Are you active in your school's activities? - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Do you participate in your school's activities?
A leader ... I run the parents' association 2 11.76%
Volunteer on a regular basis, whenever they ask 11 64.71%
When an activity interests me, yes 4 23.53%
If I'm forced to, kicking and screaming 0 0%
Never, don't have time 0 0%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 12-10-2002, 04:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
merpk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 14,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
And do you feel like it's worth the effort?

- Amy
merpk is offline  
#2 of 16 Old 12-10-2002, 09:37 AM
 
darlindeliasmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: near Philadelphia
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm the first to vote! Um, I didn't mean to be the homeroom mom, thought I'd just help out, but no one else came to the "tea" they had looking for volunteers, so...

I think for the most part, I'd limit my involvement to this. I have too much else going on--LLL, a church women's group, my food coop, my WAHM job--to get involved in the petty politics of a small school.

But this has been a help for me transitioning from a really wonderful preschool experience where I knew each child and their parents well. Being in the classroom helps me get to know the children. And the moms and dads introduce themselves to me, and we have something to talk about while waiting for the kids. (wouldn't otherwise, 'cause as an APer, I'm pretty odd around here).

I came from a Catholic school background (parochial, not private, if you know the difference, which is basically $$$). I assume if DD was there, the fundraising, etc., would be even more overwhelming. this school is pretty well funded. It's the social stuff, the community-building stuff, that's important to me. And so we do all that!
darlindeliasmom is offline  
#3 of 16 Old 12-10-2002, 11:06 AM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like to help, partly because I think it builds a better community and partly because I like to see what my children are doing, both in class and with friends. One thing that I have found is that most of the volunteering is done by a very small group of people. Some of those women are very embittered about the amount of time that they spend at the school, and they complain a lot. They treat other volunteers pretty shabbily, too. I would say that if I start feeling like that, then it would be time to find other activities.

I'm fortunate as a SAHM that I have quite a bit of time for volunteer work. If I were still pursuing a career, I'd be pretty pressed for time and I'd have to let some of the volunteer commitments go. In that case it would be the school volunteering, I think. Compared to the other worthy causes that I help (food security group, community youth group) I'd say the school gets a lot of time and help from volunteers.
bestjob is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 12-10-2002, 04:10 PM
Banned
 
Moon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: living in shimmering disequilibrium
Posts: 1,335
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes.

I was on the Core Council (read, Board of Directors) for 5 years, retired when I was pregnant with Sophie.

Took a long break and was asked this September to head the new Academic Overview Committee.

I do every festival, fete, bonfire, and direct mailing EXCEPT bake sales. I hate bake sales.

I clean the kitchen and laundry in the lower school on Mondays, and I do playground duty on Thursdays, but I'm trying to ditch this cause it's tough to do with the baby in the cold.

Our school requires 8 hours of volunteer work per month per family, and your tuition is billed and extra $80 a month if those hours are not in by the end of the month.
Moon is offline  
#5 of 16 Old 12-10-2002, 06:06 PM
 
mammastar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I volunteer at the school where my stepdaughters (7 and 3) go. Their mom is really strict about access, so both dh and I get 'extra' time with the girls this way when we can. I enjoy the volunteering that is child-centered. Last year when dd #1 was in first grade, I went every week and listened to the kids practice reading. We will bake and help out with class parties. This year my schedule is busier but I select library books for the reading corner to match the month's themes. Dh drives for field trips, has baked cookies and done art projects with the kids.

The school seems to have limited opportunities, though, to be involved in this way -- most of their focus is on having parents involved in endless fundraising activities (the so-called school newsletter is just about $$$, not the kids!). I don't like that, and I don't volunteer for those activities, the more so since honestly I did not pick the school and would not have done so -- maybe I would feel different if it was one I had chosen and felt was worthy of support.

