How many gluesticks does one classroom really need?
Or why is the teacher requesting a 3 inch binder instead of the 1 1/2 inch binder that Target actually has in stock?
These are all questions I am sure we’ve all asked ourselves within the past month since kids are back in school.
What if I told you that there is only one thing your child’s school wants from you? Would you believe me? Ok, let me build my case.
By now, I am sure you’ve been inundated with all the Open House flyers or calls. The PTA flyers.
Speaking of, wouldn’t it be cool if all schools handed one out that said this:
Hey, this school in Texas was just keeping it real. They came up with a different way of asking for what they need from parents. Sure, they’ve heard us all talk about how they always want money or how they always want us to spend time at the school. Like we don’t have to work, right?
Once upon a time there was a young mom who tried to be everything to everyone. She I would get so jealous of the moms who had chosen to stay at home with their kids. They were always at the school, becoming the room parent, helping out with the parties. While all I could do was send in some cupcakes. Shoot, I was doing good by signing all the paperwork the school sends home during the first week.
Over the years, I’ve had to come to the realization that I can’t be all things to all people. This was a tough pill to swallow because my Type A personality says that I am perfect, therefore, I do perfect things the perfect way all the time.
Once I accepted my own path and got over the guilt, which is being a full time work outside the home mom, I was able come up with ways to be actively involved at my son’s school.
Sadly though, as my son was entering middle school, I was at the start of a divorce. The next couple of years were a whirlwind, to the point that one day I woke up and he was starting high school.
Needless to say, I was involved as much as I could be.
I knew that once my daughter reached school age that I needed to be more involved.
If you’re anything like me, you’re busy. And, you don’t always feel like being up at that school. Am I right?
You wanna be up at the school, but you still have laundry to do, cooking to do (my Hubs does all the cooking at our house, so….), cleaning to do. Let’s be realistic.
On the flip side of that though there are parents who have time but don’t/won’t spend it helping the school out. Not saying you have to but teachers have it hard with lil hard-headed kids all day.
A lot of times we, as parents, go from one extreme to the next. We are either (a) at the school all day long OR (b) never set foot inside the school building.
Whatever the case may be, you have to decide if your involvement will be physical or behind the scenes.
By physical, I mean can you:
- be a room parent?
- volunteer on a regular basis?
- be PTA/PTO board member?
- organize the school fundraiser?
If you can do any of those things, have at it.
I had to be honest with myself. I knew that I could not consistently do the things I mentioned above, so most of the time I opt for the “behind the scenes” type of involvement.
By “behind the scenes”, I mean can you:
- send in a few packs of copier paper?
- send in some extra gluesticks (as if they need anymore, but you know what I mean)?
- make sure Justin (got Justin Timberlake on my mind) gets to school on time?
- see that the kid reads for at least 20 minutes daily?
- address any behavioral or academic issues at home?
Yeah, that stuff counts just as much, especially addressing those issues at home. The parent/teacger relationship should be a real thing. Times have changed so much, from the teacher being like a second mom away from home to the teacher being the evil stepmom, with the parent always taking the kid’s word over the teacher’s.
See how this thing goes both ways?
Yes, I know that not all teachers are created equally. There are some that should never be in that line of work. But I am sure that the number of good outweighs the bad. Like my old Chemistry teacher used to say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Bad apples always fall to the ground just to get attention (came up with that one on my own, sorry Dr. Hillman!).
One other thing, however you choose to be active in your child’s school, make sure you keep it up as the kid grows.
Our school’s Open House was last week. As I walked to her 4th grade hall, I passed the kindergarten classes and there was barely standing room. Same for 1st, 2nd. By 3rd grade, you could still grab a seat in the back. 4th grade, let’s just say we enjoyed an intimate setting. By middle school, I am sure attendance really dwindles. Imagine high school. I’ve already been on this route and I can tell you that parental involvement starts to decline around middle school. Many parents feel that as their child grows older, the less amount of time they need to be involved.
If anything, parents need to be more involved as the child grows older.
The point, find a way to be active in your child’s school that works for you. It may not be with your physical presence. It may not be with your money. It could just be the things you do at home that will reflect in Sanaa’s behavior at school (ok, just heard the preview for the movie “The Perfect Guy”, starring Sanaa Lathan).
Just in case you stumble into a PTA/PTO meeting this year, check out this prep piece from Mommyish on the 10 types of parents you will meet at your school’s open house.
Amazing, huh? And to think, you probably didn’t believe that there is only 1 thing your child’s school wants from you.
Would you be offended by the PTA letter sent from the school in Texas?