In another group there was a post about giving gifts to teachers. Every year I get gifts from my students. Some personal drawings or letters or parents buy something for their kids to give me. I appreciate and love each and every gift. Many give me gift cards or a actual money. Most of what I get it is put back into the classroom! $200 a year is not enough! I had to fight tooth and nail to get new books for the reading program we use-SRA. I nearly had to go to the school board to get a printer for the classroom computer! Fortunately we do have a small supply room where we get copy paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, notebook paper, markers etc. That supply is usually depleted by mid-year or before. That is why we put out supply lists at the beginning of the year. If each kids brings in Kleenex or baby wipes we can usually make it though 3/4 of the year(unless I have a student that needs to be changed)but then I or my assistant have to buy it. But I do not EXPECT a gift from any student. Last year the whole class got together and gave me and my assistant a $100 Visa gift card. A nice smile and hug before Christmas break is enough for me.
BTW, for the post that said, "keep that money for your household, that teacher gets paid" you obviously don't know how little teachers make. Most teachers don't do it solely for a paycheck. On our taxes we can claim the $250 teacher deduction but my recepts often total $500 or more!