But the volunteering that get you involved in your child's day-to-day life at school is invaluable, if you have the time!
mammastar is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 12-11-2002, 12:09 AM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Mammastar, here's a volunteer activity you might enjoy since it doesn't involve fundraising. At my daughter's school there are Lunch Clubs organized by parents. They might be a chess and checkers club, or a craft club, or a knitting group. The parents supervise them during the lunch recess time, and since we're volunteers, we get to specify the age group of the children and the number of kids we're willing to take on. One of the most successful clubs has been the building club. Usually it's two parents, a big tub of Lego (or Duplo if the children are in Grades 1 and 2), a big tub of K'nex, and whatever else is available through various short-term donations (if you're in the Toronto area, ask Mastermind, and if not, check with your local education supply store to see if they loan such things out) and about 15 to 20 kids. It is beautiful because there hasn't been a kid invented yet who doesn't know what to do with Lego, so the kids come in and just play. There are almost no rules (get permission before you go to the washroom) and very little formal discussion time. Since the children can't save their masterpieces from week to week (no storage and the equipment is shared) we try to have a digital camera available each time we meet to record the geniuses at work. If you are in the Toronto area, PM me for sources for the K'nex and Lego, if you want.
bestjob is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 12-11-2002, 10:04 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 45,981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm in my fourth year on the parent council. I refuse to chair it, that's just not me. We rotate secretary position, so every few months I take the minutes. I've also been asked to be on the emergency closure telephone list to call people.

I don't know if it's just our school board or all of Ontario, but parents now need police clearance to volunteer directly with the kids. Mine hasn't come through yet (they won't accept my one for fostering), so I haven't been able to go on any field trips.

When dd1 was in kindergarten I was in every other week helping out, but I can't do that with dd2.
Irishmommy is offline  
#8 of 16 Old 12-11-2002, 10:41 PM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Right now it's just a few boards that are requiring the police check. It will soon be all of them I am sure. I expect that it is an insurance requirement. For some schools it is making a big dent in the number of parent volunteers that they can get, especially the parents who are working and can only get to one event per year, like a field trip and who aren't organized months and months ahead of time to have the police check done. On the other hand, if it prevents even one incident, I think it is worth it.
bestjob is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 12-11-2002, 11:03 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 45,981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree, but personally, I think that if CAS accepts my police check and lets me have kids unsupervised in my home, then the school should accept it and let me be around 25 kids in public, with other adults.:
Irishmommy is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 12-12-2002, 11:25 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Moon
Yes.

... Our school requires 8 hours of volunteer work per month per family, and your tuition is billed and extra $80 a month if those hours are not in by the end of the month.
Rhonwyn asks: What kind of school do your children attend? I have been asking about parents getting credit for volunteer hours with little luck. We are at a Waldorf school and they want all volunteering to be freely given. It is a nice sentiment but in many classes it ends up being the same families over and over again who volunteer and people get burnt out. I would like to see them get a credit toward tuition or have it equate to fundraising dollars or something. What do you think about the billing for not having 8 hours?
Rhonwyn is offline  
#11 of 16 Old 12-12-2002, 04:41 PM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Irishmommy, I agree about just having one police check. What a waste of paperwork for the police as well. I was just referring to the 99.99% of adults who don't volunteer with kids on a regular basis.
bestjob is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 12-12-2002, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
merpk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 14,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Interesting stuff.

I don't volunteer. Not because I don't want to. Have a baby, a 2yo (part time in the preschool) & a 4yo (full time in the preschool) and no nanny or sitter. The other mothers generally have nannies or some sort of help. They must, because the ones who show up do show up without their younger ones.

And someone mentioned the regular volunteers being rude to the not-regular ones. This is also an issue. The cliquishness is bothersome, but it's the nastiness that gets to me. There's a socioeconomic issue as well, as we're in the red and live modestly, and other mothers are in designer clothes and ... you get the drift.

Most of the mothers are also ten years younger than me, which I guess is not a big deal, but perhaps that's part of the problem.

And as a WAHM, whenever I have free time without the bigger ones I try to get some work done, so that I can sleep late at night (or browse MDC ) instead of working.

And I feel like the regulars resent me for not being there. Well, I just don't know when it would be possible. Would like to. Don't know how.

