Kids are so proud to have their parents helping out in their classrooms… and they aren’t the only ones who get excited to see parent volunteers walking through the door. Teachers absolutely love when they have a little extra help in their classroom. Some teachers might have parents come into the class help with centers, while others might want volunteers to help with putting up a bulletin board. No matter what the job, there are a few things to keep in mind so we’re here to give you our six tips for being an awesome classroom volunteer.
1. Have your credentials
Sometimes, just getting into schools can feel like going through airport security, but remember it is all for the safety of our kids. Your school might buzz you in when they see you or others might require ID to be admitted to the school. No matter what system your school has in place, just be sure you know what is needed ahead of time so you don’t show up unprepared. Oh, and be sure to keep on that visitor sticker so everyone knows you are supposed to be there!
2. Be on time, but be flexible
The school day can move pretty quickly, so be sure to be on time (or a little early) so that you are ready to jump in and help when the teacher is expecting you. With that said, lesson plans are made with the best intentions, but when you are working with kids you have to learn to be flexible. Sometimes those plans don’t always work out so there is a chance that things might start early or end a bit later than you had expected. Be sure to plan for a little extra time built into your volunteer day, just in case.
3. Dress appropriately for the job
If you are just helping in the teacher workroom, it probably doesn’t matter what you wear, but if you will be working with the kids there is a chance you might end up on the floor. Especially in the younger grades, if you are assisting with a literacy center, playing math games or even just reading with the kids, the floor becomes your friend, so wearing a dress or skirt might not be the best option.
4. Leave little ones at home
While you think your toddler is well behaved and can hang while you are volunteering, chances are having them with you will become a distraction to the class. Some teachers are more lenient with this and others have strict guidelines on siblings in the classroom. Check with your teacher before bringing other kids in the class, but when in doubt, arrange for a babysitter so you can really focus on the kids in the class and the task at hand.
5. Go the extra mile
Maybe you were just signed up to be a center parent, but if you have time before leaving it doesn’t hurt to ask the teacher if there is anything else you can help with. A lot of teachers don’t like to ask for help, but if you offer they will gladly take you up on it. It might just be that they need a few extra copies made or something laminated quickly. Whatever it might be, they will be grateful for your help because it means on less thing they have to do after school.
6. Soak it up
Ever want to know what it feels like to be a rock star? Just show up to volunteer in your kid’s classroom. They are so proud to show you off and announce to their friends, “That’s my mom!” We all know it won’t be like this forever and soon they will be teenagers who would rather not be seen in public with their parents. We are all busy and the never ending to-do list can feel overwhelming, but don’t let it keep you from becoming a classroom volunteer every chance you get. Make it a priority while your kids are young and you have the chance. The days are long, but the years are short so soak it up while you can.
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