I’ve done it. I’ve gone and volunteered for the PTA (equivalent) at my boys’ school (or, as my sister-in-law would say, my school). Amusingly, I am the Volunteer Coordinator, the second last job to be taken up. Why did I choose it? I didn’t really – I just asked where the help was most needed.
My boys attend a public alternative school, and this school’s mandate states upfront that there is a greater expectation of voluntarism among parents than at regular schools. Still, and maybe inevitably, there are needs that go unmet, and I suppose it would be helpful for someone dedicated to this issue.
I’m more introvert than extrovert, and I don’t relish being the Volunteer Policemom in the soccer field that no one makes eye contact with. But I’m doing it anyway. The truth is I’ve been kind of waiting for the opportunity to be more involved in the workings of my boys’ school. Last year with a newborn and two boys five and three, I couldn’t do it, but now my baby’s sleeping more and so am I. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still not convenient. I’m not exactly lolling about in blankets of extra time with three kids six and under. Volunteering in this way is also kind of expensive: since my husband works nights, I have to book sitters for the frequent council meetings. But even so, I’m looking forward to it.
The bottom line is that I’m really grateful for the holistic education this school offers. I’ve been entirely satisfied with it so far, and since I plan to spend many years here (recall afore-mentioned baby), I’d like to make a more meaningful contribution than the occasional classroom volunteering I’ve done so far.
I’ve heard the stories of never-ending PTA demands and volunteer burnout and maternal guilting. But I remain optimistic. I admire the people who desired an alternative for their children’s education, and then had the wherewithal to make it happen. I want to be part of the body that makes this huge project go, and to be participate in the organization that makes important decisions that directly impact my kids. And I’d like to get to know other people who feel the same way.
Just wait, you may be saying silently to yourself, she doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into. I can hardly argue with that, but I’ll soon find out. My first meeting’s tomorrow, and there is one thing we can probably all agree on: I’m in for an education myself.
I’ve just come home from a parent volunteer meeting myself! (Grade 6 Graduation Planning Committee.) I said to my husband this morning, “How did I get myself roped in to organizing this?” Like you, I’m an introvert, and leading meetings is not my comfort zone, but we got so much done and we’ve got such a fun job ahead of us that it all just felt wonderful as soon as we got started. It’s that inertia thing. FYI, for our parent council meetings, the parent council provides pizza and childcare in the gym while parents meet in the library. Is that an idea that would work at your school so you don’t have to pay for sitters individually?
So good to hear! It is inertia – I think introverts have to work harder to overcome that initial hurdle, and that realize how much energy there is to be gained from others. I think there is babysitting – I’m just not sure how well it would work with a baby and such young kids, as they’d be getting to bed so late. I may have to try though, as it’s hard to get a sitter on the weekdays!