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  • Brennand
  • Veteran

    • 101

    • February 27, 2013, 08:31:26 pm
    • Gyeongnam, Hadong-gun, Hwagae-myeon
Principal refused my Christmas gift
« on: December 18, 2015, 09:10:36 am »
I offer to you here a cautionary tale, and to the trolls, a chance to tell me how stupid I am.

I work at a very small school.  I bought a gift (nothing too outlandish, just some nice cakes) for my principal as I have always given some sort of small gift to my coteacher, vice principal and principal in the 3 years I have worked at this school.  It should go without saying that I'm not trying to get anything out of it besides the chance to spread a little Christmas cheer at a time of year when everyone is feeling pretty drained.

This time, I walked into my principal's office, bag in hand, and told him Merry Christmas and thank you for a good year in Korean.  He just told me no, he will not accept it.  No explanation.  He basically told me to get out of his office and if it is something to eat then I should just bring it to the staff room for everyone to share. 

I understand that it is probably the principal's policy not to accept gifts in the interest of professionalism and integrity.  I respect that.  Nevertheless I felt super embarrassed, ashamed, and a bit angry that I was never told that the principal may have changed his opinion on gifts since this summer when he gladly accepted a gift I brought back from Canada.  I went to my co-teacher after to ask if I shouldn't be giving the principal or vice-principal gifts and he said, "Oh....um.....yeah....don't give him gifts.  He does not like that."

Thanks, buddy.

Needless to say I won't be trying to give anyone else any more gifts.  But do you think I've tarnished what was previously a pretty good relationship with my principal?  Should I be doing any kind of damage control or should I just pray that when I go back to my main school on Tuesday, that everything will be peachy? If he had just been nice about it, I wouldn't be worried, but the whole situation just made me feel like a crook for trying to give a simple gift.

As a warning:  if anyone else is thinking of giving gifts to their principals etc., don't be a dummy like me.  Double check with your co-teacher first, or just don't give them anything at all.


  • raysmith
  • Super Waygook

    • 352

    • August 16, 2012, 07:01:58 am
    • Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 09:18:46 am »

Needless to say I won't be trying to give anyone else any more gifts.  But do you think I've tarnished what was previously a pretty good relationship with my principal?  Should I be doing any kind of damage control or should I just pray that when I go back to my main school on Tuesday, that everything will be peachy? If he had just been nice about it, I wouldn't be worried, but the whole situation just made me feel like a crook for trying to give a simple gift.


I would just keep rocking up for work and doing the job.  Forget it ever happened and don't offer him any more gifts.



Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 09:28:18 am »

Needless to say I won't be trying to give anyone else any more gifts.  But do you think I've tarnished what was previously a pretty good relationship with my principal?  Should I be doing any kind of damage control or should I just pray that when I go back to my main school on Tuesday, that everything will be peachy? If he had just been nice about it, I wouldn't be worried, but the whole situation just made me feel like a crook for trying to give a simple gift.


I would just keep rocking up for work and doing the job.  Forget it ever happened and don't offer him any more gifts.

I agree. I feel like attempting to "correct" the issue might actually make it more awkward, and besides, he might not even be thinking about it anymore. It does seem a little strange that he accepted in the summer and all of a sudden hates gifts, but maybe he got in trouble for accepting something?? Who knows. Anyway, I think it's best you just forget about it. :)


  • Cwbatson
  • Adventurer

    • 62

    • March 04, 2013, 09:18:14 pm
    • Gwangju, South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 09:37:04 am »
Probably should get him some soju to make up for it


  • englishrose
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • June 24, 2013, 07:27:22 am
    • South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2015, 09:45:26 am »
Sounds like someone's being investigated.


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2590

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 09:48:29 am »
LOL I made this same thread buddy.  Join the crowd.  I would link you to it but it contain mostly a flamewar. 

TL;DR :  Principals can not accept gifts of any kind.  No matter how small and inexpensive.  It falls under the bribery clause.  Don't take offense to it. AND PLEASE don't think that you insulted them because the gift was inexpensive.  Plus you should stop doing it because it will make them feel uncomfortable each time they have to reject your gift. 

 ;D


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 09:48:52 am »
Should've thrown it in his face, told him how rude it is to not accept gifts, then stormed out.


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2015, 09:50:24 am »
I don't even know what my school principal looks like never mind gifts.



  • Epistemology
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1904

    • September 19, 2010, 01:57:27 pm
    more
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2015, 10:04:42 am »
Bribery issues. Parents were probably giving gifts to the principal. Other parents likely took offense and thought they were after favourable treatment for their kids and got it investigated and now he can't accept anything.

You have to have a really good friendly relationship with your principal for them to accept gifts and not have it being awkward. I mean its got to be mutual. I could give gifts to my previous principal, but she always bought me birthday presents and Christmas presents, so it wasn't seen as odd or as bribery.

