Room parents?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yearroundteach, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Dec 20, 2008

    I was just reading the few threads about gifts and holiday parties. There was alot of mention of room parents and those parents running the parties, organizing teacher gifts, posting lists of ideas for teacher gifts, etc. I always remember having room parents (moms) when I was in elementary school but don't really know how to make it happen.

    My question about this is pretty vague I suppose. I have found since my first year teaching (this is my 4th) that my greatest weakness is involving parents in a way that doesn't feel awkward. I've had parents come into my room on a weekly basis to do a specific "job" (run a group, supervise a center, do fluency tests, etc) and it has worked out ok. Though I do always feel awkward when they're done with the "job" and I don't know what to do with them. I really struggle with parents who just want to come in "when they can". Like one parent who works retail and wants to come in on whatever his day off is each week. I couldn't really have a specific thing for him to do considering it would be a different time and day each week. I just know I'm going to feel awkward with him just standing around.

    So anyway...back to my vague question(s). Exactly how do you work having room parents? I guess I mean, do you ask for them at the beginning of the year or do they volunteer? If you ask, what does the letter look like? Or is it just a conversation with a specific parent that you'd like to have do it? And as far as the duties mentioned above (organizing/running parties, being in charge of class gifts, etc) do you give them these duties or do they just kind of do it? I just hate feeling so at a loss when it comes to room parents and any parent volunteers in general. I would love advice from those who have room parents or who have the parent volunteer thing down to a science.
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2008

    It sounds to me like you are doing a lot to get parents into your rooms. I typically don't have parents come in during the regular school day unless we have a writer's celebration or presentation of some sort. I am planning to have Dad's in before fathers day for a Donuts with Dad morning and Muffins with Mom for Mother's day but other than that, I have parents come on field trips etc.
    To me having the parents in there makes me way to nervous during the day. I also have parents come in for the kid's birthdays to read a story to the class though.
    A teacher I work with has a mystery reader each week which is a really nice way to incorporate parents. I am planning to try that next year.
     
  4. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Dec 20, 2008

    In the elementary buildings in my school, the PTO organizes the room parents, story readers, art adventure volunteers, jr. great book leaders, etc.
    We don't have room parents at the jr. high.
     
  5. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    You are very kind to find a way to arrange for parents to come in "when they can". Your best bet is to make a set time for parents to come in (i.e. guest reader, help w project) if they can't make it...then they need to change their schedule. I can't imagine finding special times for every parent!
    Also, make sure your events have a start-stop..so you avoid the parents that don't know what to do if they finish an activity!
     
  6. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2008

    I do have a room parent sign-up sheet at the beginning of the year. It lists the responsibilities they would have. If I have several, then they get together and choose assignments. They involve class parties and school-wide celebrations.

    I really don't like having parents underfoot during the day, so they don't really get invited. If they show up, there's a lot of standing around. Mean of me, but I don't want to plan for someone else. I have had a parent come in to make copies on Monday morning, but that's it.
     
  7. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2008

    Our official room parents are set up by the PTA and the Principal before the start of the school year.
     
  8. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Dec 21, 2008

    Thanks for everyone's replies. It sounds like many of you are lucky enough that your school does the setting up of room parents for you. That would be so nice. I think our PTA tried this year but I don't really think it worked. They asked us for a name of a parent that would be willing to be a room parent. We all gave them one and then never heard another word since. We certainly didn't hear from them in December about planning any parties or anything like that.

    I agree that I can't try to fit my schedule around this parent. I think I'll give him a specific day of the week to come in. When he's off, great and when he isn't then he'll just miss that week.

    Thanks again for all your help and if anyone else has any parent involvement suggestions, keep 'em coming!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 21, 2008

    I helped out in first grade for my daughter (although it was many years ago.) I was given specific duties to do during reading time. Mostly, it was just to listen to kids read oraly. I printed all the penmanship worksheets for them. (I think they gave me this job because I told them they were using the wrong style.) I think the teacher had the extra activities ready each day if a volunteer came in, but if no one came, they just skipped the extra stuff.
     

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