In 1984, the National PTA (Parent Teacher Association) began an important tradition: taking the time to recognize the dedicated individuals who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. We now know this as Teacher Appreciation Week, and this year, during the week of May 7 – 11, PTAs and PTO’s (Parent Teacher Organization) will find heartfelt and creative ways to honor these special folks who make such an important difference in kids’ lives across the country.
There have been many studies such as The Benefits of Parent Involvement: What Research Has to Say that support how important it is for parents to connect and participate in some way with their children’s school. It’s idyllic to think we can devote consistent chunks of time embedded in the classroom trenches as a weekly volunteer or head up the PTO with unlimited hours tackling the latest fundraising endeavor, but in the real world, most parents are working full-time and trying to manage their family’s already very busy lives.
If you’d like to make a difference and get involved at school but don’t have a boatload of time, here are six quick and easy ideas that might fit nicely into your tight schedule.
6 Ways To Make a Difference at Your Child’s School.
- Establish or Update Social Media Pages
- Attend a Few PTO/PTA Meetings Throughout the School Year
- Send Notes of Appreciation
- Choose One Event to Volunteer At During the School Year
- Offer a Power Hour
- Welcome New Families
Let's take a closer look at each.
1. Establish or Update Social Media Pages.
Today, most schools have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages set up for the school, athletic teams, drama clubs, and for the PTO/PTA. If you are a social media junkie volunteer to take on one of the pages and keep it updated with fresh, interactive posts and fun visuals.
2. Attend a Few PTO/PTA Meetings Throughout the School Year.
You don’t have to be a member of the board to be active in these important organizations. Attendance by parents is vital in keeping the PTO/PTA alive and well. When a specific issue is affecting the school, feedback and ideas from parents who are willing to speak up and brainstorm can make a positive difference in the outcome. It’s also a great way to meet new friends!
3. Send Notes of Appreciation.
Teachers are often one of your child’s most positive role models. If you notice your child is excited about a certain subject or lesson, particularly because of the way the teacher is presenting it to the class, take a moment to send a quick e-mail letting him know he’s doing a great job! Unfortunately, it’s human nature to save contacting someone until something is going wrong, so when teachers hear they’re making learning exciting and fun—it’s sure to boost their enthusiasm and drive them to continue making learning a positive experience.
4. Choose One Event to Volunteer At During the School Year.
Throughout the year, schools host a variety of fundraisers, field trips, after-school programs, concerts, plays and much more. Take a look at your school’s website and see where you might be able to lend a hand, if even for just one event. Take the time to read the informative messages that are sent out on the schoolwide e-mail and list servs or that come home in backpacks. When you’re in the know, you can find ways to get involved that work for your schedule.
5. Offer a Power Hour.
Even if you can’t devote consistent hours of time to help out at school, many schools have ongoing projects that require only an hour of your time. It might be helping the main office run off copies of monthly newsletters that will be going home in backpacks, or helping the school librarian organize books at the end of the school year. Check in with your child’s teacher and see if she has anything you can do to help her prepare for an upcoming lesson that might require stapling packets together or some other task. There are endless tasks that could ease the burden of a teacher who is stretched for time.
6. Welcome New Families.
The beginning of the school year is generally when new families arrive and get acclimated to their child’s new school. However, new students also trickle in throughout the entire academic year. Volunteer to start a welcoming committee where several parents can coordinate calling the new families and greet them with a cheerful welcome and/or send out a welcoming greeting card with a brochure about the school and some key contacts that they could reach out to with specific questions about the new school and residing community.
For more practical parenting advice, tips and tricks visit the Mighty Mommy page at Quick and Dirty Tips.
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