Do you ever feel frustrated with the things that go on at your child’s school? Has your young child ever come home with quirky stories about their classmates or teachers, or other school staff – that have made you wonder what goes on when your child is at school? If so, these are just two good reasons that you should make volunteering at your child’s school both a priority and a habit.
School systems today are experiencing cuts in nearly every single department. Many school systems have had to reduce or completely abolish art and athletic classes and activities. While it doesn’t make sense to make government cuts in education, that is exactly what is happening. And one of the most plentiful and helpful resources available to school systems today is parents.
When parents choose to volunteer at their child’s school not only do they get an up close and personal look at the things (and people) their child experiences every day, but they also are able to help fortify the school system to make it better. Quite often, parent volunteers are the backbone of extra curricular activities such as yearbook committees and sports teams. And for every parent that can or is willing to volunteer a few hours every day whether it be in their child’s classroom or in the media center, the school is able to implement the better use of qualified personnel toward education.
It is also important to volunteer at your child’s school so that you can stay involved. Whether it is right or not, teachers know which students have attentive parents and tend to treat those children much better overall. Plus, when you are involved and work to forge relationships with the teachers and staff at your child’s school – you are able to put your child in a better position to get the best education possible. Clear communication, that is face to face with teachers is the best way to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and to gain an understanding of what your child’s teacher is up against day in and day out.
Too often, parents are willing to volunteer in their child’s school when their children are young. Then, as they hit middle and high school, the parental involvement slacks of considerably. Unfortunately, this is just the time when your involvement and presence at the school might do the most good. If you choose to volunteer at the school, you will get to know many of the students that your children hang out with on a daily basis. You will also get an insiders look at some of the dynamics in place that can affect your child both educationally and emotionally. This enables parents to make better-informed decisions when it comes to their kids and socialization. In other words, you will be able to meet a lot of students while you are there and can make better character judgments of your child’s peers.
Many parents who work full time feel like they do not have the opportunity to spend time in their child’s school. The truth is that these parents can be involved as well. Just taking your lunch hour to eat with your child at school can be an awesome way to know what is going on. You will be able to meet the other kids that your child hangs out with every day and get some ‘face time’ with the teacher and administration. When they see you there at lunch, they will realize that you are dedicated to your child and their education.
Plus, full time parents can offer to volunteer in other ways outside of the general 8-hour day of school. You could offer to help grade papers, make cut outs for your child’s classroom, bring in goodies for parties, or even to help in other school departments. Or if you have specialized skills, your talents may be useful in the PTA or other area of the school system. Your best bet is to volunteer your services and time and allow the school system to utilize you as best as possible.
In addition to volunteering, you should look into the substitute-teaching program at your child’s school. Most school districts around the United States make qualified applicants take a course about substitute teaching and then will put them on the list. If you are available during school hours every day, this is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door (and get paid) at your child’s school.
Many parents forget that children spend quite a lot of time at school. The day is filled with activities and people that can make a large impact on the life of your child. Your involvement sends a strong message to your children that you plan to be there for them, and that you are paying attention to what is going on in their life. And it enables you to see your child in action, witness their interactions with others, and get to know the people that will no doubt be shaping their lives when you are not around.
Plus, your presence can truly help take the burden of some of the teachers that may be pulling double duty due to recent cutbacks and furloughs across the school system. Even if you have never worked in education before or have no experience, chances are that there is something you can do at your child’s school that will help the system and your child. It’s never too late to be a volunteer! You might be surprised how quickly members of the school staff welcome your assistance when you choose to offer it.