Not all parents feel comfortable volunteering at their child’s school. I was one of those mom’s who got overwhelmed at the mere thought of working alongside of a teacher and in front of a group of curious children. Once I got over my angst, it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever!
Here are 4 things that make volunteering worthwhile:
- For one, what parent doesn’t love that attention you get when your child looks up and sees you helping out in the class? Or, what about that all eyes on you look you see when the other children point to you and then looks back and asks your child, ‘Is that your Mom or Dad?’ That experience is priceless! Put all of that ego aside, more significantly, is that research shows family engagement improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education.
- Secondly, we all may not agree with or even like our kid’s teacher but, in my experience building a strong relationship with a child’s teacher and, principal helped them feel better about going to school and learning. I recall one year my daughter was placed with a teacher that I wasn’t too happy with. Nothing personal, I just didn’t feel that her teaching methods were challenging enough for not just my child but for the entire class. The first thing I did was to approach the principal (don’t shy away from a higher authority) to see if there was another class that I could move her to. Her answer was that all of the other classes were full. So, I decided to arrange time off with my employer by coming in late one day a week to help out in the classroom. By my helping out, I could see how important it was for the children to see a positive and respectful relationship between parents and their teacher. Besides, having a parent presence in the classroom is one way of keeping the educator accountable for their teachings and, for us as parents, it keeps us involved and up on what’s going inside of the classroom. Plus, it just feels good to help out where it’s needed.
- Third, for those of us who aren’t flexible during the day to work in the class, there are Parent Teacher Associations and, plenty of youth programs and sports organizations outside of school that are always looking for parents to help out. One of my kids was active in sports and the other was involved in performing arts. Although both activities required a lot of our time, one of the best parts of volunteering was that, we had an opportunity to forge valuable relationships with other committed parents who saw the importance in contributing and making a difference in the lives of their children and the entire community.
- Lastly, volunteering inside or outside of the class is a very important part of being a positive role model and giving back, but the most significant type of involvement is what we as parents do at home. By monitoring, supporting and advocating, as parents, we ensure that our children have every opportunity for success.
- Check out a list of ways to volunteer at Urbansitter.com