Do you recognize any of these recruiting tactics?

The Enthusiast: “Are you ready — Pajama Day is almost here!” she says excitedly as you pass each other in the hall. The reminder comes again in exclamation-studded handouts and again in enthusiastic emails sent at 2 am that say — in about 800 words each — “Pajama Day is coming!!!!!”

The Eeyore: “Honestly, I’m just so overwhelmed,” she says, making full eye contact with a meaningful, slightly downcast look. “I just want to make this fieldtrip possible for the kids. I think it’s really important…” And then the kicker: “… and I think you do, too.”

The Homing Device: It’s pickup time and parents are hurriedly helping their kids into their jackets when the teacher says your name. The parent next to you visibly relaxes — not the target — yet picks up the pace to get outta of there. Everyone knows: the teacher picks the parent she wants, persuasively, and often persistently, gets the computer whiz, reading group volunteer, or library alphabetizer she seeks

I’m illustrating, of course, some of the myriad ways teachers persuade/entice/bombard/guilt us into volunteering in the classroom. We know how much schools and teachers need our help and how hard parent wrangling can be.

So, how have the teachers in your life successfully managed to recruit you (or your spouse) to pitch in at school. That’s what we want to find out from you. The stories, the tidbits — what worked, and what didn’t.

We’re working with Edutopia to pull together an insider’s guide for teachers filled with real-life examples of innovative, compelling, and touching ways you’ve been recruited to pitch in at school or in the classroom. What makes you inspired to get involved? What’s a turn off? Have you ever observed a teacher who is a master at engaging parents? Share your stories and your observations from the trenches!

We’ll put the best comments into the teachers’ guide — even funny ones about what didn’t work — and we’ll quote you, so please be sure to include your name, role (parent, 3rd grade teacher, etc.), and the state where you live.

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