Not like parent volunteers?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by amedinaoh, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. amedinaoh

    amedinaoh Companion

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    Oct 7, 2009

    Anyone not like to use parent volunteers? I have a full time assistant in the room and we do well during the day. I like that my first graders are independent and don't need adults doing things for them...I know they can pick up learned helplessness. I feel guilty for feeling this way as most teachers would beg for parents volunteers and I have them beating down my door. I do use parents for field trips, parties, and occasionally pulling sheets out of math workbooks. I use the Daily 5 system so my students do not use traditional centers but are working on writing, reading, guided reading, etc.
     
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  3. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Oct 7, 2009

    What about pull-out for low students? You could have them read with some of your lower kiddos for extra practice. A lot of my schools volunteers do that. :)

    I only have a few students, and none of their parents are volunteers so it isn't an issue in my room.....
     
  4. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I also don't get requests to volunteer in my class but I had one parent want to come in and observe every Monday. I told her "no". Monday's are usually the worst day in the week for my students and the last thing I want is a parent with a 2 year old in my class every week...

    I like the suggestion of getting them to come in to read with your low readers. You may also have them come in to be a guest reader.
     
  5. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    I don't use parent volunteers. Coming up with something for them to do = more work for me, which ultimately defeats the purpose of volunteering. And not to sound like a total beeotch, but it's not my job to keep a stay-at-home mom from getting bored.

    The two classes before me had tons of parent volunteer opportunities, so coming to me is an adjustment for the parents (and not surprisingly, the kids handle it way better than their parents do!) From what I've seen, the parent led workshops seem really chaotic and the kids don't seem to be getting much meaning from them. I'm a daily 5 convert and I'm never going back to parent stuff.

    Don't get me wrong, they're well intentioned and I appreciate their offer, but not gonna happen. I sometimes think that classroom volunteering pushes the mindset that teaching is "just for fun" and that watching five kids work on a math game for twenty minutes is the exact same thing as being a classroom teacher.
     
  6. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    :hijack: I have students that read at the 3rd grade level and some just learning to recognize letters of the alphabet. Do you think that the Daily 5 work would work in my classroom?
     
  7. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    The book said it would work with kids as young as K. I've only tried it with 2nd graders, but if I could go back and do it with my first graders from a few years back I totally would. The nice thing about the Daily 5 book is that it gives you really clear instructions how to introduce each option, and how to help your students select appropriate reading for themselves. The best part is that you're free to work with small groups or one on one.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Thanks lou reed. I think I'll look into buying the book if my school doesn't own a copy.
     
  9. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    LOL, parent volunteers??? What are those??? I have never had a parent offer. I think that fizzles out as the kids get older. I don't think I would have any need for them. We have a reading and a writing intervention class for our low students and the rest of the day they are working on other necessary assignments.
     
  10. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I don't enjoy them. Most want to talk to me not work with the children.
     
  11. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Oct 8, 2009

    Very odd to read complaints about volunteers in the classroom…I can promise you that most schools (that I know of) would be jumping for joy to have volunteers handy.

    Please use your parent volunteers in constructive ways. Think outside the box on things that they can do to help i.e. change out a bulletin board, read, cut things out, field trips, holiday or seasonal party prep., staple workbooks, help with art, reorganize play things, organize work in folders, inventory supplies, etc…If all else fails, have them pick things up that can be done from home and returned.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I'm in the same boat! I'm trying to teach my students to be independent, and we do the Daily 5 as well. I have so many parents that want to help, but I have nothing for them to do.

    We have a publishing center at my school, where parent volunteers come in every day and do any laminating, cutting, prepping, etc. Parent volunteers from my classroom don't always know how to laminate or where all of the resources are, so I like just taking things to the publishing center. It's way easier and less work for me.

    As for pulling students out, we aren't allowed to do that for privacy issues. If parents would like, they can be trained by the district to be a literacy coach. We use the coaches to work will low children.

    Kindergarten parents seem to think that there is just so much for them to do in a kindergarten classroom. They don't realize that kindergarten is a whole different ball game now.

    Creating things for volunteers to do would completely defeat the purpose. I feel like my school offers enough opportunities for parents to be involved. The parents run all classroom parties, and they also help out with things like picture day, holiday concerts, field trips, yearbook, etc. Almost every extra-curricular activity at our school is run by parents. (I should also mention that I live in a high SES area where many mother work part-time or not at all.) Despite all of this, I still feel like I have unhappy parents because I'm not responding to their volunteer offers. :dizzy:
     
  13. amedinaoh

    amedinaoh Companion

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    drivingpigeon: sounds like we are on the EXACT same wave length. I feel less guilty now. It is MORE work to have volunteers, though most have good intentions.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    All our parent volunteers need to have done a criminal record check and a quiz online regarding Policy 701... I forget what the name of the policy is, but it involves the protection of students.

