Do you have enough time to get everything accomplished before you leave school each day? Many teachers say it is easier to do something yourself than to ask for help. Giving others direction takes valuable time away from the ever-growing to-do list on a teacher’s desk. So why ask for volunteers?
You need help
You can’t do it all yourself. Attempting to do everything leads to exhausted, uncreative, cranky teachers who wonder why they ever chose this career in the first place. Teaching is a craft. A craft must be used, refined, and adjusted appropriately each year. If you are being stretched to your limits you will not be at the top of your game. This does yourself, your family, and your students a huge disservice.
Is it just another overwhelming task?
Early preparation and organization of a volunteer program is the key to keeping it manageable. Start by creating a parent survey. Who is available to come into your classroom or complete jobs at home? What special skills or professional expertise can your parents share? Are there grandparents who would like to be involved? Feedback you get from parents will help you decide how to organize your program.
What are some components of a volunteer program?
- Volunteer tea party invitation (20 min. intro)
- Parent bulletin board or classroom website page
- Email lists and phone numbers
- Volunteer training guides (job descriptions/steps)
- Newsletter announcing your program
- Volunteer evaluation of program
- Parent volunteer badges
- Volunteer log
- Preparing materials at home log
- Classroom visit schedule
- Parent volunteer project sheet
- Confidentiality agreement
- Thank you cards and other forms of appreciation
*Once your templates are organized and parents have returned surveys, choose a manager (room parent) to be in charge of the parent volunteer team. This person will manage the schedule, make calls, check on deadlines, etc…
Remember that you don’t have to have every component in place the first year! Start with as much as you are comfortable with and expand your program as you see fit.
Volunteer jobs you might overlook
Choose jobs that are tailored to the needs of your current students. Any class can have a copy-person or mailbox-filler. Don’t stop there. Here are some jobs that might not come to mind.
- Book fair runner
- Transition line-leader
- Class party host
- Creator of student work displays in the community
- Bulletin board constructor
- Technology coordinator (research websites, create PowerPoints, manage class web page)
- Last minute savior
- Library book hunter
- Storyteller or story time reader
- Center leader
- Student observer/note-taker
- Single center skill reviewer
- Lunch container opener
- Class photographer
- Classroom donation coordinator
Are you still on the fence?
Start a volunteer program in your classroom now so that you will have the energy and motivation to educate children far into the future. The ability to be a great teacher is a gift. A well-organized, efficient volunteer program can allow you the opportunity to extend actual teaching time in the classroom while getting the rest you need at the end of the day.