Making the Most of Volunteering at School
With 75% of schools around the country heading back to school in the month of August, parents are sure to have 'helping out' on the brain. The calls for parent volunteers is loud and clear once school doors open for another exciting year, and it is important to answer the call with a genuine willingness and enthusiasm. Making the most out of volunteering at school is easy when you practice these 3 things:
Find a job you enjoy: No, that is not too much to ask. Room parents, educators and school leaders want parents to love what they do in school! When school parents are truly enthused by the good work they are getting to do in the classroom, that enthusiasm transfers to the students and reflects on their learning environment and academic success.
If you are super-organized and love managing projects, consider organizing classroom parents with free online signup sheets. If cooking and baking are your forte, help plan the annual bake sale or class holiday party. Love helping kids learn to read, offer tutoring skills or signup to take part in weekly reader time.
Make time for it: When volunteering at school is part of your life and not a task you try and squeeze into an already busy schedule, you are sure to find more meaning in it. When you are asked to signup to volunteer for various activities within the classroom or for the school fundraiser, find a time that allows you to not be rushing to and fro - a window that gives you time to focus on the classroom and how you can make the most positive impact there.
If your busy schedule just doesn't seem to allow for physical visits within the classroom or at the fundraiser, for example, talk with parent coordinators about alternate volunteer jobs that can be completed at home. Working on the class blog or school social media accounts is a great remote volunteer job that gives you freedom to work at your pace; making cut outs for the class bulletin board and baking for the class party are also great home-volunteer jobs.
Celebrate your unique talents & skills: The contributions of a diverse and unique group of parent volunteers is what classrooms thrive off of. Celebrating your special skills and talents is vital to making a big impact in the classroom, and teachers actively seek parents who can enrich the classroom with lessons on gardening, nutrition, technology and more. If you want to spend time with students sharing your educational gifts, speak up! Let the room parent or teacher know when you go back to school.