PTO/PTA parents get a bad rap.
PTO: The Real Scoop
The movies show demanding, pushy women trying to run the school like its their own little kingdom. And while this may be real in some schools, this is not the norm.
This organization exists to support the school as well as the teachers and students. They are responsible for fun family events, teacher and staff appreciation, student award recognition, holiday celebrations and more. And, yes, there is some fund raising involved for things like school trips, band uniforms or helping to add more books to the library.
Countless Ways to Help
I realize that most of us work and have 100 other things that we need to attend to on a regular basis. This makes things like volunteering to help at your kids’ school low on the priority list.
But I ask you to reconsider. There are so many ways to be involved. Volunteer to hand out popsicles on field day. Bring some juice boxes to your kid’s Valentine’s Day party. Attend general PTO meetings and townhalls. You do not have to be on the PTO board or chair a committee unless you want to. But taking 2 hours one afternoon to help with carnival or field day could be great. The PTO will be grateful for your help and it shows your kids how important it is to be part of the school community.
Have a Voice
Another benefit to getting involved is being able to make an impact on your school. Make suggestions. Ask questions. Even something as simple as hearing that the school is trying to set up a specific event and you know that you have a contact that could help is incredibly valuable.
I have heard some complaints about the PTO/PTA saying that the events that were planned were not communicated well or that parents were not given enough notice to plan to attend, much less help out. That is perfectly valid and I have, in fact, felt that way. So instead of feeling frustrated, talk to a PTO member and make some suggestions about how things could have been coordinated better. Offering helpful suggestions (or better still, offering to help out with more notice) is a great way to be supportive and may open the door for more involvement and better communication in the future.
Know What is Happening
I realize that I sound like I am writing an ad for the PTO/PTA but I got involved just this year and it has already been a valuable experience. Our children spend hundreds of hours every year at school. In fact, during the school year, their teachers see more of them than we do.
Why wouldn’t we want to have more insight into their school and its structure and its leadership?