As I’ve mentioned before, I have resisted joining my local PTA. The PTA is an important and valuable asset — if that’s your jam and your child’s school’s organization isn’t filled with sanctimommies who refuse to get along.Â I’ve just never had the fortune of attending one that didn’t have major issues, and judging from some of the emails and comments I have received on Mommyish, I know I’m not the only one. There is already so much arguing on the Facebook PTA page of my kids’ current school that I am totally turned off.
It can be difficult to find ways to still be supportive without sitting through endless, argumentative meetings eating stale doughnuts. Teachers and administrators absolutely need support considering the major budget concerns many schools face. Thankfully, over the years, I’ve managed to find a few things that work for me and my introverted personality, so I can avoid the mama-drama (and papa-drama) and still be helpful.
Much like Eve Vawter,Â I’m not a huge fan of the traditional way schools often fundraise: fundraising programs where they expect you to shill their crappy chocolates or magazines. I personally hate hitting up my friends and family to buy stuff, and I usually just pay for the minimum my damn self. But that isn’t the only way to fundraise. I’ve organized bake sales and raised funds through 5Ks, and I even got some local restaurants to have fundraising nights for my daughter’s old school (working directly with the parent coordinator). Obviously this track might not be for everyone, but if you’re good at fundraising this can be a great way to help out.
(Photo:Â Â abracapocus)
2. Support your teachers directly
Most parents could swing this in one way or another. Personally, I would volunteer as a room-mother since I worked from home for the last few years and had the flexibility, but it can be as simple as keeping in touch with the teacher to see what you can do to help directly. I’m not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I will gladly donate a few extra boxes of tissues or some school supplies when I can afford it. Even if you can’t commit to regular volunteer work, teachers often need parent helpers on field trips or other outings so even one day or a couple of hours could be immensely helpful.
(Photo: Eastman House)
3. Attend your local school board meetings
I know, I know! If you don’t want to go to the PTA meetings, why would you want to go to these meetings? But there is a pretty big difference between the two. I’ve found that while PTA meetings are usually more casual, you’re less likely to encounter cliquishness or personality clashes here. You also get to see how the school board makes their decisions and you can give valuable input on what goes on for the entire district.
(Photo:Â Â John Beagle)
4. Help out with school clubs
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, most school clubs get little support, which is why any extras you can give are greatly welcomed. If your child is in a club at school (or they aren’t, but the school has a club that you’re interested in) you can usually contact the club organizer directly and see how you can help. In the past, I have donated supplies to the art and music clubÂ and my husband has donated his time as an IT systems engineer to help fix classroom PCs. My dad used to coach soccer and would often volunteer for chaperone duty when my chorus class would have meetings at other schools.
(Photo:Â Â sammie619)