Interesting perspective on parent volunteers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aug 5, 2010

    When I saw "the sisters" on Tuesday someone asked if they had parent volunteers in the classroom. They said no, because they don't want parents to think that they cannot do their job. They compared it to a doctor: A doctor is a professional with a degree, and you would not go into your doctor's office and do his/her job.

    What do you guys think about this? Personally, I do not like having parent volunteers in the classroom (I didn't last year). They plan and run classroom parties, and sometimes help with laminating/cutting and other "busy work."

    I am considering having mystery readers this year, though, because I do feel it is important for children to see that their parents care about school.
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I understand what they are saying, and I can see how parents would be unhappy to do the teacher's job. But, I use parents so I can focus on small groups and individuals. During reading, I have parents read with some of the kids 1:1 and keep notes on a form I made. I also read with each kid, but the extra reading time is priceless for some of my strugglers. And the extra attention is helpful for those great readers who often get short changed on 1:1 time due to time constraints!

    I also use parents for any work with stations. They manage the kids (once I teach and coach them on how to do that).

    My one issue with parent volunteers is when they want to hang out with their kid and not actually help in the class. I cringe when the student curls up in mom or dad's lap while I'm giving instructions. I'm going to directly address this at my "volunteer training" this year.

    Some parents want to do something like make copies, cut out items, even mark multiple choice papers.

    I could not do as much differentiation without volunteers in the class. That's my :2cents:
     
  4. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    What a silly statement. Doctors only see their patients on an as-needed basis which is not how teachers work with their students.

    Parents assist with taking care of childrens (both theirs and other people's) health in between doctors visits and should also assist in taking care of the education of children.

    As well... When I take my son to the doctor I never have him go in to the office alone. I go in with him and help the doctor with whatever he needs (be it getting my son up on the table, holding him while the doctor does something...etc.).

    If someone doesn't want parent volunteers in the classroom then just say it but to try to make a connection to doctors having volunteers or not is odd.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I use the mystery reader to weed out parents that want to see what is going in the room but don't actually want to do anything. This gives them a chance to get into the class but I don't have to have them on weekly. I usually end up with one parent that comes in once a week.
     
  6. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I don't like parent volunteers in the classroom, and don't use them. I use parents for things like stuffing pockets/folders to go home, bringing in things we need when we need them. I don't like to have them hanging around in the classroom. They're usually more disruptive than anything else.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I don't have parents come in to my classroom during a lesson-- I think it would just give me a headache! I've already met a few parents who love to pick apart a simple science homework assignment that having them pick apart a lesson would just be too much for me. I'm perfectly fine with having parents in for presentations or even to sit with me and their child for after-school study sessions. I think its a great opportunity to show the parent what we're doing in school and how they can help prepare their child for an upcoming assessment.

    But for helping to plan parties and other tasks, that's fine because I'm too busy doing teacher stuff to organize such events.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think, in the history of horrible analogies, that one ranks at least in top 5, if not the absolute worst one I've ever heard.

    There's simply no parallel. Doctors don't work in a vacuum. They have nurses, office staff, and techs. They send their patients tests to a lab to be "graded" and see their patients when needed, not every day.

    When teachers get graders, personal secretaries and a room full of aides, then we can start this comparison, until then, find another analogy.
     
  9. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    mmswm, that is so true.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 5, 2010

    I don't mind having parent volunteers in my classroom, but I choose how often to have them, how long they stay and give them specific tasks while they are in my room. I don't compare it to the doctor analogy- although truthfully parents DO go into doctors offices with their young children and DO help out by answering questions the doctor poses about the child's diet, milestones, health history...Parents are not in my room making sure I know what I'm doing- they are there because my classroom is a dynamic place of learning and collaboration, because their kids are excited to be there, because they want to support and celebrate the good work done in my classroom. :D Love much of what 'the sisters' offer, but I'm not on the same page with this one.
     
  11. teacherheath

    teacherheath Companion

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    I think having parent volunteers can be an AWESOME thing. I usually wait until October-ish before I start having parents come in. Even then, it's usually just the parents who specifically offer or ask--because I know they truly want to and they tend to end up being the most helpful. I know some teachers who don't want parents in their rooms at all. While I can see their perspective, I have also seen what it can do from the parents' perspective--they feel closed off and unwelcome.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I think the doctor's analogy was just saying most professionals don't have their "clients" assisting them with their work-but I could be wrong.