- Amy
merpk is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 12-13-2002, 12:47 AM
 
bestjob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Amy, don't think of it as something you have to do now. You have undoubtedly done good things in the past and you will do good things in the future. It is okay to let other parents be the volunteers. When your third is in preschool and the other two are doing things, you'll have time for work and for a bit of volunteering. I'm looking forward to the year that my three children are all in the same school. I think I'll probably be there many days that year. In the meantime, I do what I can and write a lot of thank you notes to the moms who do a lot more.
bestjob is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 12-14-2002, 10:08 AM
 
daylily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4,063
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am PTO vice-president this year, and next year I'll be president. It's a big committment, but at our school, the PTO is really important. We fund field trips for students and we put on monthly programs which are mainly designed to build community within the school, a goal which I wholeheartedly support. I am also in my second year of editing the PTO newsletter. I don't volunteer in the classroom very much, mainly because it's difficult with my 3 year old in tow.

I have partly mercenary reasons for being involved. My children are supposed to attend their neighborhood elementary school, but it's the worst school in the city. I got permission to send them to their current school, a public school in a different neighborhood. I feel that by staying involved and pretty much making myself indispensable, we'll continue to be invited back each year. The principal has the power to kick us out on a whim, so I need to stay on her good side. Luckily, the whole city goes to the same school from 5th grade on, so I won't have this stress forever, but I've timed my term as president to occur during the year that I'll have to get permission for my youngest to enroll in kindergarten.

There is, unfortunately, a perception that the PTO board is a group of all the richest parents and that we get special treatment. I'm hoping to dispell that feeling when I am president--no one would ever assume that I'm one of the rich parents--and I want to make sure that any parent who wants to get involved is made to feel welcome. I had a hard time as the only board member who wasn't rich and with a fabulous career. Whenever I said or did something intelligent, people would act surprised, and I know some of the main-line yuppie types are uncomfortable with the idea of me as president. I feel like I have to do an exceptional job, just to prove myself to them, but I'm up for that challenge!
daylily is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 12-14-2002, 12:16 PM
Banned
 
Moon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: living in shimmering disequilibrium
Posts: 1,335
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyn


Rhonwyn asks: What kind of school do your children attend? I have been asking about parents getting credit for volunteer hours with little luck. We are at a Waldorf school and they want all volunteering to be freely given. It is a nice sentiment but in many classes it ends up being the same families over and over again who volunteer and people get burnt out. I would like to see them get a credit toward tuition or have it equate to fundraising dollars or something. What do you think about the billing for not having 8 hours?
It's a Waldorf inspired school that started out as a homeschooing co-op, but is now an actual school.

I agree with you about the nice sentiment, but it doesn't work. The burning out of the same few people is a reality.

And I'm sorry, I really didn't put it well as to the actual mechanics.

Tuition is a set $X a month. If you work your hours the month before, your tuition bill for the following month will be that much less, up to that $80 figure. If you don't, you just pay the regular amount.

The reality is that the same few parents are still always the ones doing the jobs, but at least they get something back for it, some reason to make the effort that is tangible.

Would it be better if we all did it motivated by love/generosity/whatever? Yes, of course it would. But if the work doesn't get done the school grinds to a halt and that wouldn't work, either.

(EVERYTHING but actual teaching is done by the families involved. Cleaning, organizing, day to day scut work, paperwork, everything)
Moon is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 12-15-2002, 02:32 AM
 
member234098's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Behind you.
Posts: 3,378
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
dearest friends:

I always volunteered at school for my siblings, and for my own children. I cover a period of 32 years of active duty in public/private schools, in several communities

When I finished my credential work, I learned in the graduate school of education how to keep the parents out of your classroom. They are considered an annoyance and to be kept out of the classroom at all costs.

This is true.

I was there. I know what I heard. Most of the students were too young to have children, and just laughed along. Active parents are always the butt of jokes.

The professors made rude and snide remarks about nosy parents.

When I worked as an aide, any mother who actively advocated for her child was considered a "b*tch".

I have worked in many different school districts and private schools. This is a common theme.

When my older three children were in elementary school, the principal made a point of not being available when I came into the office to enquire about something. She refused to allow a PTA to exist in the school when she was principal there.

I homeschool my youngest.

The buck stops here with me.
member234098 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off