Aug 27, 2013
06:00 AMMK Memo
Why I'm a PTA Mom
There are still 13 days before my kids go back to school, but I've been mired in the minute details of budgets and fundraisers and event planning for weeks. That's because I'm secretary of our middle school's executive PTA board, and we have to be ready to go as soon as that first bell rings September 9.
I have to admit, every time a PTA email hit my inbox this summer, I'd sigh, I'd groan, I'd open another browser and surf the Web and ignore the message for a bit. Then I'd get over myself, open the email and help with the planning, remembering why I signed up for the job in the first place.
I signed up because I want to know what's happening in my sons' lives when they're in that school building. Who are their teachers, who are their friends? What exactly are they learning and how well are they learning it? How are they being treated? How are they treating others? Who are my boys when they're not in my presence? Being active in the PTA, showing up for monthly meetings, basket raffles, book fairs, carnivals, class parties, has given me access to this information I'm not sure I would have been otherwise privy to.
The more teachers see your face, the more comfortable they get with you and the more you become an active partner in your child's education. Just by manning a station at one event or another, I've developed friendly relationships with teachers my kids never even had, gaining a better understanding of the school ecosystem with every conversation. I don't think it's gotten my kids any preferential treatment, nor did I want them to receive extra attention they didn't deserve, but it certainly has sent a message tthat we're a family who values intelligence and education, so please challenge my boys as best you can.
Sometimes that "best" has been anything but. In these cases, I feel that my volunteerism has lent me an added boost. I'm not just a random parent who swoops in to complain; I'm proactively trying to change something I think can be better. Likewise, I've been vocal in praise for the wonderful teachers my kids have been lucky enough to have over the years. Of course, every parent has the right to do this, whether they're in the PTA or not, but I've found that my participation has kept me in the path of the administrators who most need to hear what parents have to say, whether or not they want to hear it.
Now that I'm working out of the home once again, my availability to be at the school has plummeted. But I'm still on the board because showing the people tasked with educating my sons that I care is of utmost importance to me. I'll take minutes at the monthly meetings, post the daily bulletin on the PTA Facebook page, sign up other parents at back-to-school night and do whatever it takes to stay involved. I'll continue to sigh and groan about it, because time is tight. But it's time well spent.
So when you see the PTA signup in your back-to-school packet this year, sigh and groan and put it down and ignore the request for a bit. Then get over yourself, pick up a pen and put your name down for one committee or another. You (and your kids) will be glad you did.