Why Every Parent Should Volunteer In Their Child’s School

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 Department of Education cc by Flickr
Department of Education cc by Flickr

The new school year marks a new academic beginning for you and your child. Like every school year both of you aspire for success. Okay, maybe you are the only one aspiring. Your little angle is more focus on reuniting with friends. 

As the year progresses the aspiration turns into despair because your child and school refuses to cooperate. It’s an exasperating experience compounded with the restriction of having to work.

I remember that feeling of helplessness and frustration. The perception that the school is just uncooperative, inflexible and unreasonable. It was easy to personalize the bad academic year to us against them but upon reflection I noticed that the most successfully academic years were when I became a school volunteer. My daughter and the school seem to bend to my demands. Of course it was more that my presence in the school turned the, us against them into let’s work as a team for my child’s success.

Therefore, if for this new school year you are seeking academic success for your child, it begins with becoming a school volunteer. Yes, it does, there is no getting around this. I can quote many experts on the many benefits of becoming a school volunteer. The rewards of spending time in your child’s classroom, in joining the PTA/PTO, in volunteering in the office. But, I won’t. The research is out there, google it.

What I can do is give you a personal account of being a school volunteer. The most prominent benefit is that my daughter loved having me at her school and it manifested in her grades.  On my off time or days, I read aloud to the class in the voices of the characters within the book. The kids loved it. From reading to the class, I progressed to PTO/PTA president and eventually Girl Scout Troop Leader. These were the glory days for my daughter she blossomed and received many academic awards and art recognition.

In middle and high school, for a laundry list of personal reasons, I was unable to volunteer. My lack of presence reverted back to the, us against them relationship and never got better. The teachers were uncooperative, so my daughter experienced bullying by students, teachers and staff. We never had a good academic year. Upon reflection, since I was unable to volunteer, I should have solicited family and friends to be “my presence”. And so too, I urge every parent to volunteer in their child’s school. The volunteer time need not be long, an hour a week, a month every two months. Just do it. Moreover, it is just as important to join the PTO/PTA, even if you know you cannot attend all the meetings.

I had the pleasure of substitute teaching for many schools and the best school were always the one with full parent participation. The cliche, there is power in numbers, rings true. Not every parent could volunteer every day, but every parent’s presence was felt. No one understands more than I do that it is not always possible to have a presence in your child’s school. But if not you, maybe grandma, grandpa or some other family member. Whatever you do, do something.