My sons start school tomorrow. My oldest will be in second grade and my youngest in Pre-K. School supply lists were printed and supplies purchased and dropped off at their Open House nights. I met their teachers and am hopeful that my boys will have a great year with them.
I am a teacher turned stay at home mom so I checked the box again willing to be room mom and checked off a few other boxes indicating my volunteer interests. But, I just read this mom’s post at Scary Mommy Blog and liked her take on not feeling like you have to volunteer. She is a 40-something with four kids at high school, middle and elementary level. That is tiring in itself! I just turned 41, yet have young ones and have another take likely because I only have two and I’m at home.
Volunteer, but don’t overcommit yourself. Maybe you can do an ongoing in classroom volunteer job at a certain time daily, once a week, or once a month. Maybe you can do a one time job once that year. If you work and don’t have much flexibility to volunteer; that’s okay. Your way of helping can be to send in an item when it’s requested or if you have a unique talent or the right contact for a fun event, you can offer it up when you see appropriate. I like it when a couple of parents team up to be room moms and share the responsibility.
Teachers are different. Some love parent volunteers and put them to work. Others don’t really want to be bothered with delegating tasks and find it easier to manage their own classroom without parent helpers. I usually I find it’s somewhere in the middle. I never asked for parent help much in my twelve years of teaching, in fact I rarely had a room mom. I taught elementary, but I have always taught at schools where most kids were on the free or reduced lunch program. Many of my parents didn’t speak English and I rarely had parents helping in the classroom. But, I loved teaching at my schools.
All I wanted from my students’ parents was for them to send a healthy snack for their kids, get them a good night’s sleep, and to check their agendas to make sure their behavior was okay and to see whether they did their homework. I actually didn’t like having parents in my classroom too much. But, maybe I didn’t try as hard as I could have to get parents to help. Maybe it would have had a positive impact on the kids I taught.
My son is at a school where the PTA is a force of nature and raises money to buy iPads for classrooms and other awesomeness. They have meetings on “How to be a Room Mom” and for other jobs in the classroom and volunteers for their fundraisers. They have a parent set up and manage a Shutterfly Classroom Share site to share pictures and get other parents to volunteer or bring something for classroom activities. Volunteers can make a powerful impact and it takes a village. Everyone doing a little is better than no one doing a thing. For those of us who can, why not? Why not help to make the school where your child goes a bit more awesome? Say no for your sanity, but do say yes, too.