    I don't like parents in the classroom either. Especially with young children, the kids all want attention from any adult that comes in the room and it does make doing my job harder because I have to compete with that. I've also had problems with parents getting "messy"-talking to another child's parent about what their kid did in the classroom. Commenting on how they thought Sally was smart and look at her work.

    I had one ask me repeatedly last year-she had worked all day most days in his Pre-K room and I had to say no. The Pre-K teacher said the mom would make excuses for him all the time-oh, he didn't do the work because he didn't understand, he didn't have enough time.

    Nope, I like to fly solo thank you very much! I do invite all parents in several times a year to watch the kids do a presentation of some sort-but when that's over-we kick them to the curb! ;)
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Just a note: Earlier, I wasn't giving an opinion one way or another about parents in the classroom. I was simply saying that the analogy didn't fly. I can't think of a single valid point of comparison between the two professions in this regard.

    There are pros and cons of having parents in the actual classroom. As a middle school teacher, and as a teacher in an inner city school, it wasn't something that I had to deal with, so I don't have an opinion one way or another. As a parent, I don't like going into my children's classrooms. I feel that I am a distraction to my children. I go when there's an event and I am invited. As far as volunteering is concerned, I'll stick to cutting things out and chaperoning field trips. :)
     
  14. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I loved having the Mystery Readers and enjoyed the parents.
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

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    I always enjoy the parents, so I feel they can be put to the best use possible to lead a hands-on or group game center of sorts while I am working with small groups. They are also exciting to have around for celebrations. Honestly, I do not agree with the analogy. I never feel undermined when they are around.
     
  16. historynut

    historynut Rookie

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    I don't use parent volunteers in the classroom. Our school used to have parent volunteers in the workroom making copies, cutting things out, laminating etc. But that is changing this year since one of the parents was making extra copies of tests for their child to study.
     
  17. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    I'm with you and I think that when teachers try to justify that they are professionals they just come across as less professional. We know we are professionals so why the need to compare ourselves to others? It makes us the same as the people who drive us crazy if we play in to that game.
     
  18. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    I have had parent volunteers in the past who have come in to make copies for me. Usually, though, I would get busy and forget to have things ready. I also invite parents to presentations and classroom parties.

    That being saide, I don't feel comfortable with having them in the classroom during lessons, because I have found that the student whose parent is in the room is very distracted and I have a hard time correcting the student in front of the parent. Personally, it is just too stressful!!
     
  19. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Aug 5, 2010

    I use parents for various tasks. Last year I had a wonderful mom who was a former 1st grade teacher. She came twice a week and worked with groups while I did guided reading and the rest of the class did literacy stations. I wouldn't allow just any parent to do that...
    Mostly I use parents for parties and preparing things - laminating, cutting, etc. (although I don't need as much as I did my first couple of years).
    We have a volunteer meeting the 2nd week of school. Our principal lays down the guidelines and parents are expected to follow them. Expected to.... Expected...
     
  20. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    I feel like parent volunteer opportunities are for the parent's benefit and not the kid's. It's so much extra work preparing something for them to do that it's just not helpful. They're welcome to do nonessential stuff like holiday parties, though.
     
  21. AKitchin

    AKitchin Companion

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    I use parents at home to cut things, bundle box tops... also at school we have ROPers (retired teachers who come in to do work) and we also have parents who work as teacher aids, to copy and do tasks like that.

    I dont have a large room, so its hard to keep other adults.
     
  22. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    I have more than enough adults in my room as I have myself and 9 learning assistants. All the same I do have parent volunteers that help with material preparation, run-around tasks (I need to get and deliver a lot of things for my job), and assistance with community based instruction. I appreciate their support as even with this many learning assistants there are always tasks that need to get done. Parent vollunteers almost never work directly in our classroom as if they are there to truly help out them being in the classroom does not help out as it confuses the students in the room.
     
  23. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I could never not have parent volunteers in my classroom - the parents would never stand for it. However, I find it a lot of work, and a big distraction to the kids (and sometimes to me). I limit when they can come in (just for snack and center time, pretty much)...but I find that if I don't make myself very, very busy while they are there, they treat it like a social time.

    Instead, I try to have parent friendly "everybody helps" days, where all parents can come in to assist with a more complicated project (like tie-dying or paper mache) about once a month. Parents get to come in if they want and see what goes on, the kids get to see that the parents care about their schooling and I don't have the daily prep work of planning for the volunteers' activities.
     

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