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By GreatSchools Staff
6. Be reliable and on time. The teacher will quickly come to rely on you and may be caught short-handed if you do not show up. Being reliable is important even for a one-time volunteer job like chaperoning a field trip. Teachers count on parents who have said they'll be there. If you absolutely can't make it, let the teacher know as far in advance as possible.
7. Don't gossip! While volunteering, you may occasionally overhear private information about other students' academic progress, family life or behavior. If you learn any sensitive info, be respectful and don't tell others.
8. If you work outside the home you can still help. If you want to help during the school day, you may be able to take time off from your job to do it. Several states have policies that require employers to permit parents and guardians to take unpaid leave to participate in school activities. The requirements vary from state to state and most apply only to employers with a certain number of employees. The National Partnership for Women and Children provides a list of state school activity leave policies. Downloading this PDF file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download for free if you click here.
If you can't take time off from work or you have other daytime commitments, ask your child's teacher if he needs any assistance behind the scenes. He might ask you to help during non-school hours by calling other parents, preparing supplies for an art project or science experiment, setting up a computer data base, or editing student writing.
9. Prepare your child. Talk with your child before your volunteer day, and let her know that although you'll be in the classroom, you may not work directly with her. You might also remind her that she needs to listen to her teacher and follow directions, even when you are in the classroom. It is probably easiest to let the teacher handle disciplining your child during your volunteer time, although you can remind her to follow the rules just as you would another child. You'll be amazed how much you learn about your child's life at school, even while working with other students.
10. Have fun! Learn the names of the students you work with, and try to praise something they did well during your time together. Maybe they figured out a tough math problem, cooperated as a group, or listened to directions. The students will remember your compliment and be excited to see you next time.
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