like to share with her my family and cultural traditions for this time of year. Please advise. 

- Holiday Help(less)

Dear Holiday Help(less),

The holiday season can bring some unique situations with tutors and students, including gift-giving and holiday celebrations. While the initial thought may be to bring gifts for your student and invite them to Christmas dinner, there are some cultural things you may want to keep in mind before you do that.

Gift giving has a variety of implications in various cultures. What may seem straightforward here may not be taken the same way when you’re working with a student from a different part of the world. If you feel you must, you may want to have the discussion about gift-giving with your student in advance, and then, keep the gift small (i.e. less than $15-20). Food is a common gift as well, but dietary restrictions also must be considered.

As for inviting the student and their family to your home for Christmas dinner or another holiday meal, keep in mind that if your student is lower level, this could end up being a more isolating event with them feeling excluded from a lot of the conversation around them. The sentiment is nice, but the end result may not be. Dietary restrictions are also to be considered in meal planning as well. In general, I would refrain from including them in your holiday plans.

Pro Literacy Guidestar Platinum