This article is brought to you by Jill Lubin
Although certainly not a new concept, volunteering at our children’s schools has exploded in recent times. More and more parents, or moms for our perspective here, have become professional school volunteers, spending many hours of their days helping in classes, planning school activities and organizing fundraising endeavors.
Trust me, I know. I am one of those professional school volunteers. I have been the equivalent of the PTO president for my sons’ school for the past 5 years. I have joked that with all the hours that I have invested, I have enough 20 hour blocks (the requirement for the year) for a dozen children per year. My two older sons now attend a different school and I have started volunteering there as well. I have listened to readers, helped with teaching writing, run committees, helped run a book fair, and created internet sign-ups for all kinds of volunteer solicitation.
Why do I do it? I do it out of love for my children and a belief that I can help make their school a happier, safer and more enriching environment. I’m a trained elementary teacher and reading specialist. While I don’t usually get to use my education in my volunteer work, I do find it rewarding. How many of us are trained in a career that we don’t use in our daily lives?
Questions asked of my favorite mom volunteers elicited similar sentiments. All of these women have spent many hours with their children in their classrooms and on school committees without their children. We seem to have 3 major reasons for spending our free time or hard-to-find time in our children’s educational world:
- We want to be involved in our children’s lives. Our motivation may be due to not spending the majority of their day with them, a desire to know who they encounter every day or because our own parents were not present in our school days. “I know how much it means to them when I am helping in the classroom, so it makes me feel good for them to feel and know that I am very present in all aspects of their lives.” Personally, I will admit that I’m nosy and I like to do it because I want to have a better understanding of what’s going on in my child’s classroom and with his classmates. Dinner conversations are much more interesting when we know the children, teachers and administrators that encircle our children every day. It certainly makes the postcard with the classroom teacher’s name that arrives in August a more concrete experience. Especially when our children are young, too young to describe what really goes on in class, we like to be in there checking out the happenings. “My oldest has come home for two years from school telling me ‘I played with the hamster or hermit crab’ every single day. Even after the hamster died, that’s still all he did. I like to go in and see that he actually is doing other things.”
- We feel loyalty to our schools and teachers. “I love the school and my children’s teachers so I want to support them in any way that I can.” Teachers today have so much on their plates that if there’s something we can do to lighten their load, we jump to it. Let’s admit it, most of us can’t imagine spending all day, every day, with our children. Even as a teacher, the thought of spending 8 hours a day with my children is daunting. We hand them off to these wonderful teachers and we want to do whatever we can to make their job easier. I am so grateful for their time and commitment to my children.
- We enjoy the social aspect of volunteering, meeting new parents and making connections. I plan on investigating this more in another piece, but socially what better group of people to spend time with than ones whose lives are similar to ours? You move to a new area, your child enters a new school, you get involved, and you get to meet people.
While we all have different causes that pull at our heartstrings, volunteering in our children’s schools is one shared by many parents. We like to be a part of their educational adventures, we like to show their teacher’s how much we appreciate them and we like to meet new people and make connections. So when the call comes, we raise our hands, click on that “sign up genius,” or return that email with a “YES, please sign me up I will be there.”
Featured Contributor: Jill Lubin
Jill is a trained, non-practicing elementary school teacher and reading specialist. She works as a local childcare consultant (LCC) for Cultural Care Au Pair where she helps host families and au pairs share a meaningful time together; living together, providing childcare and sharing cultures. Jill lives in Lititz with her husband Jeff and her 3 sons Matt (10), Alex (7) and Josh (3).
You can reach Jill via:
- Website: http://jlubin.aupairnews.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org