Away an bile yer heid ya numpty,ye dinnae ken whit yer talkin aboot.


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2015, 10:09:51 am »
Should've thrown it in his face, told him how rude it is to not accept gifts, then stormed out.

Yeah dude! Bad ass!

That would totally make him rethink his actions and let you establish your alpha status all at once. You should have jingled his bells and checked his list twice. Tell him he was being naughty, not nice.

Give him some coal while also teaching him about the cultural background so he can understand why it's just such a grand slam.

THEN BAM. COAL IN THE FACE.

Because you threw the coal in his face like the alpha bro steak master you are.

Sure showed him. Stick it to the man! LITERALLY STICK IT TO THE MAN'S FACE.

Fist bump me, bro.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 10:11:32 am by SmallBaguette »


  • nzer-in-gyeongnam
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 781

    • August 07, 2010, 01:23:29 pm
    • Gyeongnam-do
    more
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2015, 10:17:03 am »
Don't feel bad about it. A quick check with co-workers often helps before giving gifts to higher-ups as they will be able to let you know the appropriate way/time to do it if you talk to them first.

Take it as a learning curve and keep doing what you do.
"It's better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!"
Teach this to your students... they'll thank you for it later!


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2015, 10:17:36 am »
I think I'd react in the same way if someone tried to give me rice cakes.


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2015, 10:20:51 am »
Well, I mean, is that the ONLY school in Korea that you can work at? Why do you care if your relationship is not longer the same? After your contract finishes...you can walk away and work someplace else. Just don't give his ass any gifts ever again. Ignore him whenever possible. These are just jobs, guys. There are always other jobs out there(in Korea or out of it). No job is worth stressing over, especially for something so trivial.


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2590

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2015, 10:22:51 am »
I think I'd react in the same way if someone tried to give me rice cakes.

Can we not start this whole "did take a deuce on your face" because your gift sucks thread.  It is the thought that counts.  Geeze.   :P


  • HyooMyron
  • Super Waygook

    • 493

    • October 14, 2013, 11:36:39 pm
    • Jinju, S. Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2015, 10:34:45 am »
Should've thrown it in his face, told him how rude it is to not accept gifts, then stormed out.

Yeah, then you can give him the silent treatment!  :evil: :evil: That'll show him! :police: :police:


  • Pennypie
  • Expert Waygook

    • 862

    • July 26, 2014, 08:16:47 pm
    • Koreaaa
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2015, 10:39:59 am »
Well, I mean, is that the ONLY school in Korea that you can work at? Why do you care if your relationship is not longer the same? After your contract finishes...you can walk away and work someplace else. Just don't give his ass any gifts ever again. Ignore him whenever possible. These are just jobs, guys. There are always other jobs out there(in Korea or out of it). No job is worth stressing over, especially for something so trivial.


Well, I mean, if you want to stay in the public school system and you want to stay in the system then you don't have the choice of which school you work at. The principal decides if the school will resign you.


There's probably a reason he can't do it anymore and yeah it sucks no one told you. Don't worry too much about it, he probably hasn't thought of it since.  :smiley:


  • bjinglee
  • Expert Waygook

    • 545

    • March 10, 2011, 10:29:48 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2015, 10:44:08 am »
I understand why you wanted to give gifts to the principal from a Western perspective, but in Korea it just seems odd. I can only imagine what the other teachers must have thought. I think he probably overreacted, but it's not something I would have done to begin with.


  • Hot6^
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1759

    • March 14, 2014, 02:46:01 pm
    • Bucheon
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2015, 10:50:07 am »
Should've thrown it in his face, told him how rude it is to not accept gifts, then stormed out.

ah yes, the Korean way of doing things... yet for some reason, if a waygook does it to a Korean... its not acceptable behavior.
What you put into Korea, is what you will get out of Korea; it will not spoon feed you.


  • englishrose
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • June 24, 2013, 07:27:22 am
    • South Korea
Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2015, 10:53:02 am »
I understand why you wanted to give gifts to the principal from a Western perspective, but in Korea it just seems odd. I can only imagine what the other teachers must have thought. I think he probably overreacted, but it's not something I would have done to begin with.


Are you serious? Those of us who have a bit of time behind us know the gift for principal culture. It's annoying, expensive and tedious. Every time a teacher goes abroad they must bring something back for principal, VP and one for the staff room at the very least. Western perspective?

You did the right thing OP it's just that highers ups have taken the piss in the past, so teachers have whined at their union and the word has come down from up on high that Principals and VPs are paid well enough and they can buy their own sodding rice cakes.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 10:55:05 am by englishrose »


Re: Principal refused my Christmas gift
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2015, 10:55:01 am »
Should've thrown it in his face, told him how rude it is to not accept gifts, then stormed out.

since some people seem to have missed it - this was a joke people.