    I have one parent that is working her way through the process, but I have no idea what I would do with her as a parent volunteer... I'm uncomfortable having a a parent working on anything academic... I don't really have a bulletin board... I have no clue what I would get her to do. (Unless she wanted to come in and count money for our freaking fundraiser in the morning!)
     
  15. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Oct 9, 2009

    It all depends on the volunteer. I have had a few great ones, but mostly not. It does take alot of planning and instruction. My problem is, that I want things done a certain way, and even after I explain it or model for the volunteer, it is done completely differently or the volunteer finds it easier to do it herself instead of letting the child do it. Or I plan a great activity and the volunteer doesn't show up that day. And it was something I was counting on. Often it is just easier, faster and less stressful to do it yourself. But I never turn anyone down!:)
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Exactly...I feel badly because they do have good intentions, but I don't have anything for them to do.

    I might start having some parents come in for journal time. My students are attempting to write words, but they are frustrated, so it would be nice to have a few more people in the room to help out. However, I don't have a set schedule for journal time, and I tend to switch things around at the last minute. I can't do that if I have a parent volunteer coming in at 11:15 every day. Also, I didn't need volunteers at the end of the year for journal time because I wanted the kids to be more independent (and they were).

    *sigh* I don't know...
     
  17. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I taught 2nd grade for the last two years and didn't use parent volunteers. It would have been wonderful to have an extra set of hands, but when I tried it a couple of times, the moms were much more interested in sitting around and trying to chit-chat with me the entire time. Helllloooo... I'm trying to actually teach! :(
     
  18. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I have one that is amazing. She comes in a few times a week and really, I mean REALLY helps me with my class. For the others, I try to do project based volunteers. They come in a week here or there to work on a specific project with kids (like sewing, which I can't and don't like to do). This seems to work. They only come in a few times a year, when they come in they have a focused project with specific directions to work on, and they are working with kids (which they all want to do).
     
  19. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Parent volunteers can be wonderful, helping our school with many activities, but I don't like them in my classroom.
     
  20. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Many parents don't know what to do when they volunteer. You need to teach them your expectations! Just because you are comfortable and confident in your room, doesn't mean that all parents feel that way. Explicitly state what you want from the. Over the years, I've had parents do SOOO many things. Teach small groups, help with big art projects, read to kiddos (low, high and in the middle), cut out laminating, make journals/books, label and organize thousands of books in my classroom library, photocopy, take pictures of students working and then make a slideshow, help with parties/fieldtrips, place my scholastic order, help students working at their desks, clean/dust, make playdough, help students on the computer, help with enrichment projects/experiement for kids, etc. etc. etc.

    However, I suppose if you really don't like or feel the need to have volunteers, that's your choice. . .
     
  21. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    You do make great use of your parents, Gootagoodgig :)

    For teachers who would like to have parental help...have a checklist of "to do" items with instructions, that would help out parents who are unsure of what and how to do things. And it will keep you from being interrupted during classtime.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I use volunteers to help me DIFFERENTIATE my instruction and build students' feelings of 'capability'.

    Once a week, I have parents come in to help with Words Their Way spelling. This allows all students to be working at their own developmental levels. I have 4 groups for spelling. Each group shares some common words and then each student has some 'personal words' so I have essentiallly 20 different lists in my room. With parent volunteers, I can get through spellling workshop in 30-40 minutes in an effective and efficient manner.

    Also once a month, parents come in as reading partners. Each parent volunteer brings picture books and reads with a group of students-this is just about the joy of read aloud!

    At the holidays, parent volunteers come in to share holiday traditions- what a lovely experience and we learn a lot about how alike we all are despite our differences, as well as insight into other cultures and traditions.

    All of this helps foster a strong school to home connection.
     
  23. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

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    This is the first year I've felt comfortable with having parent volunteers. Part of it is I'm confidant enough in my teaching (finally!) to have observers in the room, the other part is I know how to make use of them.

    I agree with making expectations clear. It doesn't have to be lengthy, it could be as simple as, "We're working on writing. They should be looking up words for themselves and not asking us to spell for them."

    I will admit I prefer to have parents out of the room. This year I started a hanging file box with sections labeled "TODAY!, Wednesday, Friday, Next Friday, Whenever". Anything that needs to get done like copying, laminating, etc. goes into one of the sections. I might also put a note like "Please remove the posters from the hallway." I have a parent who just pops her head in each morning and takes what needs to be done. It's wonderful! And I don't have to take any time to produce work for her!
     
  24. ilovetoread

    ilovetoread Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2009

    I moved schools this year and went from having no parent volunteers to having parents wanting to volunteer every single day. At first I struggled and felt like it was more work for me, but I created a volunteer box (similiar to the box mentioned above by nattles19, where if I have ANYTHING I need done I just put a little post-it on it and toss it in the box. I also often put just a post-it in there that says "Take stuff in hallway down" "review sight words with _____" "Read ____ book with ______" or something like that. I give my parents the choice to work in the back of the work or in the hallway, my parents normally work out in the hallway--many actually prefer to be in the hallway so they aren't distracting their kid.
     

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