Do you volunteer at school?
How working mothers can still be involved
, Feb 08 2012 09:39 AM
36 replies to this topic
Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:39 AM
Working parents aren't always able to contribute to school life in the traditional ways, but there are other avenues.
The Working Parents Go Beyond the Tuckshop article shares one working mother's experience and how she thought of different ways to get involved at her child's school.
How do you contribute to your child's school? Are any of your professional skills put to use?
Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:49 AM
I try and do something in the classroom at least once a term, eg, reading groups, swimming help etc. I schedule a morning off work just for this purpose and book it in early. I have also been on various committees in the past. They just drive me nuts though, ie, sitting through interminable meetings after a full day at work.
Lately I have been doing my bit to help the band teacher by spending half an hour or so with her before school/work just doing her shredding or photocopying or whatever. This is to make up for not taking my turn on the band supervision roster which is at a really inconvenient time. The band is a parent run program so we are all expected to do our bit. Also do shifts on fete stalls and that type of thing.
IN the past, I have offered to help with accompanying children take the train into the city for an excursion (as I work in the city so it just means going in to work a little later). Generally I am pretty good at kid herding (have experience as a high school teacher) so that would be my preference if I could make the hours suit.
Don't do enough with the high schooler. Tossing up between uniform shop (which might just embarrass her) and P&C (not sure I could stand it). Don't seem to be as many options for volunteering at high school. I did do a shift on a stall at her school fete last year but that is about it, I think.
Edited by mrsjessop, 08 February 2012 - 10:22 AM.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:53 AM
To be honest I think it will mainly be financial help and the occasional weekend working bee until my youngest is in school. I am happy to help read but I don't know that having a 2yr old with me will be fair to the school kids.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:55 AM
I have put my name down to help out for two hours every Tuesday morning.
My 18 month old comes with me, but that works out well since it's a Prep classroom and she just finds some puzzles to play with.
I think it has two main benefits; I'm supporting the teacher/school and I get to see my son in his school environment, the kids he's playing with, how he interacts with others etc.
Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:58 AM
I do reading, maths and science groups, swimming spotting and helping out in my daughter's Prep room + excursions etc.
I'm at the school about 2 hours a week doing some or all of the above. I work shift work which makes it easy for me to fit things in. I'm also a midwife so I actually hope my professional skills are not put to use
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:33 PM
I work full time, but Im trying to do my hours so I get every second Friday off.
Last week I went in to school to help cut up and distribute the fruit platters for the classes.
Ive volunteered to help out at the school fete, on both of my children's stalls for an hour each on the night.
I'd like to do a bit more with both of my kid's classes - Prep and Grade 4.
Hopefully I can as the year progresses.
Id like to do more, like reading groups etc, but I just cant fit it in with work.
Im a nurse - so dont really want to put any of those skills to use, lol!
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:38 PM
My DD just started school this year. I work full time and don't have time to really do anything...however my retired kindy-teacher mum more than makes up for my poor contribution - she does reading groups every day (I love you Mum!!)
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:43 PM
I work FT - as a high school teacher.
A few years ago I heard a rumour that a local high school was amalgamating with its closest primary school. This year it happened - and I got a position in the high school campus.
I had kept my eye on it as I figured if I had to work FT (which I do) then if DD went to school at the same place, I might be able to spend some time in her classroom every now and then.
Some other things have fallen into place re housing and we had to work through a few other decisions. But at this stage, DD will start at 'my school' in 2014 (but, she is currently in the attached ccc anyway).
I am a school leader, so have a bit more flexibility in my day to do reading or canteen at the junior campus than other teachers would have.
Its one of the deciding factors in us staying in this area
Not sure how I would have figured it out otherwise.
As for my contribution - as an educator, they will love having me!
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:46 PM
I have found it too difficult. I did some classroom volunteer work one year for DS's class but the teacher did NOT appreciate my professional skills.
That kind of annoyed me actually.
I was the soccer coordinator for two years which is after hours but when I began working so far from home I couldn't go to the meetings so couldn't do it.
I'd like to do more, I could be immensely useful, one would think, to my children's primary school ... being a primary school teacher, but ultimately I cannot be there and that is what it is.
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:53 PM
I spent the morning at a school working bee working on the garden today. I have helped out with reading, writing policy, worked at the school fete and I'm currently co-ordinating the yearly art auction. Now I have all 3 kids at school, I have increased my hours and responsibility at work and just started a PhD. I have a full time load as well as 3 kids, an old house and no family here so I'm flat out.
I'd like to do more but I just do what I can.
Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:04 PM
P&C executive committee
canteen volunteer (have been in there all day one day a week for 5 out of previous 6 weeks) also co-ordinate the termly canteen roster which has been horrific with people dropping out last minute.
Currently doing all I can as I have a 3 yo who is only in preschool 2 days a week. When she starts school I'll be in for reading groups as often as the teacher needs volunteers and will do any other volunteering jobs needed. This will continue until i decide to either return to work or study
Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:19 PM
I did a lot last year (canteen once a week or fortnight, uniform shop once a month, numeracy and literacy in the classroom once a week, sports volunteering, accompanyng class on excursions...) but this year so far I have done nothing. Mainly because I have changed jobs and am in the office more now. Plus the canteen is no longer run by the P&C so doesn't require volunteers.
DD's teacher mentioned that she knew that I had done a lot in the classroom last year and asked me why I wasn't interested in doing it this year - it's not that I am not interested, it's just that the only day on offer is Thursday, and I am at work on that day. I actually feel a bit lost not having any involvement at the school this year.
