Parent Volunteers

Aug 19, 2010 by

I welcome parent volunteers in my classroom.  I so appreciate the extra pair of hands–whether it is to monitor students while I teach a guided reading group or to hang a bulletin board, the help is invaluable to me.  Plus I think it is a great form of PR.  When parents see firsthand how I am trying to meet individual needs and create a safe, happy environment for my students, they will likely share their positive experience with others and will be more cooperative if I come to them with a concern about their child.

Managing parent volunteers can be a small job in itself, however, and requires some pre-planning and organization.  I have found that some parents prefer to help with some tasks and not others and that frankly, some parents are better at certain tasks than others.  I will never forget the honest parent who approached me one day and told me that she should probably not volunteer as a spelling workshop helper anymore because spelling just wasn’t her strength. 

To help assess the availability and task preferences of my students’ parents, I send home a parent volunteer form the first week of school. 

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Once I have received the completed forms, I make out a monthly schedule of times and duties.  For parents who prefer to do clerical tasks rather than work directly with students, I prepare a volunteer basket.  When I write lesson plans and find that I need copies to be run, games to be made, paper to be cut, etc., etc., I place a master copy or sample in the basket with directions and “date needed by” on a sticky note.  When the parent volunteers come to the classroom, they don’t have to interrupt my teaching—they just go to the volunteer basket and select a job they would like to complete.  Other parents are assigned specific weekly jobs such as spelling workshop assistant, guided reading helper, listen to oral reading, etc.

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