With school budgets under ever increasing stress, and cuts happening in even the wealthiest of school districts, volunteering in the schools is more important than ever. Assistants and aides are often some of the first positions on the chopping block (in addition to supplies), so teachers need help in the classroom with everything from set-up to photocopying to leading small group activities. If you have the time and inclination, it’s very much worth your effort to be a classroom volunteer.
Volunteering in a school classroom is not only helpful to the class teacher, but it has numerous other benefits, especially if you work directly with your child’s class. Some think that those who participate in the classroom have another goal in mind — hovering, or checking up on the classroom teacher to make sure that their child’s needs are being met. While some parents do wish to be able to keep an eagle eye on their kiddo’s day, most are truly there to help out.
Hearts of gold
Teachers appreciate volunteers more than you might know. “Oh without a doubt they have the hearts of gold and are doing it to help,” explained Katie, mother of two and a high school biology teacher.
Liz, mother of two, agreed. “When I volunteered, I was working with kids that needed extra help, so I didn’t even interact with my daughter except when I got there and when I left. In my experience I haven’t seen the hovering, but that’s because I haven’t seen many parent volunteers in the classroom.”
You get known
Parent volunteers can become well known to not only their child’s teacher, but the other classroom teachers and the rest of the staff as well. Having a presence in your child’s school also helps you to get to know and interact with your child’s friends. Being familiar to your child’s teacher, the school secretary, the principal and the rest of the staff can ease pick-up time and your comfort in the school can make it seem like you’re part of the group.
Having a presence in the school lets you in on your child’s daily routine as well as allowing you to witness how the school works. “Personally, I volunteer at my child’s school for adult interaction, and because I want to be involved in my child’s education,” explained Kelly, mom of two. “When you volunteer, you know more about the inner workings of the school… that has its advantages. When I volunteer at class parties, I do it to help out, but I also like being with my child.”
Benefits for your child
Your child may reap benefits of your continued presence as well. Jolene from California found that teachers were nicer to the kids whose parents volunteered. “It is not fair, but that did play into my desire to volunteer at the beginning because Kaden was a shy kid,” she told us. Other parents felt that kids whose parents volunteered at school tended to do better in school and were more socially accepted. “At least in my area, those whose parents are heavily involved are well liked, get the best classes and excel in school,” said Lisa, mom of three.
Volunteering in your child’s school benefits not only your child, but the teachers, staff and you as well. Being a hands-on part of your child’s education can be very rewarding. And what’s more important than that?