Ever been asked to be a class parent at school? It can be a tough decision—you want to help but class parents can have a big responsibility.
When it comes to volunteering at school, work-at-home mothers often end up doing a lot of it. Teachers, other parents and your kids may assume that have time to come to daytime programs at school or run volunteer events. But not every work-at-home mom has a flexible schedule or works part-time. So learning to say “no” is an important part of attaining work/life balance.
However, there are times when we do want to say yes. So if you are mulling becoming a class parent, here are some questions to ask:
1. What does the job of class parent involve?
Ask the teacher (and/or the person recruiting you for the position) what a class parent throughout the course of the school year. Some schools may have a written job description for room parents. Regardless of the job description, some teachers may want a lot of help or very little, so speaking to the teacher is essential.
Ask for the names of other class parents (or call last year’s class parent) in order to get an idea of the amount of time involved in being a class parent. This article What Does a Room Parent Do? can give you an idea of the duties of a class parents, but keep in mind this can vary from school to school.
2. Would I have the help of other parents?If you can enlist the help of other parents, this can make the job of class parent much more manageable. Perhaps you could have a co-room parent who makes phone calls while you plan events or vice versa. Also keep in mind that these days we don’t call it “room mother” anymore. Dad can help too. Make it a family volunteer commitment and divide the duties.
3. Do I have the time to do the job of class parent well?
Before making any volunteer commitment, make honest assessments as to whether you have the time to be a good class parent. Consider not only how much time you have but when you are available. If a room parent at your child’s school is expected to be at school during the day frequently and your job doesn’t allow that kind of flexibility, this may not be the job for you. On the flip side, if the job is essentially making phone calls in the evening and that’s when you work, maybe look for another way to help.
Think about your work schedule. Will it change or become busier during a certain season? Also factor in time commitments for other children’s school activities.