She said to me that next term she will organise activities for Fridays so that will be good as I'll be able to help out.
There are some great ideas here...I might approach the Librarian and ask her if she needs a hand for some time on Fridays, and I'll check with the office to see if there's anything I can do there...
Edited by Heffalump, 18 March 2012 - 08:20 PM.
Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:56 PM
I do literacy block for 2 hours a week in my DD's class and I am also the school banking co-ordinator. The school benefits from every deposit made and it is something a working parent can do as it just needs to be collected once a week, added up at home and dropped back to school...not very hard but does need a volunteer to make it work.
Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:40 AM
As much as I would love to volunteer to help, my working hours are pretty erratic, so I just do some reading in the mornings in my son's class when I can.
In my work, I sometimes have access to office furniture/equipment that are being disposed of but are still in good condition. In these cases, I ask if I can donate them to my son's school. So while I can't volunteer my time often, I can try and provide help through other means.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:38 PM
i work 4 days a week. i work in the school canteen 2-3 times a term on my day off. i'm also on the canteen committee. tbh i did it so i could have more input into the gluten free food offered in the canteen but i quite enjoy it now
my girls would love me to do reading with them more (i used to do it a bit when ryan was younger, before rora became too much of a handful) but i hate it so do it as rarely as possible LOL
dh works full time and is on the P&C
Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:58 PM
I work FT so does my other half.
He is school council president and organises the working bees. He's been on the council for 4 years and will do it as long as needed while our kids are there, so up to 12 years all up.
I attend the working bees, volunteer on sports evenings and take a day off to help out at some of the big events. Much easier now the youngest is a preschooler.
I am on my crèche parents committee and have been for 7 years. I'll probably do that for another 2 years until the last one hits school.
We always pitch in time where we can and contribute money or in kind donation where we can afford it.
We fit it in because it's our belief that the school or childcare is only as good as the people who contribute to the community.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:31 PM
I am on the schools PFA (parents and friends association) we do the fundraising and any community stuff like setting up a second hand uniform shop, an expo, ride to school day etc...
I help out on excursions or in class events (last year it was breakfast at school for preps). I will be helping with reading one day a week or so next term.
Our school has lots of sub committee's that meet after hours so working parents can participate. We also have working bees and school council.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:47 PM
I am on the school board for my DD's primary school, the P&F for DD's high school and now I have given up a part time job, I volunteer in two classrooms. I only do this to keep myself busy and assist one of my DD's who struggles to keep up.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:57 PM
I have been helping out with literacy groups in my daughters class this year and next term I am about to start teaching the new ethics course for years 5 and 6 which I am really looking forward to.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:04 PM
I am on the executive committee of my school's P&C and probably the biggest problem we face is gettting volunteers for the Tuckshop. There always seems to be parents willing to do reading groups, but Tuckshop gets completely ignored (despite the fact that it is so popular!) If parents don't help in the tuckshop, then who's going to feed your kids! Argh... sorry for the rant... it's nice to read of other parents who volunteer for their school, but there are just sooooo many who never do (and I'm not talking about working parents, I'm talking about lazy parents) and I find that really appalling.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:09 PM
I did for every year our kids were at school.
I worked shift work so was able to spend some time of most days I worked at the school.
I was on School Council, P&C, Publicity and Marketing convenor, I did reading recovery, I worked in the canteen, the uniform shop and I was the 'nit nurse' (a dubious honour) and revised and formulated a new health program and kept the sick bay and first aid kits up to date.
I went on most sports days, excursions and school camps as the school nurse/first aider.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:35 PM
I am on the executive committee of my school's P&C and probably the biggest problem we face is gettting volunteers for the Tuckshop. There always seems to be parents willing to do reading groups, but Tuckshop gets completely ignored (despite the fact that it is so popular!) If parents don't help in the tuckshop, then who's going to feed your kids!
Maybe some of the people that don't help out with canteen don't see it as important. We've been associated with our current primary school for over 4 years and my kids have never had food from the canteen for lunch, not even once. Not that I have any objection to other people using it, but we just don't need it.
I do very little at the school. I always find it interesting when people say they are able to take flexi time and annual leave etc to help out at school, I always wonder how they get so much flexi time. My employers are pretty good, but I use up every skerrick of my annual leave and flexi time/ time off in lieu covering the school holidays and the numerous early finishes/ pupil free days/ sick child etc. I don't have any spare for helping with reading. It perplexes me how other working parents seem to have so much extra free time from work.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:00 PM
I work 3-4 days a week school hours. I am planning to help out in DD2 primary school helping making resources that EAs normally do each fortnight next term. The primary school have asked that VIPs (Very important parents) do this so the EAs can spend more time in the classroom.
I have done the Reading thing and found it isn't for me, as I have to do so much extra work supporting DD1 homework etc. But making resources I don't mind doing this as I do this sometimes in my current job as a school officer.
The hasn't asked for help in the canteen, but do have an incentive program to get parents to help at school. You can earn $1 per hour of assistance in the school in a passport. This can go towards, uniforms, canteen, some excursions like swimming lessons.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:09 PM
You can earn $1 per hour of assistance in the school in a passport. This can go towards, uniforms, canteen, some excursions like swimming lessons.
Can I just ask how this program works? Who runs it? How does the school monitor how many hours each parent volunteer does?
I think this is one way that might get some of our lazier parents off their bottoms.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:17 PM
I work from home and my hours are flexible. I work in the school canteen once a month and from next term I will do reading for an hour per week.
I would be happy to offer my professional skills (copywriting) and will probably do so when my youngest starts next year.
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