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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Volunteers are Wonderful!

In my thirteen years of teaching, I have worked at three different schools.  The first school had moderate amount of parent volunteers.  The second school had a scant amount of parent volunteers and the third school has a copious amount of volunteers.  I am so blessed to have such wonderful families to work with. 

Our PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is very active and it positively affects the school environment.  Our PTA spoils the teachers by providing a scrumptious breakfast once a month to celebrate birthdays.  They also collect and turn in Box Tops, Campbell's soup labels, and a couple of other items.  For our school carnival each teacher provides a booth (often manned by parent volunteers).  The PTA provides all the prizes and sells the food.  They organize the whole event.  They also create and sell our school yearbook.  This is no ordinary yearbook.  It looks like a high school yearbook for an elementary school (great quality).  Once every nine weeks they cover lunch duty.  (The teachers at my school have lunch duty every day). This is just a small sampling of what our wonderful PTA does for our school. 

Today I had a volunteer orientation in my classroom.  I invited volunteers to come to my room while the children were at Art so I could go over important information.  I gave a tour of the room, explained the sign in process, went over various projects, and how to complete various tasks.  We also walked over to the library and I demonstrated how to use the laminating machine and copier.  We went over dye cuts as well. 

On a more serious note I explained about the need for confidentiality.  It is important to be mindful of the student's right to privacy.  If they are working with struggling students, it is not okay to share with other parents or discuss with their children about how these particular students are struggling.  They can discuss their day but leave the children's names out. In addition we discussed appropriate and inappropriate touching (e.g. no sitting in the lap).

The volunteers that came today were so wonderful!!! Two stayed the whole day!  With my new baby at home it is such a blessing to have this kind of support.  My classroom library consists of 23 tubs (the kind you use for dishes) that are labeled with the numbers 1-23. (A parent just provided the numeric labels for the bins.)  Each bin is sorted by genre.  In the past I used a color code system but moved to the numbering system.  One parent today numbered ALL the books.  ALL THE BOOKS!  It was incredible!  The other helped monitor children while I gave a statewide computerized one-on-one test.  They both also helped rip out and sort workbook pages.

If I continue to have this kind of participation, I will train my volunteers in word sorts and let them work with small groups.  They also want to help with our Accelerated Reader Reading Program.  

The number of volunteers varies widely from year to year.  This year I am so blessed!

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