9 Reasons Why Your Should Join the Parent Teacher Association

When parents and teachers work together, everyone’s children benefit.

If you are like lots of new parents, you probably have an image in your head of the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) mom in your mind: a modern June Cleaver who bakes dozens of cupcakes and also coaches soccer while she’s not being a lawyer or doctor.

Part of the reason that we drag our feet at the prospect of joining the PTA is that our kids are old enough to be in school, and it’s the school’s job to educate them, right?

Sure, in the conventional sense, and according to Federal Law, it is. However, what happens on the ground in each school is highly contingent on so many factors: the principal, the district, and of course, the teachers themselves. There are reasons aplenty to seek out this group, but here are some of the primary ones:

  1. Firsthand understanding of the curriculum. Your child will start to bring home class work: completed assignments, homework, and eventually long-term projects that you may not understand at all. The PTA will provide context for the requirements at every grade level so that parents see rationale behind the lessons.
  1. Teachers need help. Let’s be frank, if your child is in public school, that school is jockeying for budget and likely not paying teachers nearly what they deserve (the average teacher salary in the U.S. is around $56,000)1. This is questionable recompense for one of the most important jobs there is. Therefore, we should do everything we can to make their job easier, and any seasoned teacher will tell you, their classroom needs vary widely from year to year.
  1. It’s a great way to network. We are all parents: working, raising kids, managing a household, and maintaining a partnership. The more we can help each other, the better off all our children will be. Meeting other parents at the beginning of your child’s education builds stronger relationships that will support you throughout their time at the school.
  1. It’s not as much time as you think. Usually, PTA or PTO meet once a month and provide volunteer opportunities for parents. Again, everyone knows that everyone is busy so commitment to tasks and participation is voluntary. Google Groups or Shutterfly are great ways to stay in contact and apportion tasks.
  1. PTA is a national network. Joining not only lets you engage with your immediate community, it creates access to a broader national resource, which covers not only the nuts and bolts of education, but also the changing culture and technology that impact teaching.
  1. The school earns money. For teachers to really excel at their jobs, they need materials, books, field trips, guest teachers, readers, and assistants. PTA and PTO drive funds into the classroom by way of fundraisers, sales, and other community-oriented events, so could be the difference between your kid being able to talk to a wildlife expert and pet an eagle or not.
  1. Active PTA stems problems before they arise. If that energy and financial buffer are in place, then when a school-wide problem arises, a team of up-and-running responders can assist in addressing it. For example, say that there is a sudden death in the school community and it really rocks the student body. A district might send one counselor or psychologist to the school, but PTA members can act as interim support, checking in with individual kids, talking to parents, and offering help to the affected family. PTA can be a very effective safety net.
  1. Being active is another way to support your own child. It’s good modeling for our kids to see us being involved, and while we shouldn’t overextend, we should show our own kids that we want to be there and help to make the whole school better.
  1. It’s fun! This is a place where our efforts are obvious; it makes us feel helpful and effective. Planning can be incredibly fun as you bounce ideas around and get creative with projects. Bear in mind that there are sometimes strong personalities and conflicts too, but when people work together on a worthy cause like their children’s school, they also appreciate each other more.

Gathering teachers and parents together to discuss the big picture has a net effect: it’s a direct investment in our children and future students. Be reasonable about what you can take on, listen actively, communicate directly, and trade information with fellow members. You can make a tremendous impact and on your community and your child’s school experience.

 

 

 

References:

  1. http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/high-school-teacher/salary

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

Leave a Reply