Every year the call goes out to parents to volunteer in their child’s classroom. Some parents hesitate to sign up because they are not sure what the teacher is looking for, or how they can really help. In fact, parent volunteers are one of a teacher’s greatest assets, and it’s not just the parents that have hours to spend and unlimited resources to donate. Here are some key ways to be a great classroom volunteer:
Be On Time
Even in a Montessori classroom some transitions must be made—like recess, lunch, and dismissal. If a volunteer is running late and an activity that was planned around the volunteer can’t start, it can disrupt the day. If you are running late be sure to get the message to the teacher so he or she can plan accordingly.
Keep Your Focus
If you are volunteering in your own child’s classroom it can be challenging not to direct your attention to your child. Make sure that when you are in the classroom you are staying with the work or activity the teacher has asked you to participate in, and not re-tying your child’s shoes, insisting he move to a different work, or asking why he didn’t finish his lunch. If your child has a tendency to cling to you while you are in the room be sure to ask his teacher if there are ways to volunteer outside of the classroom.
Toot Your Own Horn
Just because your child’s teacher spends most of the day with him doesn’t mean she knows everything about you. If you play a musical instrument, love cooking ethnic food, speak a foreign language, create origami, knit, sew, dance–anything!–tell your child’s teacher! Any talent or interest you are passionate about could really benefit your child’s classroom.
Remember There Are No Small Jobs
Your child’s teacher spends all day in the classroom so hours are spent at home creating lessons, putting together materials, cutting, and laminating. If a teacher asks you to cut out what seems like 2,000 volcano booklets please realize that you are not just being given busywork. Helping a teacher create the materials your child will use is a great way to help out and get insight into the classroom.