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Have you ever felt unwelcome when volunteering in your child's class room?


Talinna August 9, 2011

I wan to see my children's school grow and improve (Hickman Mills school district), and I'm very aware that most the districts problems are due to a lack of parent involvement. But last year I got the feeling from his teacher that she didn't want me in the class room, and the year before I felt like the senior PTA members were put out by my suggestions and wanting to be a part of so many things. My son will be entering 3rd grade this year and his sister Kindergarten. The school principal will be entering her second year in the position and talking with her she seemed to welcome the idea of me volunteering in the school 1/2 a day on Fridays. My husband is the council chair for cub scouts, and secretary for the CODE (gifted program) PTA, we're also want to help the South Suburban Youth Junior Football league grow. So we are quite busy, but from a community point of view all of these things tie in together. I just know that last year the cold reception we got from the school put me off and I turned my attention else were and I don't want things to be that way again this year.

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MagnetMom August 9, 2011


You've unfortunately felt the irony of volunteerism. Schools and PTOs beg for volunteers but no sooner do you offer to help, and you're given this odd feeling that you're either in the way or your new ideas aren't welcome.

Your principal is in her second year, and now that she has the lay of the land, I'd definitely team up with her first. New ideas are often seen as threats by the old guard--if only because they often have a long history of doing things, and they might even have a bad experience with something you suggest (or they could just be cold and cliquish). There's a GREAT article on the divide on PTOToday, located here: As for the teacher, some teachers do feel that volunteers in the classroom distract from the learning experience, and they just feel uncomfortable with people in the classroom. Others love having the help.

Again, start with the principal. Whether you decide to tackle grantwriting or coordinating the communications between the school and home, find a job you're interested in and start small. Encourage other parents new to volunteering to join you for half and hour with the principal (often called Coffee with the Principal or a principal's chat) once a month to bring concerns to the principal and allow the principal to share with parents in a small, less formal arena.

If you are asked to help in the copy room, you could coordinate an "in box" for any volunteer to come in and manage the printing for any teacher with virtually any amount of time they might have.

The possibilities are endless, but check with your principal first since she seems to be your window in to the school.

Good luck!


Talinna August 9, 2011

Thanks MagnetMom there are a few good suggestions there. I'll give that article a look later.


FaithHeals August 28, 2011

Yes, I felt uncomfortable volunteering at my son's private school - but it was the only way I could discover what the school was really like. For as unpleasant as it was, it turned into a positive because we found a school that is a better fit - modern teaching techniques, modern curriculum .... So, if you feel uncomfortable, maybe this school does not share your standards and principles. For us, the unpleasantness was a wake up call and a blessing.


jigsawinc August 29, 2011

When my son was in third grade I got that type of reception from the first day of school. And this was after I have been a parent volunteer for the previous 3 years! And my son has always been awesome about me being at school. Never clingy or getting out of his seat because I came into the room. It felt like having the door slammed in my face. The teachers I had worked with previously were glad to see me but the one that I was there to help was so cold and hateful, I went only a few times and then focused my attention elsewhere. As the year wore on I began to believe that his teacher didn't want anyone in the class to witness her hatefulness and yelling, which I later found out was the norm for her. My son has always been a happy kid that liked school and by the middle of that year he hated school. This particular teacher, for whatever reason, chose to start singling out my son for punishments and for several weeks in the Spring of that year hauled him to the Principal's office every few days wanting to spank or suspend him. This is a child who is always on the A or AB Honor roll and had never had a single discipline problem! It finally ended when my husband went and had words with the principal and found out that even though he was only in his first year at our school, he already knew of her reputation and behavior! She did get in a small amount of trouble because we noticed the study guides improved. (One question I remember when they were studying importing and exporting: Why do we import from China? Her answer was: So we can get our bananas. !!!!!! Really?!?!) Like FaithHeals said, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, but it sure was hard to get through. I was already looking for an alternative before school let out for Summer and we removed him from there (she got moved up to 4th Grade for the next year and he would have had to deal with her again!) and put him into a private school. It is a much better fit! They do much more learning and LOVE parent volunteers. I went to help out and found myself in the library. I am now in my second year as THE librarian and I love it! It's only 1 or 2 days a week, but I get to see all the kids, eat lunch with my son and his class and keep in touch with his teacher about his work and our class activities (I'm also a room mom to help with field trips, programs and parties). I'd have to say look at your situation. Is that unwelcome feeling you get, extending into the classroom? Have you noticed a change in your child's attitude toward school or in their grades/school work? If there is anything going on that makes you feel bad to send your child there or that makes you uneasy, I would look at all the alternatives available. Best wishes for a great school year. For YOU and you child! :)


PamelaMorenoJi August 29, 2011

I think that a good Ideal to Volunteering in your child's class room. I also think that more parent should get invold with the teacher class.
I think what we should do is to come and join the PTA meeting more comment the parent has the more the principal can do about the school.
My childeren goes to Joseph Bonnhiem and my son is going to 4th Grade and his brother going to Kindergarten. We had a wonder PTA and I was a Vice Presnet for 2 years and hope I get voted again.
If we know our school is not doing to well they need to get the after School program to work on the weak subject that they are having on.
We should have Math and Reading and writting, work on there home work also for 2 hours each childeren to work on before they play games.
That what I think after school program should do for all the school and have volunteering to help parent and student in high school to help also for Volunteering. I love helping and I can not wait until I retired to help the school that my childeren is attending. I help and do at less 4 or more hours to Volunteer. So please remember the teacher can do so much and us parent have to finish on the rest on our chileren to lean and education the best we can.
Thank you!

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